Flugtag, Scientology, Criss Angel, any given review by Mark Leib -- for one reason or another, these are all likely to push CL readers' cyber-buttons, leading them to click furiously in response.
Blog of the week: Scientology sticks to you like lint.
On July 25, Eric Snider wrote a post in blurbex.com about how his younger brother has remained on the Church of Scientology mailing list for 29 years, even though he had only a passing association with a few Scientologists as a 17-year-old and now lives in Tennessee. But it was Snider's intro that really got readers riled up:
"There's no doubt that the Church of Scientology has improved its image in the last decade or so. A little less secretive, a little less scary (although still creepy), more the butt of a good joke than a genuine threat."
These were fighting words for foes of the COS. The response of "A Watcher" was typical:
"Eric, while the COS has become only marginally transparent in the past few years, know that it hasn't become so without kicking and screaming with all the class of a five year old throwing a temper tantrum.
"The sad thing is, the public knows more about the COS than most of the current members themselves! Within the COS, there is tremendous pressure to get people to buy the materials, books and all the other pseudoscience garbage. There are numerous eyewitness accounts, victims' testimonies and documentation of human rights abuses.
"Please take the time to visit sites like exscientologykids.com, exscn.net, xenu.net and FACTnet.org. All of these sites are run by ex members who escaped the cult and well-informed critics. I hope you'll take the time to fully educate yourself on the dangerous realities of this vicious cult."
Then there was "marc," one of the few COS members to speak up in self-defense:
"I've been a Scientologist since 1970, and I've now been to most of the websites mentioned. I'm college educated, ran the sales/marketing arm of what grew to an $800M technology company, have two grown kids. I've had the good fortune of being friends with many Tampa and Pinellas area businessmen. I am not a Church staff member... I have found Scientology to help me improve my life (which wasn't bad in the first place) and raise two kids who are not on drugs and are contributing to a better culture for us all. No Church member EVER forced me to do anything, nor believe any data in Hubbard's writings. As a matter of fact, just the opposite, I was encouraged to think for myself..."
The majority of commenters, however, shared the perspective of "James," who said: "Scientology is at best a money-making scam that separates vulnerable people from their money.
"At its worst, Scientology is a highly dangerous cult that practices mind control on its 'customers' and staff, and conducts sinister Fair Game harassment against anyone who openly questions or challenges."
Read the entire thread at blurbex.com.
Blog rant of the week: "greencrossed eyes"
Snider again. His July 28 Blurbex post "To hell with Criss Angel," in which he dared to suggest that the Clearwater self-imploder was a bit of a poseur, drew all kinds of outrage, none more poetic than in this comment from one "tinaturnon":
"do you have green crossed eyes, have you just seen the green eyed monster? well it sounds like you caught this ugly virus, something better known as jealousy, damn you to hell for the death wish! poo! i fart on you too!i flip you the bird now rotate on it!! and write something with substance no! now hop to! and find a lowlife job for a loser like you its fitting!"
Web flap of the week: Flugtaggers fight back
Can 100,000 Flugtag fans be wrong? Wade Tatangelo thought so, and said as much in his Bar Tab column, "Flugtag follies," on July 23. He got slammed big-time in the comments department, including this response from an actual Flugtag competitor:
"Like the other readers, I take offense at your article, but I have an angle, unlike your story.
"I am from the winning team, the so-called 'David Hasselhoff-worshiping gym and sun freaks.' In stark contrast to your less than observant and rambling vituperation, the event was an incredible success for those of us involved and the majority of the larger than expected crowd. I've yet to meet someone who didn't enjoy something fun and different in Tampa, and as far as publicity stunts go, it doesn't get much bigger.
"The teams, including the Breadwinners, us, and all the participants, put a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm into their crafts, even it they didn't fly. From submitting designs, to building the craft with friends and family, to actually making an attempt at flight on the day of, everyone had a great time. The point of the Flugtag, which obviously escaped you, was to have fun and try something different. Of all people, someone in a creative endeavor like yourself should understand and appreciate. Instead, you chastise and insult people you work with and people you don't know with 8th grade level writing with absolutely zero entertainment or insight.
"Honestly, you sound like the little loser who wasn't asked to be a part of something cool (which doesn't surprise me from the tone of your article) and then cried about it afterward. I'm guessing you're the same kind of chump that sits along the gates cursing Gasparilla because you're too much of a dork to have a bead thrown at you, then runs to Starbucks to write about how lame Gasparilla is while you cry into your grande frapachino.
"One day, when you lose the attitude and learn to embrace new, creative and exciting things with a lust for life, then maybe you'll get invited to stand in front of 100,000 people to dance and enjoy living. Until then, stop embarassing yourself with articles like this, it's pathetic."
Posted by kevin riley on 07.25.08 @ 03:59 PM
The Leib log: American Stage & Hat Trick
Theater critic Mark E. Leib loved Souvenir at American Stage. Yes, he loved it, those of you naysayers who swear he doesn't like anything. And this time he got lots of commenters agreeing with him for a change, like this visitor from up north:
"Souvenir was exquisite! Both funny and poignant, due to extraordinary performances by extraordinary performers. 'Ave Maria' made us cry...both times! Looking forward to visiting this gem of a theater next time we're in town, and meanwhile we'll be spreading the word in New York." Posted by KenHK on 08.01.08 @ 10:39 AM
But Mark wasn't quite as excited about Hat Trick Theatre's production of Choose Your Own Shakespeare, and this time the commenters disagreed, sort of:
"I'm happy to take all the acting praise any critic wants to heap on me. However, Mr. Leib did forget to mention one crucial detail -- "Choose Your Own Shakespeare" is a comedy. And it's damn funny.
"Being that the show is interactive, the lights are up in the house and we can see just how each joke lands. They're landing beautifully. How do I know? Mr. Leib laughed. A lot. He laughed in spite of himself and his distracting note-taking. He cracked up. Score one for Hat Trick..."
Which prompted this comment from one Barry Miller:
"So, you're saying this show was a lot of fun, creative and interesting? And yet Leib didn't like it? No surprise there.
"If Mr. Leib were any more of a wind bag, you could use him as a hot air balloon. Except that he'd refuse to leave the ground, he might see something new and interesting up there, and that would frighten him..."
And this mixed review of Leib's review from "whiterussian":
"Mr. Leib's critique has captured well the essence of "Choose Your Own Shakespeare;" it seems, however, that he may have missed its very point.
"Via its promotion and subsequent execution, I got the impression that this play was presented to entertain -- as a casual summer diversion. Even with some shattered Bard (and a heaping tablespoon of sugar), it demonstrated to those less familiar with Shakespeare's work the extent to which our language, philosophy and culture has been infused with his words; I would consider that to be a super-bonus..."
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