Prank memes and protests

Nobody could blame you if you weren’t aware of Anonymous’ War on Scientology. While interesting, it’s a little obscure, which sadly somewhat interferes with their mission.

The short version: The Church of Scientology has a long history of wielding lawsuits against former members and critical outsiders, usually copyright and trade secret claims. Whether it’s reasonable for a religion to have trade secrets is a subject of a lot of discussion. Places like, the home of Operation Clambake, have a lot of backstory on the CoS’s beliefs and behaviors and goes a long way towards explaining why some people have a problem with the CoS.

When the CoS exerted a lot of effort recently to suppress a video of famous Scientologist Tom Cruise being, well… odd, even for Tom Cruise, it apparently kicked off an internet phenomenon. Anonymous declared war on the CoS, which up until Saturday was primarily online shenanigans of the hacker variety. There’s a collection of information trying to make sense of it over here.

Saturday was the first live event revolving around this phenomenon, with hundreds of people showing up at Scientology centers all over the world. There’s a collection of videos and citations of them over here, which included the following one at the CoS center off Dupont Circle. Don’t bother looking for coverage of it in WaPo.

If you’re wondering “why would anyone play that horrific song,” well, it’s because apparently the kind of people interested in Anonymous’ war on Scientology also think the Rickroll meme is funny. Which it kinda is, in the same way as the old joke “how do you keep a moron in suspense?” is funny. However since the whole point is to get someone to subject themselves to it by telling them it’s something else, it doesn’t make a lot of sense in this context. Here it just makes passers-by wonder “if their taste in music is that bad then maybe Scientology is okay.”

On the other hand, I think more protests should involve dancing, even if it’s to crap 80s songs.

3 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on February 11th, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

    The thing about the Scientologists, other than they are crazy, is that I have yet to see evidence that they are really harful, robbing the public coffers or doing anything else that is illegal. Should we be against them because they believe nutty things? Look at what our mainstream religions believe – stuff that can’t be backed up with proof or evidence other than what is written in one book or another.

    I don’t mean to say the Scientology is as valid, at least to me, as major religions, but all religions should have freedom of speech. Likewise, they shouldn’t be jackasses and sue people for opening their mouths. Shut them down? No. Tell them they are butt monkeys? absolutely.

    One good thing about Scientology – at least they aren’t as nutty as the Time Cube guy.

  2. Tiff (unregistered) on February 11th, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

    The problem with Scientology isn’t that it’s weird, Carl- of course it’s weird, but to an outsider so are most religions (including mine), so whatever floats your boat. But they DO have an undisputed track record of harassment of people who leave the church, people who criticize their practices, etc. They don’t get to claim protection under the First Amendment and then try to use the court system to shut up their detractors.

    In any case, it’s certainly fair for a bunch of people to gather outside CoS buildings to criticize their practices, just as it’s fair to criticize any religious institution’s practices.

  3. Don (unregistered) on February 12th, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

    The whole reason the ‘raid’ was scheduled on the 10th was a direct tribute/reference to a CoS fatality, Carl, so there’s some basis for concern about them. Some of their actions include things like operation snow white and operation freakout. I think acting to try to get a person committed because you don’t like what they say about you is a pretty decent basis to question an organization’s legitimacy…

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