Subscription options


Subscribe to our e-mail list

Super Sunday Funnies: Live-Blogging Scientology’s Super Bowl Ad!

IAS_SuperBowl_smallNOTE: Live-blog entries show up at the bottom of the page.

Two weeks ago, Scientology came through on its promise to air its “Knowledge” ad during the AFC Championship — at least in some cities. We saw it here in New York, and it turned out to be a 30-second ad which is also on the web in a 1-minute version.

Will the ad also air today during the Super Bowl? We’ll be watching here at the Bunker, and we’d love to hear if you spot the ad in your town as well.

In today’s special SUPER SUNDAY edition of Sunday Funnies, we’ll take a quick look at both ads the church has been running lately, and then we have a jam-packed collection of other wacky items for you.

First, we’ll share with you this Nashville flier that a tipster passed on to us, which promises that the ad will be seen in that city…


As the flier states, it’s the “Knowledge” ad which will be running. As we did two weeks ago, we’ll run through the 1-minute version of the ad, which presents Scientology as a mystical hipster form of rebellion…

To the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge
To the ones who just want to know about life, about the universe, about yourself
Not cute questions, big questions, ones that matter


To the rebels, the artists, the free-thinkers, and the innovators
Who care less about labels and more about truth
Who believe nonconformity is more than a bumper sticker
That knowledge is more than words on a page
You’re young, you’re old, you’re powerful beyond measure


And the fuel of that power is not magic or mysticism, but knowledge
The things you see, the things you feel, the things you know to be true
Sure, some will doubt you. Let ’em
Dare to think for yourself. To look for yourself. To make up your own mind
Because in the eternal debate for answers, the one thing that’s true, is what’s true for you

As we pointed out earlier, the ad somehow fails to mention that Scientology is all about fawning over the written works of this guy…


If L. Ron Hubbard doesn’t make an appearance in the “Knowledge” ad, he’s being celebrated in another television commercial that a lot of folks have been seeing lately. We have the script for that one, too…

He was the nation’s youngest Eagle Scout at the age of thirteen
And twice journeyed to Asia before the advent of commercial flight
He attended America’s first class on nuclear physics
And was a pioneer at the dawn of American aviation


He led expeditions into then remote islands as a member of the famed Explorers Club
And was a giant in the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction
He was a Master Mariner licensed to captain vessels on any ocean
And a United States naval officer who commanded corvettes during WWII
His landmark work on the human mind rode bestseller lists for 100 consecutive weeks
And he’s the most published and translated author of all time
He is L. Ron Hubbard — founder of Scientology

We figure this one’s been running a lot lately in order to counter all the publicity over Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear, which points out a lot of other highlights in Hubbard’s life.

Neither of the ships that Hubbard commanded in the war (one for only a day’s practice cruise) were really properly described as “corvettes,” but the ad also fails to mention that Hubbard spent more than a day fighting an underwater mineral deposit off the coast of Oregon, and then was relieved of his command after using a Mexican island for target practice.

But you have to hand it to the church for sheer audacity to boast about Hubbard’s enrollment in a college class on nuclear physics — without mentioning that he failed it.

If you spot either ad today, please let us know in the comments.

Moving on to our other Sunday Funnies, we received the following photograph from one of our tipsters, who wondered how Scientology’s mission in celebrity-soaked Malibu was doing.

The place was closed, but then our tipster spotted this post-it note, which explained why it might be tough to catch the place when it’s actually open…


If the Malibu mission is short on manpower, perhaps what it needs is the kind of derring-do and get-up-and-go that we can see in this new video from the folks in the UK. (And watch it while you can. We have a feeling we won’t have it for very long…)

If you’re new to Scientology watching, keep in mind that “humanitarian” in Scientology means “person who gives us a lot of cash.” Specifically, it’s someone who contributes at least $100,000 to help church leader David Miscavige put up a new “Ideal Org” church, which will then stand empty. So you can see, “humanitarian” means very different things to Scientologists than to the rest of humanity, which tends to benefit from actual humanitarians.

For a look at a Scientology humanitarian — in fact, a platinum humanitarian, whose gullibility big-heartedness is like the rarest precious metal — let’s also take a look at Manchester’s Richard Bromley, who has achieved that level. We think means he gave something like $750,000…

He’s truly an inspiration, isn’t he?

