In a mind-boggling videotaped interview, a Mr. Steven Fishman claims to be the genetic father of Jesus Christ, because in a past life he apparently masturbated into a river where the Virgin Mary happened to be skinny-dipping.
No, I’m not kidding. The crazy part is, neither is Steven Fishman. He really, really seems to believe what he says. That’s just one of the reasons that Steven Fishman: The Interview (filmed some time around 1993, I believe) is one of the craziest things you’ll ever see, even though it’s technically just a guy sitting on a couch, talking about his beliefs for three-and-a-half hours.
Fishman, a former Scientologist, was really into the Church of Scientology (CoS) at the time of the interview. He sits amid thousands of dollars worth of L. Ron Hubbard books and E-readers, happily describing to his interviewers the illegal lengths he went to in order to afford the massive collection. (Being a Scientologist is notoriously expensive.) What’s an E-reader, you ask? According to Fishman, it is not a lie detector, and does not operate on the electrical conductivity of a liar’s sweaty palms (even though it is, and it does). Nope, this little baby apparently knows the truth about your statements because it’s tuned in to your Thetan — the true immortal spirit trapped in your puny Earth-body. So there.
Over the course of the infamous seven-part interview (available on Google Video as “Scientology: Steven Fishman Deposition” and on YouTube as “Brainwashed Man Explains Scientology”) we get to hear the most jaw-dropping, sci-fi-flavoured religious diatribe you’re ever likely to encounter. Fishman happily drops all kinds of revelatory bombshells about the church, fully aware that he’s making himself an enemy of his own organization by doing so. Y’see, Scientologists like to keep quiet about their beliefs, so they don’t scare off the wogs. (Wog = wise oriental gentleman; an insulting term referring to non-Scientologists. Fishman explains this and other terms over the course of the interview.)
The Fishman interview is the sort of thing you glance at while you’re surfing the Internet, maybe letting it play in the background for a while during a game of minesweeper. Then you get more and more fascinated, as all of the concentrated crazy starts to get under your skin. You’ll find yourself saying “just one more chapter,” and clicking on the next segment, just to see where all this nuttiness is going. And brother, do things get dark when you least expect it.
The whole “father of Christ” thing stirred up a lot of excitement in the CoS, and some controversy as well. Fishman figured he could go public with his revelation, and use his e-meter readings to convince the world of the truth of his claims, thus immediately converting all the Christians into Scientologists overnight. (An overly optimistic hope? Some would say yes.) The Church saw things differently, and told him to keep his mouth shut, lest he embarrass them. Then, according to Fishman, they ordered Fishman to kill himself. They even started mailing him suicide kits.
Yes. Freaking suicide kits. We see Fishman cheerfully present an unopened package, which he intends to bring to his next court appearance. Holy shit.
So, is this interview for real? Whether it is or not, it makes for absolutely fascinating viewing. Steven Fishman’s interview and subsequent legal battles with his former church were instrumental in bringing some of the organization’s wackier beliefs and practices into the public eye. If you know nothing at all about Scientology, watching this video will make you insatiably curious on the subject, and there’s a lot more to learn after that. Start with the Fishman video, and then Google the word “Xenu,” and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Or, if you’re pressed for time, just watch that one episode of South Park where they tell the whole Xenu story in two minutes. That’s pretty amazing, too.