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Hard sell

Title: Hard sell
Date: Friday, 25 November 1988
Publisher: L.A. Weekly (California)
Author: Ruben Martinez
Main source: link (80 KiB)

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Usted ana de esas personas interesadas en conocer mas acerca de si mismo? (Are you one of those people interested in knowing more about yourself?)

That's the nice, clean, formal Spanish that begins, innocently enough, a four-page text (pink with black ink) stuffed between the news and sports sections of a recent issue of La Opinion. Such inserts are not uncommon — they're great marketing ploys.

What with everyone jumping on the hot "Hispanic" market these days, we suppose no one should be surprised to see businesses of all types competing for that newfound peso. So Catholic Church, beware! Besides a myriad of evangelical factions tambourining their way into the sacred side of Latino life, here comes — uniforms, blank stares, strange vocabulary and all — the Church of Scientology.

Tenga mas exito! Mejore sus relaciones con otros! Adquiera mayor confianza! (More success! Better relationships! Gain confidence in yourself!)

Try though we did, we couldn't get a comment from Scientology officials before press time (although one recruiter tried a hard-sell on one of our interns: "Come on by. When can you make it? It's better for you to come by in person. How about this afternoon? Why not?"). But what could the good ol' Church have told us, anyway? More than 10 million copies of Dianetica sold in Latin America? New satellite offices in Boyle Heights? Alas, it appears that El maestro Hubbard — channeling his instructions in from above, below, or wherever he is — don't discriminate no more.