Alex Jones and the NSA: Two Things That Scare Me

I pretty much hate radio show host Alex Jones and InfoWars as much as I hate Scientology or scabies.  You might remember Alex Jones from his appearance on CNN with Piers Morgan – where it segued into an incoherent pro-gun rant. ("I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!") Jones believes he is a seeker of THE TRUTH, when in reality he’s just a scared little man disguised in the mask of a loud, paranoid bully.

Granted, it’s pull-the-covers-over -your head/extremely frightening thing that the NSA is building the biggest the country’s biggest spy center out in Bluffdale, Utah. The billion dollar government facilty, housed in the heart of Mormon polygamy country:

Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.

"Reporters" for Jones’ radio show, InfoWars, ventured to the Utah Data Center to seek…THE TRUTH. They were confronted by a security guard who confiscated their cameras after repeatedly telling them it’s clearly posted that it’s illegal to film on the property.

Question: Were these reporters being brought down by THE MAN because they wanted to seek THE TRUTH, or were they simply harassing a low-level security guard? Let us know in the comment section below. 

Will Smith Is Addicted To TED Talks

That heavy clicking you hear is the sound of all the pieces snapping into place. Perpetual sci-fi protagonist Will Smith, according to his son and After Earth co-star Jaden, can’t get enough of the dubious lessons imparted by the ultra-rich at TED conferences: “If I’m with my friends, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, hey, where’s your dad? Let’s go say hi.’ And I’ll be like, ‘Oh, no. He’s watching hours and hours of TED Talks, just … dude, don’t go in there.’”

With all his denials of being a Scientologist—the same Vulture interview has him claiming he and Jaden are not religious, but rather “students of world religion”—it’s almost shocking that Smith would readily admit to loving a lecture series that really may as well book the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard every time for all the practical value or insight it offers. Maybe he can pitch his own edition: “How to Shed Your Comedic Charm and Start Looking Serious in Post-Apocalyptic Flops.”

I guess he just has a thing for ideas that have been carefully extracted from an ass, which explains why he has the baffling confidence to say things like “at heart, I’m a physicist”—a classic L. Ron line, come to think of it—and “it feels like you can’t write books in progress.” What does that last sentence mean? Who knows! The real trouble will begin when he watches Amanda Palmer’s talk on crowdfunding. Can’t wait to see how the Kickstarter for Seven Degrees of Separation takes off. 

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Linkage: Lindsay Lohan Might Be an Escort, Jessica Simpson Can’t Stop Bonin’, & a Kris Kross Reunion

If you’re wondering how the hell Lindsay Lohan can get away with jetting across the globe and staying in fancy hotels with nothing but money from Playboy shoots and Lifetime movies, here’s a possible explanation on where she gets her money: she might be working as a high-class escort for the rich and not-so-famous. Some of her alleged clients include Prince Haji Abdul Azim, third in line of the throne of Brunei (which is a real place, not like Genovia), and painter Domingo Zapata. Of course, these allegations come from her scumbag father, Michael Lohan, so take them with a couple shakers of salt. [Radar]

Nicole Kidman is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and she dishes about Scientology—sort of. When pressed, she’ll say only: ‘I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about Scientology. I have two children [adopted with Cruise] who are Scientologists—Connor [the Red Dawn actor is now 17] and Isabella [20]—and I utterly respect their beliefs.’” The cover story also revels that Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara was director Lee Daniels’s first choice for Kidman’s role in The Paperboy, so just imagine that crazy lady doing her own hair and makeup and peeing on Zac Efron. [THR]

Jessica Simpson, as always, is both a good indicator of the failures of sex education in this country and an example of how annoying celebrities can be if their publicists can’t get them to shut the hell up. The occasional singer and sometimes actress told Jay Leno last night that she’d like to get married to fiancé Eric Johnson, with whom she has one child and a second on the way, but, in her words, “he keeps knocking me up.” [Fox News]

Sarah Jessica Parker replaced Demi Moore as Gloria Steinem in the upcoming Lovelace, premiering at Sundance, after Moore’s hospitalization for exhaustion early last year. It turns out it was all for naught: Steinem’s role in the film has been cut. [EW]

