by Tony Ortega, Village Voice. 7th Jan 2012
If the rest of 2012 is going to be like this first week, the hooch reserves in the underground bunker are going to need some bolstering.
Things started off one second after midnight as 2012 began, when our pre-loaded first story of the year, "What is Scientology?
" popped up on cue. We'd been working on it a few weeks, larding it with good stuff from such luminaries as Jefferson Hawkins, Larry Brennan, Dennis Erlich, and Hana Whitfield. We hope it proves a competent introduction to the subject for years to come.
Just a few minutes later, however, we started getting frantic e-mails from some of our best tipsters -- the epic saga of Debbie Cook's e-mail had begun.
Of course, we knew that most of our readers were probably sloshed at that hour, so we sensibly waited until just before noon on Sunday morning to put up our first story about Debbie's stunning call to rebellion
among her fellow church members.
But we still weren't done with the first day of the new year. That evening, someone solved the puzzle
we had embedded in last summer's big countdown, The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
Monday morning, we looked ahead to what 2012 might offer
by talking to Mark Bunker and Mike Rinder.
But on Tuesday, we got back on the Debbie Cook story
, trying to put her e-mail into some perspective by talking to someone else who hit the church with a broadside, actor Jason Beghe.
The next day, we got into Debbie Cook's background
, and wrote about the homophobic hazing ritual that marked the end of her Sea Org career. Our usual Thursday Stats Roundup
included not only more Debbie Cook mania, but also a fun item about a gossip website mixing up Tom Cruise with indie Scientologist Tiziano Lugli.
Friday morning we got back to our usual look into what it was like to sail with L. Ron Hubbard with another set of dispatches from the yacht Apollo
And that afternoon, with the Debbie Cook e-mail finally starting to hit American television, we put together an annotated version of her e-mail
to help beginners understand what all the fuss is about.
Now that's some way to start out the new year. Let's move on to the awards, shall we?
We spent some time preparing our introductory article "What is Scientology?," and we wanted to include real experts in it, people who had spent years in the church. One of those was Hana Whitfield, who had actually worked with L. Ron Hubbard and provided us with some fascinating remembrances of him. Reader Schockenawd
appreciated her contribution... [...continued in article link...]