I was all sorts of excited when, over a year ago, I heard someone say, “…Paul Thomas Anderson film based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard that takes place on a yacht…”
This past weekend, I witnessed the culmination of that idea when I saw The Master.
The Master has nothing to do with baseball, really. Baseball is never mentioned in the film; there’s nary a glimpse of a baseball bat or glove in any of the scenes, so far as I can remember. But, as I was trying to make sense of the film, I noticed some connections between Lancaster Dodd (the character based on L. Ron Hubbard, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Kansas City Royals General Manager, Dayton Moore. To wit:
They both are committed to an obscure idea — for Moore it’s the Process, for Dodd it’s the Cause — that cannot be explained by logic, and that require blind acceptance from their faithful. (Coincidentally, “processing” is what the Cause offers to prospective members.)
The Cause/Process, in turn, lead their respective creators to remain in cahoots with people who otherwise would seem to be detrimental to the success of the Cause/Process. For Dodd’s part, he can’t quit Freddy Quell (played by Joaquin Phoenix); for Moore, it’s Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeff Francoeur.
When questioned about the Process, Moore has said, more or less, Give us eight to ten years. When questioned about inconsistencies between the two books of the Cause’s definitive texts, Dodd responds, That’s just the new method.
Furthermore, at some point, both Dodd and Moore probably realized that their Plan/Cause kinda sucks — or at least that it wasn’t as cool as they had hoped it would be — but that it’s making them some money, and that it’s really too late to admit that they were making the whole thing up from the beginning anyway.
This shit was inspired by a g-chat with Kyle Davis, though he probably didn’t know it.