Meanwhile, Jim Meskimen may not be the most famous of Scientology’s celebrities, but the actor and son of Marion Ross is proving himself to be just about the most active and willing church shill of the bunch…


Now, even more funnies from across the pond. In England, a television talk show featuring a gardener (?) named Alan Titchmarsh put on a surprisingly generous segment about Scientology, allowing the church’s London spokesman, Mark Pinchin, to assert, for example, that Scientology is not celebrity-obsessed, and doesn’t charge its members for services. Watch Titchmarsh’s futile attempt to keep the segment from turning into an outright commercial for the church…

After watching that, we have to wonder, has “I was on drugs until Scientology” become the church’s new slogan?

Next up: Maybe the greatest slogan ever for the Ideal Org program: “sprint to eternity.” Think about it.


And finally, we have a fun anecdote that one of our tipsters in the UK sent us. We hope you get a kick out of the tale…

Several years ago Saint Hill offered to help the town’s “Bloom Committee,” a group of civic-minded volunteers who enter East Grinstead each year in the “South and South East in Bloom” competition, which encourages towns to hang baskets of flowers in their high streets and have pretty parks.

As usual of course there was an ulterior motive in this apparently generous offer which the committee was too naive to spot until it was too late.

In particular, Saint Hill volunteered to “do something” with a rather neglected flower bed right outside the town railway station, and having cleared and planted it, they went to the additional trouble and expense of providing a tall, very handsome, green and gold enameled sign to stand in the middle of the flowers. Ostensibly this sign was to highlight the town’s attractions, including the fact that the world-famous carol “Good King Wenceslas” was written here. (THAT we are proud of!)

But no one checked the wording or was aware that number two on the sign — just in the place where one’s eye naturally fell on it while exiting the station — was touting us to all-comers as the home of L Ron Hubbard.

This unsavoury connection is hardly something anyone in East Grinstead would want to promote, not least because Hubbard himself once described East Grinstead as “a hick town full of hick people” — which is just plain rude!

The mayor remained blissfully ignorant until the moment the silk slithered off it at the unveiling and revealed how he and the committee had been conned.

It all caused quite a row at the time, but as the sign was on privately-owned land and as Saint Hill refused to remove it, it has remained a blight at the rail entry to town ever since.

Fortunately though, the story has a happy ending as a new station building opened last month.

It is set at right angles to the original station, and so the damned Scientology sign is now edge-on to visitors arriving from London and with luck will be completely removed in due course…

Let’s hope for a good game today. While we’re waiting to see if the Scientology ad airs, we’ll tap out a few notes here about how the contest is going. We won’t reveal yet which team we’re pulling for.

But as you settle in with your snacks and beverages, let’s all keep this looming event in mind…



SUPER BOWL LIVE BLOG ENTRIES WILL BEGIN HERE Please refresh the page to see the latest update, and remember to set your Disqus “Discussion” to newest so you can keep up with what other readers are posting.

12:04 pm

About our Super Bowl allegiances here in the Bunker, which is in an undisclosed location but much closer, obviously, to Baltimore, Maryland than it is to San Francisco, California.

(The cats are from Kansas City, and they just wish we wouldn’t shout things at the TV during big sporting events. They won’t be taking sides today.)

Despite our relative proximity to Baltimore, we grew up in California, and we tend to side with anything West Coast over East Coast, if for no other reason than the country’s East Coast media bias is really annoying.

On the other hand, we grew up in Southern California, which traditionally has a pretty strong rivalry with the Bay Area, whose residents always seem to look down their noses at us Angelenos.

However, we did live for several years in the Bay Area and have fond memories of it. Though during that time we did not become 49ers fans.

Complicating things is that Los Angeles has always had a somewhat disjointed relationship to football. We still love the Lakers, and although we’ve adopted the Mets in a big way, if you cut us we still bleed Dodger Blue. But football is another matter.

And when we were just forming our sports allegiances in those tender days of youth, we collected football cards. It’s hard to overstate just what an influence such things can have on a young mind. Also, the Rams sucked at the time, and the Raiders hadn’t yet come to town. So, when we opened several packages of cards after a visit to the local liquor store one day, we took it as some kind of sign that so many of them were Houston Oilers. And there was something about that oil derrick on the side of the helmets we found really inspiring.

All these many years later, we’ve stuck by that team, which now calls itself the Tennessee Titans. Make fun all you want, but we’ve lived and died by Warren Moon, Steve McNair, Eddie George, and Chris Johnson, and that bond is not something we take lightly.

For that reason, there are certain teams which, over the years, have driven stakes through our hearts. You can imagine which some of these might be. Please don’t start talking about the Buffalo Bills — after the 1993 incident which must not be discussed, we at least had some solace with The Miracle in 1999.