Because of money, NBC is going to roll poor Betty White out again and make her watch a bunch of people “pay tribute” to her for Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special. The party’s guest list includes folks like Blake Shelton, Bill Clinton, and Larry King, because who else could possibly ruminate on all of Betty White’s achievements as an old actress who still makes dirty jokes when forced to read from cue cards in front of a TV camera? [Deadline]

Kris Kross are getting back together because they left a lot of things unsaid, a lot of pants unsagged, and also realized how much of a boner everyone has for the ’90s. [Vulture]

Does keeping a “princess-free” household promote feminist ideals in children or just keep them from having fun? [Jezebel]

Die Hard director John McTiernan is headed to jail for a year and must pay a $100,000 fine. And no, it’s not because he directed that Rollerball remake. [Indiewire]

R.I.P., old guy from old TV show. [TMZ]

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‘Vanity Fair’ Debuts Katie Holmes Cover With Scientology Wife-Auditioning Piece

New York magazine stabbed Katie Holmes right in the heart with its piece depicting her as a master manipulator who used Tom Cruise (and is now using Suri) to further her limp career. Vanity Fair‘s October 2012 cover takes a different tack, plastering Holmes’ gorgeous face on the cover with the sympathetic headline "What Katie Didn’t Know: Marriage, Scientology-Style."

VF‘s Maureen Orth delved into the 2004 search for a suitable wife for Cruise, which started with actresses who were already Scientologists. Women were brought in to audition for a "new training film" and asked, "What do you think of Tom Cruise?" An Iranian-British actress Nazanin Boniadi was supposedly selected and dated Cruise for three months from November 2004 until January 2005. She enjoyed a series of whirlwind dates — dinner at Nobu, renting out the skating rink at Rockefeller Center — but was repeatedly chastised for not behaving deferentially enough to Cruise and "disrespecting" Scientology chief David Miscaviage. Orth writes that Boniadi was finally dumped by a Scientology official — she was told Cruise was too busy to break up with her himself — and sent to a Scientology center in Florida for grunt work. Not surprisingly, Miscaviage and Cruise declined to participate in the article.

None of this is really new news for anyone who has been following Scientology rumors over the years or who has read Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion. What’s really most notable about the Vanity Fair piece is that its a finger right in the eye of Hollywood Scientologists. Good for newsstand sales, perhaps. But how will it affect VF‘s public relations in Tinsel Town? That annual Vanity Fair Oscars party is going to be awkward.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

How To Look Like Katie Holmes, Post-Tom Cruise

For Katie Holmes, stripping herself of Tom Cruise has been a bit like stripping herself of a full-body case of leprosy or scabies – she’s instantly hotter. Whether she’s teaching Suri how to ride a bike, or getting coffee with her mom, Holmes looks good – and happy. And definitely better than the last photo of her and Cruise together.

So how do we get that “he’s-gone-I’m-free-I’m-free!” glow that she has, without signing a contract and marrying a potentially gay and charismatic Scientologist?

Thankfully, we have international hair and makeup artist Leah Bennett, whose work has graced the runways of London, New York, and Australia’s Fashion Week, to make the process nearly all-too-easy. With the help of Bennett’s expert skincare and makeup guidance, you’ll be confusing the paparazzi in no time.

Skincare
For a no-fail, revitalizing pre-makeup routine, stick with the Omorovicza brand. The company’smagnesium-rich mud extract Thermal Cleansing Balm cleanses the skin without stripping it, so you’re actually left with that just-woke radiance. Applying Omorovicza’s oil-free Radiance Renewal Serum afterward brightens and conserves the complexion throughout the day. According to Bennett, “This erases any signs of stress and tiredness. A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND. A pea-size is substantial enough.”

Makeup
Face:
“For Katie Holmes, we are going for the natural look. After your canvas is prepped to perfection, apply a five-cent piece of Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation using a foundation brush, which creates a dewy, natural complexion. Less is always more." With your ring finger, gently pat Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage Concealer around the eyes and the edge of your nose and chin. “These are the key areas where we reflect red and uneven, textured skin."

Eyes:
Lightly dust Mac’s Shroom Eye Shadow ($19) over the bridge of the eyebrow bone and the corner of the tear duct to open, brighten, and reflect the eyes. Then, outline the top and bottom lash line. “This defines and captures the doe-almond quality of Katie Holmes’ eyes.” Curl lashes and apply two coats of Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Black Mascara ($28.50). “This lengthens the look of the lashes, clump-free.”

