What Janet Reitman Said to Me

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skeptic2girl
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What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by skeptic2girl » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:07 am

*I know there is already at least one thread referring to Inside Scientology, but I wanted to start a new thread, in order to talk about my experience at her reading, a topic quite apart from the book


A contingent of SF Anon Raid Regulars attended Janet Reitman's reading at the Jewish Community Center this evening in San Francisco. Although we felt that we probably would not learn a lot of new things about Scientology, we wanted to support the author who is helping publicize an organization that doesn't want outside publicity that isn't 100% laudatory.

We even had somewhat naive concerns about protecting her from any trolling Scilons.

I should tell you that I started her book but wasn't really into it -- I only read the introduction and it didn't find it engrossing enough to read on (unlike most of the other lit on Scientology).

I am not going to finish reading it.

I do not like Janet Reitman. Or at least, I did not enjoy my interaction with her. So what? The interesting aspect, I think, is whether or not she expressed her sincere views about Anonymous or she had been coached by her bosses at Rolling Stone and by her publisher and lawyers to take care to treat any people who associated themselves with "Anonymous" in a way that was in no way favorable or even neutral.

We know Scientologists would be there so we wore the masks -- not to draw attention to ourselves, but to try and neutralize. Still, people were pretty curious and at some point, a woman in the audience asked about the security and gestured to us and asked if she (Reitman) was in danger and if they (the rest of the audience) was in danger. No and no, said Reitman.

But she took the opportunity to say that there was no reason for us to be wearing the masks. In fact, one of the us, GoofyAnon, stood up to ask a question and apologized for his mask, which impeded his speech somewhat. "You can take off your mask," she said, "I'm not wearing a mask." He chuckled briefly and said brightly, "I congratulate you!"

Later on, I stood in line and asked Reitman to sign my book. I wanted to say something, to. I thought I'd go ahead an say "Thank you" to her -- not because I thought she represented my point of view but because it must have been quite a fight to write this book. (Someone here had pointed out it might be a nice thing for critics to do, and I whole-heartedly agree.)

She immediately said, "You can take off your mask, sweetie, no one's going to arrest you!"

And she went on to say, in a lower voice, that she thought that we (Anonymous) had contributed to the public being more fearful of the "church" than they would be otherwise and that we helped perpetrate that fear.

I kind of couldn't believe what she said -- I thought I might have misheard her. Believe me, and I want to emphasize this -- I never thought she's say, "Hey! Keep fighting the good fight!" or "Cool mask!" or even "Nice to meet you."

But I didn't expect her to openly criticize us. I wanted to double-check about what she said -- wanted to make sure I understood correctly. It was kind of surreal. But she immediately jumped up and enthusiastically greeted someone who I didn't notice.

I admit, I thought straight away, "What a b****."

But then I was comparing notes with my friend, "Xena," who happens to be a psychologist. "You know," she said, "she was probably coached to make sure and not show any favoritism towards you guys and to maybe even be a bit hostile."

In fact, as I read this over, it seems more and more likely - considering what she said in front of everyone in the audience to GoofyAnon about taking off his mask - that she had been told to emphasize the fact that the cult wasn't actually dangerous.

What do you guys think?
"The truth is out there."

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Anna_Asks » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:54 am

She's a reporter who covered Scientology right after returning from a year in Iraq, which probably put into perspective for her what fear was, I'd bet. Also, her book banks on her presenting things in a non-emotional (for her) and neutral-point-of-view way.

Her attitude of "what do you have to be afraid of?" (repeated over time for some people, maybe) sounds like it may have prompted her sources to allow their names to be used, at least in part, although the new attitude of boldness after the 2008 events and Anonymous and the handful of very vocal ex-execs coming out probably had as much to do with it, which came about after she'd begun her book.

It may also have to do with the fact that even Janet Reitman may not completely understand the Anon movement. Maybe if she did an article on it, she'd research it (I hope she does!). A lot of people don't completely understand the difference between the script kiddies/anti-sec and the no-illegal-behavior chanology protests, and she may be one of them.

If she was aware that many of the people she was addressing regularly engaged, protested, etc., maybe her view would be different. Of course, that is based on the assumption that she even is of the opinion that the protests are valuable in any way. Remember, she mentioned she had people she considered friends who were "in", as well as "out", and she expressed that she strongly felt they were good people. It could even be that she'd feel the protests were too demeaning or threatening to those in the orgs.

Idk, not trying to put words in her mouth, and I was a bit surprised at her attitudes too. It feels to me like she comes from a place where she doesn't even realize she's privileged - a call to her boss/employer with fair game/dead-agent isn't nearly as devastating as it would be for some who really need their jobs and wouldn't easily be able to blow that off. Not all of us have corporate lawyers on retainer.

