hink back a couple of years... How many of you heard the rumours that everyone's favourite “Loser,” Beck, was a Scientologist? The word was that, following his break-up with longtime girlfriend Leigh Limon, Beck "flirted with" the "religion," about the same time as he was "flirting" with Winona Ryder—some even accused Ryder (not a known Scientologist) of introducing Beck to the “religion”! Something set me off, though, on my own path of suspicion that Beck may himself be a part of the sci-fi influenced movement: listening to his new record, Guero.
Somebody once said, in relation to Beck’s eclecticism, that “no one in real life likes country and hip hop” and Guero is a full-blown return to the jackdawishness of Midnite Vultures or even Odelay!. But the odd thing about Guero—unlike his former efforts—is that Beck is almost exclusively referencing his own back catalogue. Beck has—with the exception of the Beastie Boys “So Whatcha Want” and about seven other miniscule samples—turned his vision entirely inward and backwards. Every song references or pillages another Beck song or mood; gone are the easy pastiches of Midnite Vultures or obvious samples of Odelay! and in their place is a fascinating chewing of Beck’s musical cud.
Now, Scientology actively encourages its members not to seek inspiration, friendship, or collaboration from “no-case-gains”; oddly enough for those who think nothing good could ever come of this association, Guero led me to something of a revelation: could it be that this faith’s cultural isolationism is at the root of Beck’s legendary eclecticism? If you’re raised within a vacuum, it’s pretty hard to worry about liking country and hip hop—and samba and jazz and metal and rock and, and… But it wasn't until I spent a day, as I am wont to do, browsing the Internet randomly that I stumbled upon THIS!! Sweet holy Galactic Ruler, Batman! Here's an excerpt:
...After years of ducking the issue of his participation in Scientology, Beck slowly began making his affiliation public. In early 2003, under his original name, Campbell, Beck was listed in the COS's Impact magazine as a "Sponsor for Total Freedom," signifying that he had made a $5,000 donation. This money goes into the so-called "IAS War Chest," the bulk of which is used to fund litigation, dirty tricks, and Scientology's most vicious and anti-social behavior [NB: my own link]. In March 2004, Beck played at a "benefit" at the Knitting Factory in LA, which was advertised as a fund raiser for the Los Feliz Mission "which helps fight illiteracy and substance abuse," though it was not announced that the Los Feliz Mission was a Scientology mission and the funds were being raised for its establishment. Beck also performed for fellow Scientologists at a Celebrity Centre event in August '04. As of the July 2004 issue the Celebrity magazine, Beck's name appeared in bold type—official recognition that he is a member.Having attempted to absorb this information—and also well aware that there's nothign Scientologists like more than to broadcast their views from on high—I decided to examine the liner notes and album artwork in light of this newfound knowledge...
Let's look at the evidence.
1. Liner Note Thank-Yous
(You'll have to excuse my frenzied circling, colour coded for your enjoyment)
Okay, so the first few lines are the obvious ones, thanking the band and any guest musos, record label, blah blah blah... But then it gets interesting. In the red corner we have Marissa [Ribisi], Beck's wife (next to her is Cosimo, their son). Marissa recently attained the status of "Clear"—in Scientology, that means she's more freed of "engrams" (psychic scars) than Jesus or God or Mohammed, who are apparently "slightly clear." Yup; according to the Official Scientology And Dianetics Glossary: "a person who operates exterior to the body without need of a body"—must make for some funky bedroom action! Also in red is Giovanni, her brother, a noted "out" Scientologist. Then, in the yellow corner we have Gay Ribisi, Marissa and Giovanni's mother and Operating Thetan Level VIII (the highest level state of beingness in the Scientology scale, see also: John Travolta) and Power FSM (recruiter). Although Beck's mum Bibbe (herself an OT V) isn't mentioned, her son with current husband Sean, Chan [Channing, Beck's step-bro], is. Likewise, Beck's dad David Cambell isn't thanked, but his wife Raven Kane (in the violet corner), an active member, is. Then, in magenta, we have Jenna and Bodhi Elfman, aka Dharma and husband, both noted Scientologists. In green we have Lisa, who could very well be Lisa Marie Presley, Scientologist, and the uncircled "Chandra" could be this lady's daughter, since she sounds involved in the Celebrity circles of the CoS. If you think I'm clutching at straws, think again—Scientologists are encouraged not to hang with "no-case-gains", people who've not experienced Scientology's benefits. From the aforementioned essay:
3. Scientologists do not generally associate with non-cult members in their daily lives. With the exceptions of his publicist and his manager, Beck's legal and personal work is most likely conducted by Scientology lawyers and other handlers. As with other Scientologists, Beck likely must consult his case supervisor about how to handle any conflicts that arise or significant decisions to be made, both personal and business.See? Now it's time to move on and check out the album artwork.
2. Guero Album Cover
Looks harmless—if bonkers—enough, right? Well LOOK CLOSER! Does this severed head remind you of anyone?
That's right, readers, could this head/poof/footrest be... L. RON HUBBARD HIMSELF?! Keep looking, you'll see it...
3. Album Artwork
Depicting the rope-climbers in white suggests a level of piousness or freedom from sin/troubles/ENGRAMS—could these fit and active young people be climbing "The Bridge" (to travel from unknowingness to revelation), and in doing so, getting away from the monstrous "no-case-gains"? It's no secret that Scientology sees non-converts as little more than freaks, "Suppressive Persons." As Hubbard put it in his Battle Tactics, "You preserve the image or increase it of your own troops and degrade the image of the enemy to beast level." Those little bearboys look pretty beastly to me!
What's more, we all know what happens to those big, bad SPs, don't we?
4. Body Thetans?
Could this woman be ridding herself of "body thetans"? According to information listed on Xenu.net, "BTs are confused spirits of space aliens killed on earth 75 million years ago. They cling to human bodies and can only be exorcised by applying Scientology." You say fruitbat, I say space alien... But if you let go of the string of a helium balloon (the properties of which this bat seems to be mirroring), it goes up in the air—"frees" itself—right? Right.
The Scientology symbol, Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard are trademarks and service marks owned by the Religious Technology Center. ~ Scientologist is a collective membership mark designating members of the affiliated churches and missions of Scientology. This essay is not affiliated with the Church Of Scientology and contains commentary and criticism within the limits of Free Speech.
By: Clem Bastow
Published on: 2005-06-28