Sunday Rant: Appropriating an Actor’s Death to Push a Cult


Philip Seymour Hoffman (PSH) was a talented, troubled and fallible man who died on February 2nd of an apparent heroine overdose.  He had slipped back into addiction after a reported 23 years sober, and when found dead in his apartment he had a needle in his arm and scores of packets containing the bitter mistress that lured him, loved him, abused him and toppled him.

I’m not here to rant about addiction or why this brilliant man threw away a life that appeared to have all most of us can only dream of: beautiful children, a dynamic career in a field in which you are passionate, being known as one of the best in your profession and the financial security that accompanies success.

Instead, I’d like to focus on how my favorite cult, a cult thriving on greed, mind control and incessant fundraising from its brainwashed members, tried to use the death of this complicated artist to make money, converts and to legitimize a decidedly illegitimate approach to addiction.

The cult is of course Scientology, and their drug rehabilitation program is called “Narconon.”


Would you trust your recovery or that of someone you love to an organization that turned this:


Into this?


By the way, if you have’t watched the Tom Cruise video put together by the cult for some phony bullshit award they gave him a few years ago, you are missing out on some amazing stuff.  Take a little over 9 minutes of your day to watch, but please wrap your jaw in an ace bandage to prevent injury when it hits the floor.

I have neither the time nor the expertise to tell all of you why this cult is dangerous and why the American government is getting cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars due to Scientology’s bullshit tax-exempt status as a religion.  There are many resources on the web, but my favorite is Tony Ortega’s blog: tonyortega.orgortega_071807

Tony is a brilliant writer and reporter who has been fearlessly following and writing about the cult for years and his blog is simply addictive, much as this one is.  Right?  RIGHT?


And speaking of addiction, let’s get back to the Rant at hand.  PSH was still probably warm at the time this cult member put together a self-serving video purporting to “honor” PSH.  I’m not even kidding about the body being cold – the video went up only a few hours after his death was announced.


I am including a link so you can check it out for yourself:  Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman by Jim Meskimen.  On its face there is nothing wrong with this video, although I find the rapidity with which it was produced and posted on youtube to be disconcerting.  This actor is known for his impressions, and apparently he thought we all wanted an impression of PSH doing Hamlet.

I for one think it sucks, because PSH was such a versatile and chameleon-like actor that I don’t think he is a good subject for an impression.  Now Tom Cruise or Kirstie Alley, those two would make for good material for Mr. Meskimen.  But since all three of them share the same cult, I don’t see that happening.


Back to my point: the youtube page includes a plug for Narconon, and a link to their website.  Narconon is a Scientology front group that uses the writings of a drug-addicted and mentally ill science fiction writer to rehabilitate substance abusers.

Narconon is dangerous – probably more dangerous than using.  Since Scientologists think all psychiatry is evil, there are no behavioral programs or anything even remotely resembling therapy for the patients.  Instead, they are forced to take massive doses of vitamins and spend countless hours baking in a sauna.

It’s expensive, too.  Expensive rehabs are nothing new, but Narconon justifies its prices and its methods via touting its amazing success rates.  Narconon Arrowhead, the same facility that has been under investigation by state and local authorities due to unexplained patient deaths, claims a 76% success ratio.


Here’s a fun story about when they lost their state certification:


And here is some good general information about Narconon from another great anti-Scientology website:

Finally, Mr. Ortega’s website has a host of information on Narconon, so go to his website and search “Narconon.”  For some reason my links to his site aren’t working today.  Damn.

Mr. Meskimen is a longtime member of the cult and as such, took it upon himself to take advantage of a high-profile celebrity overdose to push his cult on others.

Coincidentally, all this happened on Super Bowl Sunday, when Scientology was launching a new series of ads in  several local markets (they were too cheap to pay for the national ads).



Apparently Mr. Meskimen posted this video without irony.  You see, PSH starred in the movie “The Master,” a movie clearly based on the cult’s early days in which PSH played a character almost every film critic* agrees represents L. Ron Hubbard.  PSH’s performance was exceptional and was not flattering to the man referred to as “Source” by his followers.



Meskimen often shills for his cult, and takes regular potshots at psychology and medication on his twitter account.  For this I am grateful, because I know that someone who can deliver a Shakespeare monologue “in the style” of another actor is obviously (despite being an awfully derivative artist) qualified to make vast pronouncements about mental health and substance abuse problems and the best way to solve them.


It’s disgusting, tacky, despicable and awe-inducing that this cult member/actor found it appropriate to do an impression of a man who had been dead for five minutes and simultaneously push a cult and their harmful version of rehab, not to mention his own career.


Mr. Meskimen, if you are reading this I hope you will consider apologizing to Mr. Hoffman’s family for taking advantage of his untimely death.  I also hope you will consider doing some research on the criminal and immoral conduct of your cult, its current despot David Miscaviage and the myriad of controversy and lawsuits surrounding Narconon.


I hope you get out of the cult and are able to help others escape this insidious pretend church.  Until then, please don’t refer people to Narconon unless you don’t care that they could very well die there at worst, and get zero beneficial treatment at best.

Rant over.  It’s Day 4 of the Epic Oregon Shitstorm and I must nurse my cabin fever with a game of Scrabble.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow when we answer an email from a professor fighting the urge to date his student.  It’s yummy!  It’s salacious!  It’s oh so naughty!



*I have no statistical data to back this up.  Like Narconon, I just throw shit out there and see what will stick.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Raftman

    One thing (among hundreds of others) that truly offends me about this insidious dangerous cult is that they’ve hijacked the word “science” for their name. Nothing could be further removed from what “science” is and represents than scientology (I purposely choose to use small “s” as these buffoons truly don’t merit a capital one). Why don’t they call it fairytaleology, moronology, cultology or, most appropriately – bilkyaology – any of these would be much more accurate descriptors of who they really are and what they really do.

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