Scientology has hit the public consciousness big time in 2012 and not in a good way. Since the controversial religion-slash-cult-slash-big business entity has historically enjoyed popularity ratings that even Mitt Romney might envy, the Year of Our Mayan Destiny might well be viewed as the Annus horribilis of Scientology . The sudden, shocking and incendiary divorce between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise almost immediately centered, in the realm of the 24 hour infotainment culture, on the influence of Scientology in the marriage.
Reel life has followed suit with the Oscar buzz surrounding a movie nobody outside the industry has even seen yet that mythologizes and fictionalizes the rise of Scientology or, at least, a Scientology-like cult. "The Master" has already positioned itself as one of the films that any other movie released in 2012 has to beat for Best Picture and Best Actor. What you might not know is that Scientology also made an officially sanctioned appearance at DragonCon 2012 in Atlanta and, I can only imagine, other similar pop culture conventions.
Scientologists were apparently trying to have it both ways at DragonCon. I don't remember seeing any "event" related to the religious aspect of the alleged celebrity cult, but I did pass by their prominently placed end table on one of the rows in the exhibitors' room. Attractive young women dressed far more were hawking copies of L. Ron Hubbard's extensive library of science fiction novels upon a few copies of "Dianetics" were unobtrusively placed in a deceptively haphazard manner.
After passing by the L. Ron Hubbard table that was curiously free from any mention of Scientology whatever, I casually pointed out to my family that we had just passed the Scientology table at which point a woman I did not know volunteered some interesting information along the lines of 2012 being the first time that she could remember seeing the Scientologists at the convention. And, apparently, she has been a regular attendee at DragonCon for a good chunk of its 26 years of existence.
The tie between Scientology and the movies is well-established. But the religion, or cult if you will, has taken quite a hit in 2012. In addition to the questions being raised behind closed doors in divorce court about Scientology, let's not forget that the other leading Hollywood face of L. Ron Hubbard's spiritual creation-the disturbing and ever-widening face of Scientologist-known as John Travolta did no favors by taking the occasional massage with a masseur rather than a masseuse.
Perhaps the surprising appearance of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction pulp paperbacks for sale at DragonCon next to "Firefly" T-shirts and steampunk computer keyboards (a typewriter) is just an indication that the controversial religion or cult or whatever you want to call it is ready to move away from movie stars and reach out to movie fans.
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