No, it’s 2000 that still stings, when the Titans took the best record in football into the playoffs, the season after losing in the Super Bowl, and watched a brilliant season die. For that and several similar painful memories, we loathe the Baltimore Ravens with every fiber of our being.

Go Niners!

Share Button
5:24 pm

TV on. CBS dialed in. And that little segment about Ray Lewis’s involvement in a 2000 double-murder was highly unsatisfying.

Share Button
5:54 pm

Peter Weller on Hawaii-Five-0? Where’s my Buckaroo Banzai sequel?

Share Button
6:20 pm

Sandy Hook kids: afternoon’s first lump in the throat.

Crazies will say they’re just a government hologram designed to distract us from mass mind control, however. Truthers are a special breed.

Share Button
6:27 pm

After that rousing anthem by Alicia Keys, we’re almost ready to go. Just a note — during the AFC Championship, the Scientology ad was the first one going into the halftime break. When will it show up today?

Share Button
6:30 pm

Flaming Lips for Hyundai? Ah, why not.

Share Button
6:40 pm

Ravens strike first. It’s early.

Share Button
6:44 pm


Budweiser Black Crown. Oh, please.
M&Ms. This feels like a PETA ad.
Audi. Rich kids never made me want to buy anything.

Share Button
6:46 pm

More ads…

Hyundai super kids. Meh.
Go Daddy ads are always gross, but this one is stomach-turning.
Doritos, good enough for goats.

Share Button
6:56 pm

Niners make it 7-3.


Pepsi Next. Forgettable.
Best Buy. Waste of Amy Poehler, a great comedian.
Budweiser “Black Crown.” Please, just stop.

Share Button
6:59 pm


The Wizard of Oz reboot no one has been waiting for.
Coke ad using surveillance cams: unintentionally creepy.
Oreo: Can’t help wondering if that library had Ron the Encyclopedia.

Share Button
7:08 pm

End of First Quarter


Action movie will deliver action movie tropes action movie fans expect.
Toyota wishes. Best ad so far.

Share Button
7:15 pm

First Turnover!


Doritos ad. Men in drag means great snack product.
Calvin Klein ad feels like something out of a fascist utopia. wolf ad. Huh?

Share Button
7:25 pm

Ravens up 14-3


Bud Light ad set in New Orleans. Great town, OK commercial
Go Daddy tells us wives nag men around the world. What a loathsome company.

Share Button
7:27 pm

More ads…

I’m looking forward to the new Star Trek movie, but I wish I hadn’t sat through like a 10-minute preview at The Hobbit. Sometimes less is more.
The Rock goes in search of milk and we yawn.
Sonata Turbo ad is a bit clever. The music reminds us of “Raising Arizona.”

Share Button
7:30 pm

Second turnover! Ravens have always been good at getting the other team to lose its cool.

Share Button
7:38 pm

Failed fake field goal! Hey, that’s unusual.


VW. Ah, nothing like ethnic humor. First draft no doubt included blackface and dreads.

Share Button
7:42 pm

Niners struggling. Time out.


Coke ad in the desert. Road Warrior riff, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (but without pesky gays).
Subway ad with athletes. Jared has always struck us as someone you don’t really want to get to know.

Share Button
7:48 pm

Two minute warning.


Taco Bell ad with old people. I know this is supposed to be clever, but it makes me wince.
Running shoes ad with cheetah. Well, at least we got to see a cheetah.

Share Button
7:50 pm

Ravens up 21-3. Niners a second half team, but this is getting ridiculous.


Lincoln ad is too typical for a car ad, even with the jazz drummer.

Share Button
7:51 pm

Halftime is nearing. Remember, during the AFC Championship, it was the first ad after the first half ended when Scientology ran a 30-second version of its “Knowledge” ad, at least here in New York.

Share Button
7:53 pm

Kaepernick seems to be risking an interception with almost every pass. Not good.

Share Button
8:01 pm

HALFTIME, Ravens 21, Niners 6


Four CBS promos, during which several tens of millions headed for the bathroom.
Ford Fusion. Saw this one already. Zzzz.


Share Button
8:02 pm

The great thing is, the Scientology ad as immediately followed by a loopy woman who could have been the perfect example of a deluded church member. Nice placement!

Share Button
8:03 pm

So who saw the ad and in which parts of the country?

Share Button
8:08 pm

The Twitter reactions to the Scientology ad are BRUTAL.