I liked her book and flew through it, but I'd already read the books by John Duignan, Amy Scobee, Nancy Many, Marc Headly, (and others) and had already read personal stories here and at other ex-SCN forums for a few years, so a lot of it was review. She did line out the Lisa McPherson story in the most intelligible way I've read so far. If I had to recommend a pretty complete yet starter book, it would be hers. She's trying to educate people from scratch, as was evident tonight (OMG PEOPLE ASKING STUPID QUESTIONS/NONQUESTIONS) and also trying to get people to listen to the whole story and not just "these people are nuts and scary."

I didn't come away with the impression I would like her personally, but that's okay.

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by operatingwog » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:08 am

Even if she was coached not to show favoritism (I don't get how/why that would happen) I'm sure she wasn't coached to be snarky and condescending. ('I'm not wearing a mask', 'Sweetie'.)

Also: if she really thinks you're worried about being arrested if you take off your mask it doesn't say much for her analytical capacity. If she doesn't really think that then it doesn't say much for her that she said that to you.

I'd go with your immediate response ("what a b****").
“These guys are crazy. And all of this shit is straight out of the L. Ron Hubbard playbook. That’s their scriptures. They say they’re not a turn-the-other-cheek religion. No. They’re a knock-you-down-and-kick-you-in-the-balls religion.” Jason Beghe

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Gnu » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:46 am

I kind of wish I hadn't read this. For her to not be aware that in fact that anons have been harassed by scientology, and that unlike her, they don't have giant media outlets to protect them is pretty disheartening.
Some people really need to wear masks or risk problems at work, harassment from PIs, etc.
Anonymous, whether she knows it or not, helped to let her write her book and not fear too much more than a silly hit piece on Freedom Magazine. (Not to take away from OG. Anonymous just had so many new faces that it created more targets than scientology could easily handle)
Her talk at KGO, if true, it shows she didn't even know enough to worry about scientology going after her.

A lot of earlier media and exes and critics made it easier for her. At least learn enough to see this..


I hope she or her publicist rethink this strategy.
"Wisdom comes by disillusionment."
George Santayana

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by BLiP » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:25 pm

skeptic2girl wrote:. . . She immediately said, "You can take off your mask, sweetie, no one's going to arrest you!"
Straight out of the Independent's PR manual. The cult is no longer dangerous - look, the sum total of their fair game is a bunch of bozos in a clown car.
skeptic2girl wrote: . . . And she went on to say, in a lower voice, that she thought that we (Anonymous) had contributed to the public being more fearful of the "church" than they would be otherwise and that we helped perpetrate that fear . . .
Again, straight out of the Independent's PR manual - Anonymous are *NOT* helping.
skeptic2girl wrote:. . . What do you guys think?
Janet has been handled.
˙uɐɯ ǝlqɐuosɐǝɹun ǝɥʇ uo spuǝdǝp ssǝɹƃoɹd llɐ ǝɹoɟǝɹǝɥ⊥ ˙ɟlǝsɯıɥ oʇ plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ ʇdɐpɐ oʇ ƃuıʎɹʇ uı sʇsısɹǝd ǝuo ǝlqɐuosɐǝɹun ǝɥʇ ;plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ oʇ ɟlǝsɯıɥ sʇdɐpɐ uɐɯ ǝlqɐuosɐǝɹ ǝɥ⊥

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Don Carlo » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:10 pm

Geez, she gets a best-seller, fame and money without a mask. What do picketers get if they taske their masks off? Followed and photographed. That said, I agree that she has to be very careful of her words, since the media is so frickin' confused about the Guy Fawkes masks.

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Gnu » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:48 pm

skeptic2girl wrote: She immediately said, "You can take off your mask, sweetie, no one's going to arrest you!"
That is what struck me most. No one wears a mask because they fear arrest. They wear one because they know harassment by scientology is a real thing.
Her talks may not be protests, but the critics will be there...and scientology handlers will be there as well to try and get more info on the critics.
"Wisdom comes by disillusionment."
George Santayana

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Demented LRH » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:55 pm

To some masks could be very intimidating, just like dark glasses that prevent from seeing person’s eyes. Not to me though -- I do not care if a person who talks to me wears a mask or not. But I understand the discomfort that Janet might have experienced when she saw a room full of masked people. I would not judge her harshly for that.
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That is disheartening

Post by AngryGayPope » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:04 pm

I was going to wear my mask to the book soup signing but I guess now I won't. Anonymous is barely mentioned in her book except right at the end. But, then again, Kendrick Moxon is barely mentioned too, so I guess you have to cut some things.

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by ordinarycitizen » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:15 pm

This is terribly disappointing. Somewhere in the hundreds of hours of research she did she had to have come across countless instances of Scn's persecution of critics and, if she somehow couldn't make the logical leap herself, an explanation of WHY Anonymous wear masks. And surely she's not so obtuse as to overlook the fact that if it hadn't been for Anonymous she'd be experiencing that persecution up close and personal. But maybe she is. :|

If she truly has been handled, the irony is staggering.

