by Scoobie Davis
Eric Scheibeler--who wrote the earth-shattering expose of Amway, Merchants of Deception--is being sued by an Amway Diamond distributor and has received threatening letters from two law firms representing another distributor. . . Merchants of Deception is being used by former Moonie Steve Hassan to help those exploited by cult indoctrination tactics. God bless Steve Hassan. . . Thanks to all of you who have been a part of the Amway/Quixtar Google bomb. It has been a huge success. . . Yesterday, I went to The Magazine Scene on University Avenue to find some hard-to-find articles (read addendum) and I found a funny-but-sad article. It was from the October 1977 issue of Mad magazine. The article--written by Lou Silverstone and illustrated by George Woodbridge--is titled, "Mad's 'Religious Cult Leader' of the Year" and features Mad reporter Mike Malice (who looks a lot like Mike Wallace) interviewing the Reverend Sun Set Loony, the head of the Loonification Church. Now I realize Mad magazine's brand of satire falls short of the subtlety of Moliere and Jonathan Swift but there's a lot more truth in the article than a typical issue of The Washington Times. Unfortunately, the article is not on the Internet and I won’t scan and put it on the net because I’m afraid of being sued by Mad’s parent company Warner Brothers (which, by the way, was nicknamed “Werner Brothers” in the 1970’s because so many of its executives were devotees of self-help guru Werner Erhard's est). Here's a funny panel in the story:
[In the foreground is a clear-cut recruit of Reverend Loony; in the background are Mike Malice and Reverend Loony]
LOONY RECRUIT: Candy! Flowers! Candles! Please! Won't you help the poor orphans? Candy! Flowers! Candles. . .
MIKE MALICE [to Reverend Loony]: Do the proceeds from your street sales really go to orphans?
REVEREND LOONY: Why, of course! I'M an orphan!!
. . . On the top of my list of films that I love not because they're great cinematic achievements but because they're fun to watch and have characters you want to root for are A Knight's Tale and Drop Dead Gorgeous. Another one is Go. It's a shame that Go star Katie Holmes didn't take the film's advice to disdain cults (there's a hilarious scene in the film that blasts Amway; the scene features William Fichtner--who was also in The Chumscrubber, a film that I and others suspected of being backed by The Church of Scientology). . .
Addendum: If you're in San Diego and you need a hard-to-find back issue of a magazine, go to the Magazine Scene at 1643 University Ave. Yesterday I also found the November 1999 issue of Brill's Content that has the article by Michael Colton on Jack Chick. A couple doors away is On Comic Ground where you can find the latest comic books (yesterday I bought Eightball #19).