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Pendennis: Sect's Appeal

The Observer Review, 26 January 1997; page 20.

by Tom Hibbert

Pendennis has but one question: who, pary is the Most Evil Man In The World? Is it Pol Pot, Cambodian (or 'Kampuchean' as we are forced to say these days by BBC newscasters who will decapitate us and stick us on twigs if we disagree with the revised rules of pronunciation) Khmer Rouge raver who is probably dead and, as a consequence, doesn't qualify for the title anyway? Is it my old chum, whose recent revelation that his favourite hobby is despoiling Scotch beggars in the King's Cross area has sullied his reputation as a grinning-yet-awfully-nice-buffoon? It is, perchance, hoary Tory Tony 'The Fish' Baldry, my old school 'mate', convicted serial apple core murderer? No, it is none of these. It gives me no pleasure to relate that the Most Evil Man In The World is closer to home than one can imagine. The Most Evil Man In The World is none other than... dadada (spooky fanfare)... an Observer columnist. No, it's not Pendennis, it is... dum-dumdum (extremely spooky fanfare)... Richard Ingrams. I have not alerted Mr Ingrams to what follows because if I did he, as the Most Evil Man In The World, might get in a frightful bate and kill everybody with his church organ.

What follows is this. Last week Ingrams was less than complimentary about the Scientology so-called 'movement' and L Ron Hubbard (inventor of the sect and dreary novelist). What happened next was my friend (in this case friend = real friend and not 'friend' = pathetic figure of fun in the usual Pendennis manner) William Shaw, sometime Observer journalist and peeker into the goings-on among loony religious cults, was presented, via the telephonic device, with a fax from mad headquarters. It is not enough, it appears, that everyone in Hollywood from Tom 'I-was-in-Top-Gun-and-Rain-Man-and-consequently-able-to-be-a-not-very -good-film-star" and Gore "I'm-very-erudite-but-that-did-not-stop-me-from -writing-some-of-the-script-of-the-creaky-old-film-Spartacus-(particularly -the-'homo-erotic'-bits) Vidal has decried Germany for not liking Scientology very much ("Nazis!" went their letter to the republic the other day). No, Ingrams-swaggering menace 'gainst all things fair- must be put to the sword, too. That fax in (almost) full:

'Dear Sir,
Handling is needed on an article in the Observer that ran today. This is a mention in the column of Richard Ingrams. It is venomous regarding LRH (L Ron Hubbard). Ingrams is an eccentric, almost 60-year-old columnist at the Observer who also has his own magazine called Oldie. Ingrams was the founding editor of the UK's most critical rag, The Private Eye. Ingrams has a much publicized divorce history with his ex-wife Mary (an Irish (sic and sic again), who bore his three children)... Ingrams, in an interview, admits to be gay (oh, no, the curse of Pendennis strikes again -the fax-filling fool can only be referring to a piece of paper I wrote years ago in which Ingrams said 'I am a homosexual' for comedic effect) but then has a love affair with a 20 years his junior woman at his Berkshire house.

1. Indepth (sic) public records search done on Ingrams.
2. Find, investigate and document scandals Ingrams is for sure part of.
3. Suitably interview Ingrams' foe on Ingrams' view of religion in general.
4. Get a letter written for printing in next week's Observer, attacking Ingrams' blatant exploitation of the law that you can't defame a deceased person. (Er, what law, exactly, is that? Winston Churchill was Goebbels' lover. Ron Hubbard ate fluffy bunnykins rabbits for hia tea. So SUE me!) Fill the vacuum with some positive data.
This is OK.'

Said fax comes all the way from America. Boycott all John Travolta (another Scientologist) 'movies' forthwith. You know it makes sense.

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