Lips:
To capture that ‘I wake up looking like this’ aura, balance your understated cheeks and eyes with mild nougat and taupe-colored lipsticks. "Mac’s Lustre in ‘Hug Me’ ($22) is the epitome of a soft, creamy, and understated lip color.”

Finishing touches:
“To sculpt and enhance your sexy cheek bones, use Givenchy’s Poudre Bonne Mine Healthy Glow Powder in shade #4 ($50). Light, feathery brush strokes prevent muddy complexions and create that youthful ‘bronzed goddess’ look.” Follow your hairline, cheekbone and chin. For that pinched-cheek look, smile to enhance your cheekbones, and make light, circular motions on them using Mac’s Powder Blush in Blushbaby ($17.50). And the final touches to any makeover is a spritz of Urban Decay’s Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($29). This will keep your Holmes-inspired look all night.” Past the paparazzis’ bedtime.

Love what Leah Bennett has to say? So do we. Check out her official website here

Danny Masterson Thinks Scientology is “Fucking Awesome”

That 70’s Show ([sic], by the way—how am I just noticing that?) star Danny Masterson has a new sit-com on TBS called Men at Work. It doesn’t look very good. But, ya know, most new sitcoms don’t. (I mean, was That 70’s Show any good?) But who cares about that stuff? Masterson is a Scientologist, so wouldn’t we rather just hear him talk about that for a bit?

In an interview with Vulture about Men at Work (sadly, his show, not the band), the inevitable happens: the interviewer mentions Scientology, specifically regarding Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who publicly disassociated himself with the religious group

Do you ever read what people write about Scientology? Someone recently sent me that New Yorker story about Paul Haggis from last year.
I met Paul twice. He was never nice to me. I’d heard about the story from other people, but I was never impressed with his vibe in the first place. So whether he used to study Scientology and has now decided not to, it’s like, “Who cares?” Plenty of people are raised Catholic and then aren’t Catholic anymore, like any religion.

People are interested, I guess.
It’s weird. I guess people want us to entertain and not give our opinion, but we can’t stop ourselves because we do interviews where people ask for our opinions. I generally will answer any question about anything. I’m not like, “Don’t ask about my penis!” In terms of Paul, I don’t know him, I didn’t like meeting him the times I met him, then I heard he shit all over something I know is fucking awesome. How can you get mad at somebody for wanting to study something they enjoy?

I mean, it’s a ballsy move on the interviewer’s part (who admitted that he didn’t like the Men at Work pilot), but Masterson’s reaction was kind of priceless. You know what isn’t fucking awesome? The fact that no one has recently asked Danny Masterson about his penis. Come on, reporters: step it up.

Update: As it turns out, the title card for That ’70s Show has the correct grammar; the Vulture post, however, uses the incorrect version as seen above.

Afternoon Links: Rihanna Sounds Lonely, YO! Scientology Raps

● Rihanna is single and not loving it. "My personal life is pretty much non-existent, which is not good, not for the long run. Not for me, not for [my vagina]," she admitted to Ellen Degeneres this morning, adding that, "It’s not really that cool." [Us]

● Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett ditched DC for Hollywood earlier this year, and is now working on an NBC comedy about his former place of employment, 1600 Penn. [THR]

● MTV’s Yo! MTV Raps is returning for one night only this December 4th as Yo! MTV Raps Classic Cuts, a look back on some of the groundbreaking show’s finest moments. [Pitchfork]

● Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith’s cover of Frank Ocean’s "Thinking About You" is not good. [Rap-Up]

● Lauren Bush Lauren matched her wedding dress made "of antique tulle hand-embroidered with Swarovski Elements, beads, and pearls" with an old pair of cowboy boots. Vogue has the pictures of her and David Lauren’s western theme ceremony. [Vogue]

● Scientology has finally forayed into hip-hop. [VV]

‘New Yorker’ Exposé of Scientology Summarized

There’s a really fascinating and incredibly long article in this weeks New Yorker about the cult of Scientology, and writer/director Paul Haggis’s brave escape back into the world of secular sanity. In the piece, Haggis and other defectors speak with shocking candor on an institution whose inner workings have always been shrouded in secrecy. Before reading it, I’d considered Scientology stupid, creepy, amusing, and mostly harmless. After reading the piece, I now understand that this institution is all those things, but also evil, violent, and incredibly powerful. Read the piece for free in its entirety on The New Yorker website. But for those of you who don’t have the time or energy to devote a couple hours to Scientology, I’ve provided a synopsis after the jump.

