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Weekend ephemera

Jennifer Raff —  May 27, 2013 — 4 Comments

I know it’s technically no longer the weekend, but since it’s a holiday here in the United States, I’m going to ignore that fact. Here are some things I found interesting this past week:

Something I read:
“Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” by Lawrence Wright. I’ve been reading this a chapter at a time on the El while commuting to my lab, and I’ve finally finished it. It’s an absolutely fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of Scientology, coupled with a history of L. Ron Hubbard and how he came to found the organization.

Coincidentally, a few weeks ago on a date** I actually went to a Scientology-sponsored “Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights” traveling exhibit in Bucktown called “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death”. Essentially, the exhibit consists of a series of movies (which were boring and I skipped), and posters with super scary images:
Scary scientology psychiatry photo
with explanations in text about how psychiatry is a global conspiracy with a mission to generate profits and control the world by making up diseases and using torture treatments to subjugate people. Evidently psychiatry is the true cause of all the past evil in the world, responsible for the Holocaust, torture, apartheid, scientific racism, Russian gulags, and Hemingway’s death.

The exhibits were utterly fascinating, and all entirely wrong. I’m not going to go into a detailed refutation of their inaccurate claims here (although I could do that in another post if anyone’s interested). But I do want to encourage people to read a bit about the history and philosophy of Scientology, because efforts like these do have consequences. Not only do they misrepresent a medical profession and ongoing scientific research associated with it, they also further stigmatize mental illness and potentially increase the reluctance of people afflicted with such illnesses to seek treatment for themselves. While there are certainly worthy and interesting discussions to be had about the use of psychiatric medication, I urge you to educate yourselves and recognize the difference between legitimate critiques and blatant manipulation.

On a (much) lighter note…

Here are some things I found interesting on the web:

–This wind map of the United States is completely hypnotic . Definitely recommend staring at this for a while if you get stressed. Our planet is astonishing.

A blog post about how my sister, Julie Kedzie, poses a significant challenge to current UFC champion, Ronda Rousey. Obviously I agree!

–And finally, this stunning color film of London in 1927 gave me chills. I love glimpses into the past like this.

Do you notice how slowly vehicles moved? Life was at a different pace back then.

What do you think about Scientology? Am I now a Suppressive Person for speaking out about it? What did you like best about the London film? Do you have any book recommendations for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And have a lovely and adventurous week, everyone!


For Americans, today is Memorial Day, a holiday to honor soldiers killed in wars. If you’re looking for a way to make a charitable gesture in this spirit, consider donating to the Wounded Warrior project to help injured veterans find financial assistance and employment opportunities.

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**Yes, I go on incredibly weird dates.

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