I was surprised to discover that the actress Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men’s Peggy) is a Scientologist. I don’t know why this should come as news. Probably because there’s a part of me that, like nutters who abuse Coronation Street cast members in the street, can’t distinguish between the character and the actor. So I suppose I presumed she’d be Catholic.
I love Scientologists, they’re hilarious. For a while I lived near the Scientology Celebrity Center in Franklin Village, Los Angeles. There is honestly such a place. I was fascinated by it. What, exactly, was a Celebrity Center? And why would a religion need one? Curious, I checked the Scientology website, which helpfully explains:
‘We must not forget those individuals upon whom society depends the most,’ it says, referring – yes – to celebrities. It continues, ‘L. Ron Hubbard once said, “The world is carried on the backs of a desperate few.” Unfortunately, it is these desperate few who are often the most neglected.’ I know. Diddums.
But this is my favourite bit:
The celebrity, says Hubbard, ‘operates in a rank in advance of science as to the necessities and requirements of man’.
The only bit that confuses me is why an organisation that holds these people in such esteem would refer to them as ‘celebrities’, a naff term that includes everybody from Shakira’s personal trainer to Sanjay off EastEnders. Surely they could think something more reverential – icons, say, or supermen.
But at least they give these artists and aesthetes the true credit they deserve, unlike those boring, workaday religions that believe crap like ‘all men are equal in the eyes of God.’