-Paul Haggis—writer of Million Dollar Baby and Director of Crash—recently quit Scientology after thirty-five years of involvement.

-Haggis quit because he was upset about the church’s support of California Proposition 8. Two of Haggis’s daughters are lesbians, and he believes strongly in gay rights.

-Scientology is anti-gay, although they deny this. A lot of people think Scientologists like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are gay. They also deny this. They deny pretty much all accusations about anything.

-Haggis’s frustration over Prop 8 led him to do some outside research on Scientology, something he’d mysteriously never thought to do once during the thirty-five preceding years.

-His research showed that Scientology was totally whack. -Haggis had gotten into Scientology because a big part of the religion involves special forms of therapy and marriage counseling. Also, Scientology connections did wonders for his career.

-Nonetheless, he never knew Tom Cruise. Apparently Scientology celebs aren’t all buds with each other. The one Time Haggis met Cruise, Cruise was a total humorless dick. Even though Haggis estimates he donated over $500,000 to the church over the years, they were still constantly asking him for money, and pretty much treated him like crap.

-Josh Brolin once saw Tom Cruise try to heal a wound in Marlon Brando’s leg with his bare hands.

-Haggis got to level VII on the spirituality ladder in the church. This is some hardcore shit. Haggis doesn’t think any of it worked. At level three you have to read this totally wild sci-fish thing about the beginning of humanity occurring 75 million years ago, and how dead souls are deposited in alcohol and then seep into your bodies. You must accept this document as truth. Haggis never fully bought it in his heart, but he’d spent so much time and money that he become afraid of asking himself honestly about his belief system.

-There is something called Sea Org that is kind of like a traveling monastery/jail where people as young as twelve are forced to sign contracts offering their dedication to Scientology for "billions" of years. They then are treated like slaves, paid $50 a week, and forced to do all kinds of manual labor like building airports for Tom Cruise.

-Sometimes these people are beaten and tortured and locked up for extended periods of time. Scientology denies this.

-Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard supposedly healed his own war injuries—lameness and blindness among them—by using Scientology methods. There is evidence supporting the fact that Hubbard was never lame or blind in the first place.

-There is this guy called David Miscavige, who runs Scientology, is totally evil, and allegedly beats the crap out of people on a regular basis. He’s also BFF’s with Tom Cruise. They have matching motorcycles.

-The piece ends with Haggis saying, "My bet is that, within two years, you’re going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church.” He thought for a moment, then said, “I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”

 

Morning Links: Justin Bieber Covers Lady Gaga, Courtney Love Finally Paid for Her Flowers

● Kevin Smith told Joy Behar that when he was kicked off his Southwest flight for being too fat, he “felt at that moment ‘I’ll lose the weight, but I’m not putting on thinner clothes,'” a sentiment that obviously didn’t make his infamous Tweet-fit. [PopEater] ● After a year of hits, Grammy nods, and high paying commercial gigs, Eminem is slotted alongside Muse and Foo Fighters to headline this year’s Lollapalooza. [Chicago Tribune] ● On today’s show, Ellen Degeneres will preview what Lady Gaga’s forthcoming single “Born This Way” might sound like if she was born less like Lady Gaga and more like James Blunt and Justin Bieber. [Ellen]

● Courtney Love apparently has settled the $4,000 debt she owed to her florists, who say they’ll “be her florist any day.” [TMZ] ● Will David Ellis, of Snakes on a Plane fame, actually get to call his next movie Untitled 3D Shark Thriller? “I don’t think anything matters anymore, so why not,” he argues. [NYM] ● New Yorker cover-story writer Lawrence Wright told NPR‘s Terry Gross that it took five fact-checkers, 971 queries, and an eight hour sit down between EIC David Remnick and Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis to clear the blockbuster 24,195-word expose on the Church. [NPR]