Friday, April 20, 2007

Follow the Money

That's what I learned from The Wire, whose fourth season I am not so patiently waiting for. But in the meantime I am really enjoying Deadwood. It's a lot like The Sopranos, but instead of poly blend shirts and fake French tips, there's suspenders and handlebar mustaches.

But why am I following the money? Today while I was trolling through Perez to find the full text of the blasting voicemail Alec "I sure am dumb" Baldwin left for his daughter Ireland, I happened to notice a picture of Tom and Katie as they entered a fundraiser for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Program. Interesting, I thought, this absolutely reeks of Scientology. Knowing that vitamins and exercise couldn't be too far behind, I did some digging.

Initially I felt torn. Sure, the Scientologists are crazy. How crazy? you might ask, if you didn't read my last post about these nutters.

"Scientologists believe that most human problems can be traced to lingering spirits of an extraterrestrial people massacred by their ruler, Xenu, over 75 million years ago. These spirits attach themselves by "clusters" to individuals in the contemporary world, causing spiritual harm and negatively influencing the lives of their hosts."

--US District Justice Judge Leonie Brinkema, 4 Oct 96 Memorandum Opinion, RTC vs. Lerma

Tres, tres crazy, no? On the other hand, no one else is championing the cause of 9/11 emergency workers' respiratory illnesses. If memory serves, I do believe the EPA, perhaps fearing a rash of lawsuits which came anyway, went to great pains to tell the public that the smoke and particle filled air around Ground Zero was perfectly safe!

Part of me thinks, oh, fine! Kooky rich Scientologists like Tom Cruise want to pony up some cash so that 9/11 emergency responders can get saunas, vitamins, massages and maybe get some relief from their very real and serious symptoms. What could possibly be the harm in that? Why must the Professional Critic get so bent out of shape about every little thing?!

As usual, it's the money honey, as in separation of church and state, or rather separation of cult and state. Alt-Religion-Scientology reports:

"The Post accused Lopez of, in return, 'steering' $630,000 in taxpayer funds to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a formerly privately funded facility near the World Trade Center site. Co-founded by Scientologist superstar Tom Cruise, the center, on Fulton St., uses long saunas, vitamins and exercise to allegedly detox firefighters and others who worked at Ground Zero.

In June 2004, Lopez, who is chairperson of the City Council's Committee on Mental Health, allocated $30,000 in public funds for the detoxification center. The center later received two additional $300,000 allocations of city money."

A different story all together.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Does the program work? Because if it does, then it would make perfect sense that the city of NY would support it.

Professional Critic said...

Concern over funneling public monies to a cult aside, the NY firefighter's union has pulled their support of this project when presented with the lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of this program. Lord knows I sure couldn't find any.

But the bigger issue here is the yawning void in the aftercare of 9/11 rescue workers. If workers felt they were receiving adequate care and relief from their symptoms, perhaps they they would not be as susceptible to COS hocus pocus.