So it's after a gig*, and I'm sitting at the bar with another comic, and a couple of girls who thought we were the funniest guys they had ever met. Things are heating up, but I'm starting to feel a little apprehensive because it's just too easy. When I don't have to work at something, I always start to wonder if there's something wrong. Either I'm about to be robbed, or there's a flaw I haven't noticed.
The conversation turns to Scientology. There had recently been a expose in Time magazine (and astute readers can now speculate on how long ago this was). "It's a really evil institution," I start, "Kind of a cross between the Mafia and Oral Roberts with just a dash of the Manson Family."
The girl who had been getting all my attention chuckled condescendingly, "Well, I read that Kirstie Alley is a Scientologist, and I don't think Kirstie Alley would belong to anything like that!"
Oh. There's the flaw. She is stupid. (And probably a pre-clear TR-4).
Scientology has been dismissed and despised by most thinking individuals, but before we throw out the Thetan with the bath water, maybe we should look a little closer at Scientology Inc. Because this kind of marketing has been quite effective. By winning over celebrities, Scientology has been able to gain a sizable following of Americans who look to the stars for guidance.
Scientology has a Celebrity Centre
inside of Hollywood set up to pamper those stars. They have a staff of masseuses to rub the backs of actors while they're waiting off-set for the next scene. In return, Scientology has many famous followers.
This kind of marketing has come of age in the new century. Advertising people now go into high schools and encourage popular girls to use their lip gloss. They know the less popular girls will imitate them, hoping that the new lip gloss holds the secret to popularity. We will never know how many short men and chubby women became Scientologists just because they wanted to be the next Tom Cruise or Kirstie Alley.
The Democrats have done the same thing. Most actors have a desire to be taken seriously (beautiful people never want to be known just for their pretty faces even though we aesthetically less gifted wouldn't mind such notoriety). Democrats have convinced celebrities they can gain intelligence by osmosis. Just by appearing onstage with Obama, or Al Gore, they too have advanced Ivy League degrees (even high school dropouts like Sean Penn or Martin Sheen). Democrats have given actors credibility. In return, the actors sell Democrat politics to the nation.
Oprah's endorsement of Obama cannot be understated. If Oprah finds something she likes, millions of women will try it. The difference between a starving author, and a NY Times best seller is having Oprah read your book. It doesn't even need to be the truth, it just has to appear that way. Both James Frey and Herman Rosenblat passed off works of fiction to Oprah as memoirs. There is speculation that Obama's books were also fabricated by a third party. (Apparently Oprah likes to be lied to, which is probably why she is still engaged to straight man Steadman.)
There is no reason why our side's politics shouldn't appeal to Hollywood. We have something much more valuable to offer: genuine intellectualism. Our message of lower taxes and respect for the First Amendment hits Hollywood celebrities right square in the man-purse. And (if perhaps) some of the more conservative elements of our party listened to the supply-side arguments for drug legalization, we could win on that one, as well. Because despite the appearance of "tolerance," Democrats do not want to legalize marijuana as much as they want to outlaw tobacco.
The difference between the parties is as vast as the difference between Scientology and traditional religions. While one religion massages celebrities and tells them they are heirs to a great galactic empire, the others tell them they are born of sin and must subjugate themselves under the glory of God. The Democrats tell celebrities they are the agents of change, while Bill O'Reilly screams at them for destroying American Culture. That has to stop.
It's hard. I know it's hard. Part of the secret of being able to survive in Hollywood is the ability to say with a straight face something completely inhuman, like: "I've always admired Morgan Fairchild's work." Or: "The second season of 'Family Matters' was clearly the best." It's not unlike being a good parent: you have to put all the art up on the refrigerator.
It's how Al Gore does it. When Sheryl Crow says we need to limit ourselves to one square of toilet paper, or Leonardo DiCaprio tells us that Global Warming will cause human extinction, Al Gore admires their commitment and pats them on their tiny heads. Meanwhile, the girl I left standing at the bar so many years ago is probably an OT 5 today and driving a Prius with an Obama sticker.
*For information on some of my upcoming gigs check out: TimSlagle.com