Paul Haggis Crashes Church of Scientology’s New Year

In the media this week, there’s something going on in reaction to the release of Lawrence Wright‘s book about Scientology that also occurred last year when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorced, and separately when a Vanity Fair cover story outlined that whole business with Nazanin Boniadi.

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Our good friend Tony Ortega sums it up this way:

For those of us who watch Scientology closely, and have for many years, most of the [Lawrence Wright book-related] articles that have popped up in recent days seem to be gasping over things that have been known or written about for many years…

We would argue that for much of the public, the word [about Scientology] was already out long before today’s publication of Wright’s book. (Look at the reaction, for example, when on Monday The Atlantic magazine ran a paid church advertorial at its website extolling the virtues of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Even though there was nothing really wrong with The Atlantic taking the church’s money for an ad, the public denunciation of the magazine was so swift and loud, The Atlantic caved and took it down.)

Nevertheless, Ortega acknowledges that there are many other little new details about the Church in Wright’s 365-page tome. It’s also a book put together by a Pulitzer Prize winning wordsmith, so it reads better than almost anything long-form previously published about CoS.

Like Wright’s New Yorker article, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief is tied to writer-director and former devout Church member Paul Haggis‘ POV. In the clip above, part of an interview running tonight on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, Haggis tells Harry Smith: “This [interview] is incredibly stupid. These are not people you want to mess with.” That brave aspect of Haggis’ article and book participation should never be diminished.

Update – 01/17/13: Ortega will be live-blogging tonight’s Rock Center with Brian Williams full report. Join in here.