You may have noticed the empty Hollywood Video site near the corner of Broadway and East Olive Way is lively again—but only until 8:00 p.m. today. That's because it is the temporary home of the museum Psychiatry: An Industry of Death. The "museum" is run by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which is not revealed to be a Church of Scientology affiliate until the final exhibit in the hall.
I stopped in last Thursday. The place was empty except for a few staffers, one of whom turned on the intro video for me. I was prepared to be hounded, but they didn't disturb me for the rest of the hour I spent there.
After the intro video, there were 13 more exhibits. Every exhibit had an accompanying video, but I gave up after the fifth one. You can watch them all here if you want. This museum would be a great place to hang out if you're homeless and it's raining—free, moderately warm, and a room full of excuses to sit down and loiter.
There were disturbing photos from concentration camps, slave plantations, and gulags. I'd heard before about Scientology's work on psychiatry and their use of shock images as a form of argument. However, I am probably the wrong person to try and shock since I voluntarily watch films like Salo, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, and Nekromantik, so I didn't find the museum too shocking. The thing that creeped me out most were the photos of ice-pick lobotomies.
The conclusion they seem to present is that psychiatry is an inhumane pseudoscience, with an especially nasty pharmacological cult that turns people into figurative zombies. Though they never explicitly said it, I guess we are to assume that believing in Xenu, an alien who came to Earth in a spaceship 75 million years ago and used hydrogen bombs to kill scores of people in a volcano, is better for your sanity than dropping a Xanax. Because that is what Scientologists believe.
They tailored the exhibit to King County at the end with charts showing the number of people in county psychiatric care from year-to-year. Not many have been "cured," so their point is that we're wasting money on the system. I guess it would be cheaper for us to enroll every psych patient in Scientology and buy them up to Operating Thetan Level VIII? Hey Dow Constantine, I found an efficiency for you!
Scientologists have some points about psychiatry. It upsets me to see humans suffer. It's easy to see how psychiatry can be manipulated to achieve political ends, as it was in the Soviet Union. The problem is that they go too far. They want us to believe that nearly every bad thing in our world comes from a shadowy cabal of evil psychiatrists: the Holocaust, slavery, Ernest Hemingway's suicide.
Video evidence of the sanity of psychology-free Scientologist Tom Cruise after the jump!
If you're curious, go check it out. Today is the final day—again, they close at 8 p.m. They didn't do anything weird to me. I had a fake story about being a grad student in Russian literature all ready to go, but no one asked me any questions. There was another lady there with an expensive camera, probably another journalist. At least by the end of it, you might no longer be glib and might actually know what Ritalin is.