Share Button
8:25 pm

Oprah pandering to the armed forces: Soldiers deserve better. Don’t treat them like a disease that needs commiseration.

Share Button
8:26 pm

Sorry, CBS, I’m still not going to watch your sitcom. But thanks for the Garrett Morris cameo.

Share Button
8:32 pm

This is like the Super Bowls of my youth. Blowout after blowout.

Share Button
8:37 pm

Power outage! Ha ha ha. Where are OT VIIIs when you need them?

Share Button
8:40 pm


Iron Man 3 — cool look.
Century 21. Eh.
Blackberry — very weak use of special effects

Share Button
8:41 pm

Let’s play the second half next week!

Share Button
8:57 pm

Oh no, DOWNTON ABBEY. We may have to start switching back and forth.

Share Button
9:04 pm

Oh, everyone’s mourning for Sybil. What’s Tom going to do?

Share Button
9:09 pm

Cora, Cora, that was a low blow.

Share Button
9:18 pm

Kaepernick runs for first down!

Mrs. Patson carps about cooking!

Share Button
9:26 pm

Niners score crucial touchdown.

Meanwhile, downstairs flirting is reaching unbearable levels.

Share Button
9:30 pm

SF defense finally showing up.

Dr. Clarkson, meanwhile, is being put on the spot.

Share Button
9:33 pm

WE HAVE A GAME. The Niners score again.

Things in prison for Mr. Bates are still grim.

Share Button
9:38 pm

Robert, Robert, you out-of-date lovable bastard.

Share Button
9:40 pm

Oh, Carson. That was uncalled for.

Share Button
9:43 pm

Niners miss a field goal. Will that deflate their comeback?

Meanwhile, Biblical parables around the table downstairs at Downton.

Share Button
9:48 pm

Both the Niners and Mr. Bates are holding on to a glimmer of hope…

Share Button
9:51 pm

The Daily Mail UK has provided a link here in a story about the Scientology ad. We’re grateful for that, but we want to clarify that the ad which aired during the Super Bowl was a 30-second spot.

There is a 1-minute version of the “Knowledge” ad online, but for the sky-high rates during the AFC Championship and Super Bowl, the church ran the shorter versions, which makes sense.

Share Button
9:53 pm

Dr. Clarkson does the noble thing. But tough for him, no doubt.

Share Button
9:54 pm

We’re into the fourth quarter, and the Ravens are trying to drive a stake into the Niners’ chances.

Share Button
9:55 pm

The Business Insider is reporting that Scientology paid about 3.8 million for the ad.

Share Button
9:59 pm

Ravens score, now lead 31-23.


Paul Harvey on farmers. Just don’t Google Harvey’s past.

Share Button
10:01 pm

Daily Mail is also wrong about cost. If it had been a national ad, would have been more than 7 million. But it only ran in certain markets, and Business Insider says they paid about 3.8 million.

Share Button
10:04 pm

Wow. Niners are really something. Will they go for two to tie it up?

Share Button
10:15 pm

Niners want to check the replay.


Tide ad. Annoying.
Soda Stream. At least it has a point to make.

Share Button
10:22 pm

Let’s look at this again. National ads are running about 3.8 million for 30 seconds. But the Scientology ad was not nationwide, so the 7.6 million (for 1 minute) and 3.8 million for 30 seconds are both too high. We’re guessing they spent less. Not sure how much, though.

Share Button
10:31 pm

Two-minute warning.

Samsung. Might have been better with a script.

Share Button
10:35 pm

Oh, that might be it. The Niners couldn’t get in from only about 5 yards out.

Share Button
10:48 pm

Well, the Ravens win. But thanks to the Niners for making it a game.

Also, to recap: right where we expected it, the Church of Scientology ran a 30-second version of its “Knowledge” ad after the end of the first half. It showed up in NY and LA and SF and perhaps some other markets. National ads were running about 3.8 million for a 30-second spot, but we wonder if they paid less than that because it was in limited markets.

We thank the numerous news organizations that linked to us in regards to the ad. We did know it was coming, and we had already commented on its weak message. As L. Ron Hubbard said, it’s best to sell Scientology like a “mystery sandwich” and not give any indication of what it’s really like. For that — what the church is really up to — there is this blog and its excellent commenter community, which is made up of so many former members.

Oh, and Joe Flacco just said “Fucking awesome” on national TV. And that is fucking awesome.

Thank you and good night!

Share Button


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 3, 2013 at 07:00


Share Button