As Gawker head Nick Denton notes, the crazy nine-minute video of Tom Cruise preaching about Scientology has been floating around the electronic tubes for a few days now, popping up on YouTube, Google Video and other sharing sites, and then on blogs linking to those sites, for a few hours at a time before it gets pulled down at the request of the Church of Scientology.
The video -- which seems like some sort of Scientology pitch film, in which Cruise describes the advantages of KSW ("Keeping Scientology Working") and the dangers of SPs and PTSs (suppressive persons and potential trouble sources) -- is copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. (I've put in a request with the Church to ask about why they're pulling it down.)
Nobody knows where it came from, or why it's popped up online now, at the same time that Andrew Morton's salacious unauthorized biography of Cruise -- which the Church has criticized -- is being published.
What is clear, though, is that the Church, which is famous for its litigiousness, will have little success in keeping it off the Web. Denton captured a copy from YouTube and is keeping it up at Gawker. The video is "newsworthy," he says, "and we will not be removing it."
The Church of Scientology has had a long, tangled relationship with the Internet -- there is actually a Wikipedia article called Scientology versus the Internet, a quite long and detailed one that goes down the many problems that the Church has had with the digital world.
The disputes mainly involve the unauthorized distribution of the Church's intellectual property, which makes the fight not really very different from the battle that other forces in the entertainment industry have waged against the Web.
And in the same way that the record labels are losing their war against the Internet, so too is Scientology. This video's out there, and it's going to stay out there.
Here's one version posted now on YouTube -- if it stops working in a while, don't fret, you'll find it elsewhere.
BTW, I like the spot (about 1 minute in) where he says, "Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it's not like anyone else. You drive past, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one that can really help."
Wait, so Scientologists are EMTs, too?