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My Favourite Religion … inb4 Islam

My Friends,
   Inspired by my sister’s boyfriend Brian and his documentary club, I devoted Sunday afternoon to watching whatever documentaries I could watch for free on youtube.  First I watched a doc about “The Amen Break”.

Watch and you’ll understand

Then I watched part of a documentary of the tinfoil hat variety regarding the illuminati.

More than just a clever album title…

From there I watched “Sean”,

“Fuck the Police!” (Paraphrase)

which is essentially a 15 minute interview with a 4 and half year old San Francisco boy from 1970.  Finally, as I now write this I have a documentary about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology playing in a separate window.

Nothing to do with Scientology, I just like me some volleyball ass

   This reminded me of something I have had on my mind for a while which I will now share:  Back in 1994, before I had ever heard of Scientology or Dianetics, I used to frequent the Orangeville public library.

Coming here after-school kept me off the drugs
…and a virgin ’til I was 18

I was attracted to the adult fiction section, and even though I didn’t feel ambitious enough to tackle some of the larger volumes I enjoyed looking at the covers.  Some of the most memorable covers were from L. Ron Hubbard’s “Mission Earth” series, A ten volume series, or dekalogy as he called it.  I was most intimidated by the first volume, The Invader’s Plan.

It was 600 pages and I was only in grade 5, but at length I withdrew it and finished it in a month.  I enjoyed it well enough I suppose but was more stoked to crush, what was at the time, the longest book I had ever read.  Never got through the rest of the series though.
   Fast forward to autumn 2008.  While serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan I happened to find the same volume in the Camp Nathan Smith library.  I set about reading it a second time and enjoyed it more this time due to the fact that I understood more of what was going on.
   What I found most interesting this second time around however was the introduction written by the author sometime in the 1980s.  As he explained it, the series marked his return to writing fiction after a prolonged hiatus (presumably administering his new-found religion).  He thanked his loyal readership and proceeded to explain his thoughts about satire and why it was an important genre to him.
   Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, these words came back to me sometime after during a conversation about religion.  It became clear to me what L. Ron Hubbard had been up to the whole time.

U mad, bro?

Scientology is a satire of religion in the grand tradition of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Too harsh of a criticism to levy at the great and true religion of Xenu you say?  I disagree.  Any theist who would dare poke fun at scientology or doubt its sacred origins would have to take a serious look at their own faith and the “facts” it was rooted in.  And what is satire if not something to make you re-evaluate your own position?  Also, as well as professing a love for satire in his other works, he foreshadowed the genesis of scientology years earlier:
“You don’t get rich writing science fiction.  If you want to get rich you start a religion.”
-L. Ron, trolling hard circa. 1948

   Don’t take this the wrong way; this is not intended as a negative allegation.  Instead I laud L. Ron for not only creating a masterful piece of satire, but for getting dollardollarbillsy’all.  That said, I don’t wish for scientology to be propagated beyond a certain point.  Satire or not, it is still a religion and has loyal adherents who, by virtue of believing in something are inclined to think less of and marginalize non-believers.  And when one group of believers gains enough clout, suddenly that “strictly metaphorical” commandment within their holy book, you know the one that says to smite non-believers, becomes a very literal instruction.  This is how atrocities happen.  
Not with a bang, but with litigation and star power

   So I think it is high time that we stop the disproportionate vilification of Scientology.  The notion that some religions are worse than others is erroneous; some are simply newer and therefore more radical, or older and more institutionalized.  Yes, there are well-documented cases of brain-washing, violence and criminal neglect associated with Scientology, but no more than any other religion throughout history.  For the time being I say we keep a watchful eye on it like we would any other religion.
And if it gets out of hand there’s always this guy

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Strong Starts (The links don’t show up well on the background)

My Friends,
   A good song is like a good bout of love-making (true or not, its an expedient segue into the topic at hand): foreplay is used to good effect.  Be it a 5 minute instrumental, a threat to the listener, or a soundclip from a film, a good lead-in to a song can set the mood or add some new perspective that the listener might otherwise not glean.  In the following list I make not pretensions about saying what the best lead-ins to songs are, simply some of my favourites:

Song: “Straight Outta Compton”
Artist: N.W.A.
Lead-in: (Dr. Dre) “You are now about to winess the strength of street-knowledge…”
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMZi25Pq3T8&ob=av3e

Song: “Starseed” (Live in Montreal)
Artist: Our Lady Peace
Lead-in: Five minutes or so of Raine Maida testing his vocal range
Link: No Link Available
Song:”M-E-T-H-O-D Man”
Artist: The Wu-Tang Clan
Lead-in: Torture skit
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWXpG266ybM
Song: “What More Can I Say?”
Artist: Jay-Z
Lead-in: Soundbite from the film Gladiator
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIJjK3IV3E0

Song: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”
Artist: The Temptations
Lead-in: Instrumental
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A2QkgMvTtM

Song: “Theme from Shaft” (A no-brainer although this lead-in is more than
half of the length of the song which mebbe disqualifies it)
Artist: Isaac Hayes

Song: “It Doesn’t Matter”
Artist: Wyclef Jean
Lead-in: “Yo, this is the Rock, kickin’ it with the Refugee Camp
 and you’re bout to smell what the Rock is cookin’!”
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAag-nlCJQ0

Song: “American Woman”
Artist: The Guess Who
Lead-in: Spelling “American” in a singsongy manner

Song: “Woke Up This Morning” (Exile on Coldharbor Lane Version)
Artist: A3
Lead-in: Monologue that you didn’t hear on ‘The Sopranos’ theme
“You may think this next trick is impossible…”
Song: “The Age of Pamparius”
Artist: Turbonegro
Lead-in: Instrumental and prophetic-sounding gibberish about pizza 
Song: “Jenny From the Block”
Artist: Jennifer Lopez
Lead-in: Singing and instrumental from the Beatnuts (This one actually pisses me off because I don’t really like the rest of the song but something about the first 15-20 seconds is catchy as fuck)

Song: 2nd Round K.O.
Artist: Canibus
Lead-in: Mike Tyson soundbite
Song: “Brooklyn’s Finest”
Artist: Jay-Z feat. The Notorious B.I.G.
Lead-in: ‘Scarface’-inspired smack talk & gunfire
That’s all that comes to mind right now but when I have my itunes library on hand to skim through, this list will definitely be augmented.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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