Archive for kooks

Kook of the week.

As we know, I am fascinated by kooks. Kooks of all kinds, but especially public kooks. Kooks who blog. Kooks who stand on street corners. Even kooks who cook.

So imagine my delight the other day when I was accosted while strolling down the street by a young, earnest woman in a grey hoodie, standing next to a card table from which dangled two signs: “Impeach Cheney First!” and “Al Gore is Lying About Global Warming.” “Don’t believe everything you read!” she yelled, pointing at the newspaper tucked under my arm. Then she thrust a pamphlet at me cheerfully. “Here, read this!”

An elderly, balding white man looked earnestly up at me from the shiny cover of the pamphlet. “Ah, Monsieur LaRouche,” I smiled. “We meet again.”

Lyndon LaRouche has had a long and surprisingly successful career in kookdom. In the 1960s, he was associated with socialist and radical leftist groups, despite his distaste for the influence of the counterculture of that time. He shifted in the next decade to become a rabid right-winger and anti-communist, encouraging his followers to physically attack members of Communist and Socialist groups, including one with which he had previously been affiliated, in his “Operation Mop-Up.” Since then he has run for U.S. President no fewer than eight times, usually trying for the Democratic Party ticket.

Throughout LaRouche’s various political permutations, one theme has remained constant: conspiracy. (Let me try that again. Conspiracy!) Lately, he has turned his attention to Al Gore and Global Warming, which, he says, is a Conspiracy!

Were Gore’s swindle to become established international law, the result would be that the entire planet would now plunge quickly into a prolonged dark age, one deeper, and worse than any other known to us from historical records of the past, a dark age from which only distant future generations would probably recover, but, that only after a probably long, and deep descent of depopulation, into rivalry with whatever species of baboons, or the like, might be available for making such comparisons.

Gore’s motivation for bringing about said Dark Age Of Chaos And Doom:

[T]here are almost species-like, culturally induced differences among human types, axiomatic-like differences in types of cultural breeding which are sometimes comparable in form of expression to differences in biological varieties among lower forms of animal life. In that sense of the matter, in the strictest sense of the term, Al, at bottom, underneath the affected “company manners” exterior, Gore as a specimen, is simply not a desirable sociological type, nor, at this stage in his life, probably civilizable, either.

He goes on to compare Gore to syphillis. No, really.

Of course, what kook would be complete without a Jewish Conspiracy! theory?

“being Jewish, they couldn’t qualify for Nazi Party leadership, even though their fascism was absolutely pure! As extreme as Hitler! They sent them to the United States . . .The independent central-banking-system crowd, the slime-mold. The financier interests.”

(My perennial question: if Jews control the world’s money, why haven’t I gotten any of it?)

Kooks fascinate me, therefore I share them with you. Enjoy.

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In which I contribute to Scholarship. Sorta.

Four years ago, I was flown down to Clearwater, Florida for a modeling shoot. The photographer picked me up from the airport. As we drove into town, we passed several small groups of pedestrians, all wearing identical blue shirts and khaki pants, and identical vague smiles.

“Who are they?” I asked.

“Scientologists.” He shook his head. “They own this town.”

At the time, I didn’t know anything about Scientology, but the photographer was clearly unhappy with their overwhelming presence. In his former career as a traffic-light repair person, he told me, he was often called to the scenes of car accidents. “Before I could even get there, they would be there with cameras, snapping pictures.” But the Scientologists’ strange fascination with wrecks was by no means the most unnerving thing about them. Some years earlier, he said, a young woman had been in a minor car accident. She wasn’t hurt, but she took off all of her clothes in the street, and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. The Scientologists came and got her, took her to a hotel, tied her to a bed, and starved her in the course of their “introspection rundown” – Scientology’s alternative to the Great Evil of Psychiatry. By the time she was finally brought back to a hospital, she was dead.

Suddenly, the vague smiles on the uniformed packs looked a little sinister.

I didn’t think much about Scientology after that – didn’t have any reason to – until I moved to Los Angeles. I discovered soon after moving here that Hollywood is, in a sense, Clearwater writ large. To my knowledge, in the City of Los Angeles alone (not including the Valley, Pasadena, Orange County, etc), we are blessed with: The Church of Scientology on L. Ron Hubbard Way, The Celebrity Centre, The Mission on Melrose; The Mission of Los Feliz, and at least three buildings dedicated to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The last time my parents visited, we took them on a little tour of all the Scientology landmarks in town.

I’ll admit it right now: I’m a little obsessed. We’re talking about a church founded by a science fiction author, possibly started as a bet, which maintains a private naval fleet, teaches that everybody on earth is infested with aliens, engages in celebrity mind-control and infiltrates public schools in the guise of an anti-drug program. And here I am, right in the thick of it!

So you can imagine my excitement the other day when I was contacted about a photograph I took at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which I had subsequently uploaded to Flickr. The person writing the Wikipedia article on Dianetics wanted to use my photo! to illustrate! the article!

Small pleasures truly make life worthwhile.

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