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Wednesday, 07 June, 2006

Banjos And Scientology
(with comments)

At The Parvenu Slips: Deering God, it's L. Ron!

She bought a Deering banjo and sent in her warranty card to get the user manual. Six months later, the user manual arrived, along with something else:

But ho, what's this? A pamphlet entitled "The Way To Happiness". Being that the banjo is definitely, well, kind of a cracker instrument (seen so these days, at least), I assumed they'd thoughtfully sent along a pentacostal tract or something for my salvation. Flipping through, however, I didn't see references to 'our lord', or 'Jesus' or nothin like that.

But every page had footnotes with definitions of words on that page, like 'pilloried' -wha? There were also scary photos of grinning people ca. 1980, and the subheads were all in a different verb tense and construction which confused me.

Then I flipped the booklet over, and right there on the back -- copyright L. Ron Hubbard. I instinctively reacted as though I'd found a maggot on my hand, e.g., shriek and fling offending object to far corner of room. And I'm not sure I look at my Deering banjo the same way now.

A bit of Googling found these:

I was most offended that Deering included cult literature from the Church of Scientology in the package. When I wrote Deering to suggest they keep their religious views out of the banjo business, they sent me more literature! My advice would be to take your business elsewhere and enjoy a better value.

When I remember to do so, I tell my customers to expect the Scientology literature from Deering. I had two customers who were surprised to recieve it and who genuinely cared...one was mildly annoyed, the other (who had not purchased his Deering from me, BTW) was absolutely furious with them, and swore that he would not only never buy another of their banjos, but that he would tell everyone he knew to eschew them.

The entire Banjo Hangout thread is pretty interesting. Even Janet Deering drops by to defend her cult. She says:

If this means that you won't buy my banjos because I study and appreciate Scientology. So be it.

If I had known Deering was pushing Scientology, I would have had second thoughts about buying one of their Old Tyme Wonder banjos. She's certainly free to join any cult or religion she likes, but if she wants to promote her cult via her business, she should be more upfront about it. How about putting a big ole Scientology banner on the Deering home page, Janet?

Permalink | Posted in Banjo |
  1. By another larry. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @10:09am:
    I remember the first Honda car I bought came with a small plastic jc and a cross in the glove box. The dealer had those little anchovies all over the place, I should have guess it. Funny, he being a chrispian and all didn't seem to matter when selling cars, lied just as much as any other dealer.
  2. By nisucy. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @11:41am:
    Two recent themes of the J-Walk blog have finally intersected--Banjos and Religious Fundamentalism. Today must be a special day for you John.
  3. By MikeK. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @11:56am:
    I say, if you want to promote Scientology, do it the old-fashioned way - go on Oprah and jump on the furniture.
  4. By 12-stringer. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @12:08pm:
    I've searched high and low, on eMusic, Amazon, CDBaby, and dozens of others, and Googled far and wide, but with no luck. Anybody know where I can get a copy of the Tom Cruise Banjo Album? It's a surprise gift, for a friend.
  5. By J-Walk. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @12:53pm:
    I've got a copy of that album, 12. I'll burn a copy for you and you can give it to your friend.
  6. By Jug. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @12:54pm:
    I own two of 'em -Deering Banjos, that is. This is about all the motivation I need to buff the names off the headstock!!!
  7. By major_danny. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @01:18pm:
    There is a brand of frozen desserts that apparantly is Christian-owned. Several years ago, I bought one of their chocolate pies and the aluminium tin was embossed with "those who shall not work, will not eat"

    I was unemployed at the time (not on public assistance, though). I felt both ashamed and angry. I haven't bought that brand since.
  8. By 12-stringer. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @01:21pm:
    Crud - I shoulda knowed you would.

    Next time you walk past a mirror, hand yourself that CD and wish yourself an early Happy Father's Day...
  9. By another larry. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @02:17pm:
    OK 12-stringer & J-Walk!
    If you burn me one I'll trade you a burn of #2, it's got Tom Cruise Banjo with Oprah singing ballads.
  10. By major_danny. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @03:15pm:
    Oprah doesn't sing, she has people for that.
    Mostly they sing "Oh Oprah, you're wonderful!"
  11. By another larry. Comment posted 07-Jun-2006 @03:39pm:
    Maybe it's Katie with makeup major_danny?
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