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by I'mglib » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:46 pm

It sounds to me like she spent a lot of time with the indies, and is being very careful about not offending people who believe in the tech. I listend to her NPR interview last night (thanks, Sponge) and she was super careful about saying that she had no preconceived problems with Scientology when she started, and kept giving credit to the indies for helping her, and even suggested that they could help one of the callers whose father disconnected from her.

It is weird to me how the media in general has sort of brushed Anonymous aside. Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun didn't start speaking out until 2009, and Marty got out of the cult in 2004. That's 5 years! So, what happended right before 2009? The Anonymous protests, of course.

Obviously a lot of people are doing their part, but if Anonymous were not part of the whole thing, we would not be here today, with this much media attention, and orgs and missions closing like they seem to be. Anonymous has done a lot more than just make the public fear Scientology. Who writes the letters to media and politicians and message boards? Who passes information to reporters as soon as it happens? Who uncovers and posts leaked insider emails, invitations, etc? Who copies the tv programs and radio shows having to do with Scientology and posts them on Youtube within an hour of broadcast for millions to watch? Who started the big list of exes who have spoken out? Anonymous!
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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by Sponge » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:51 pm

Maybe you should have answered,
"No, sweetie [sarcastic emphasis], I'm not afraid of being arrested [more sarcastic emphasis], but I am afraid of having my face put on that ridiculous scientology CULT dead-agent website, inappropriately named 'Religious Freedoom Watch' so that everytime I go looking for a new job then prospective employers would see it when they google my name. Did you know that some protesters have actualy lost their jobs because the cult followed them, sought their employers out and whined to them? There are worse examples, as you should know if you actually read your own sources. So unless you think your book is going to change the United States of Scientology overnight and make them understand then I'll keep my mask on thank you very much."

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by skeptic2girl » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:55 pm

You guys are all correct. I think the "not going to be arrested" thing was regarding BART.

And actually, there were about 6 of us wearing masks: I think they ARE a bit disconcerting to look at, but indeed, but just wanted to make clear there wasn't a whole roomful.

Oooh, and Anna_Asks! I wanted to mention -- that one guy who seemed like such a jerk -- the one who said (something like): Let's get to the real point! FAIR GAME!

Unfortunately, he wasn't at the microphone and people got mad at him. Someone said, PIPE DOWN.

I was embarrassed - I thought he was one of us at first and when I saw he wasn't I was thinking, "Oh, thank goodness!"

But I met him afterwards, and he was awesome! I believe his name was Kevin Sullivan. He's a PI who worked on the Tommy Gorman case. He knows exactly what the cult is about and was supportive of us: not that I expected Janet Reitman to be, but I wish she had been at least neutral.

And indeed, AGP, probably since you've already been face-fagged I wouldn't wear your mask... at least if you want to ask a question. To anyone else who wants to hide their indentity, I would suggest maybe the hat and sunglasses look.

Or just say phugg it and go ahead and wear the masks.

But I would like to get confirmation of what she said to me -- she wouldn't repeat it -- she said it very low. It was weird. Maybe I also needed it repeated because I was surprised.

But if anyone wanted to take on the question of whether or not she thought Anonymous was making other people unduly scared of the "Church" of $cientology, that would be a good question to ask.

She may not answer it, though.

And Blip -- that's really alarming about the "handled" bit.

I couldn't help but think that she read so much L. Ron Hubbard stuff for the book and talked to so many Scientologists that some of it might have been convincing to her.

And Sponge... Glibby... I was hoping you guys would pipe in :) Thanx
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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by cakemaker » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:03 pm

skeptic2girl wrote: And she went on to say, in a lower voice, that she thought that we (Anonymous) had contributed to the public being more fearful of the "church" than they would be otherwise and that we helped perpetrate that fear.

What do you guys think?
Actually, to me, it reads more like a pat in the back.
People, rightfully, have reasons to be afraid of the church.
By the actions of the anti-Scn Anons, the public is being made curious and then educated about the harassment and abuses.
That's a good thing.
Janet recognizes that Scientology needs reform. That "the public" now knows about the dark side is a plus. "Fearful of the church" is a side effect.

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Re: What Janet Reitman Said to Me

Post by I'mglib » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Another thing that's sort of surprising is how in her book she has studiously avoided saying much about the tech, one way or the other.

There are many many people who say, "The tech works, and LITERALLY saved my life."

And a whole bunch of people who say, "The tech seriously messed my head up."

If you go to ESMB, there are people who vociferously say mostly the latter. Lots of people say it on this board. Hell, Jason Beghe said it.

Maybe that was a can of worms she didn't want to touch, even though there are many people who are critics BECAUSE they think the tech itself is a bad thing for your head.
"A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it." -William Ralph Inge

Watch the Los Angeles press conference here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/ScilonTV#p/

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