Thursday, 25 September 2008

It's nice to get linked to, but it does have its downside

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One of the great things about the internet is that when you write something you can get linked to and referenced all over the web, meaning your work reaches people beyond your core audience. For example, if I get a feature in our magazine, the fact that it's also published on our website means it can end up being read by lots of other people in addition to the subscribers to New Humanist.

As I say, great. But naturally, from time to time you get taken completely out of context, and your words get used for the opposite purpose to that you intended. Take my article in the current issue, in which I tried to give a picture of what the masked anti-Scientology protesters Anonymous are all about. I attended one of their London protests with fellow New Humanist contributor Christina Martin, and we bumped into one demonstrator wearing a pantomime bear suit. Here's how I reported this in my article:
"One of the first protesters I approached, a young man dressed in a pantomime bear outfit, had a straightforward answer for why he was there. 'It’s just a really good way to spend a weekend. To be honest with you, it’s just a really good laugh.'"
All seems fair enough doesn't it? He was wearing a bear suit, protesting Scientology, but he wasn't really serious about it. But, put this in the hands of anti-Anonymous blogger Tom Newton, and this is what you get:
"[Paul Sims] describes the early part of the hate demonstration, where he unwittingly discovered Anonymous' unofficial mascot PEDOBEAR ... The bear costume is none other than PEDOBEAR, a PEDOCULTURAL ICON which makes light of child molestation (the bear suit is supposed to make a heinous act of criminal sexual penetration into a 'joke'). As the boy dressed as a PEDOPHILE EXPLAINED: 'It’s just a really good way to spend a weekend. To be honest with you, it’s just a really good laugh.' A 17 year old boy dressed up as a PEDOCULTURAL ICON is a 'good laugh'? I disagree. In fact, I find PEDOBEAR and SIMULATED CHILD PORN to be disgusting. Any expert on child predators will tell you that anyone claiming this is 'satire' is giving you a weak rationalization. The manner in which they defend their sick materials suggests as much. It makes sense; nobody wants to admit to being totally sick and depraved."
Well, that's not what Christina and I saw at the protest and, while I'd like to thank Mr Newton for taking the time to link to my work, I'm afraid I have to point out that there was no reference to paedophilia in the time we spent talking to the person in the bear suit. Most people at these protests wear disguises, because they say they don't want the Church of Scientology knowing their identities, and while most wear V for Vendetta masks, some wear other disguises, such as bear costumes.

Anonymous does have something of a life of its own online, and admittedly Pedobear is one of their running gags (their hackers have actually targeted paedophiles in the past), but there was no indication the person we met was dressed as a "pedocultural icon" (as great a term as that is Mr Newton), that he was "totally sick and depraved", or for that matter that he was 17 years old. Oh, and there was definitely no "simulated child porn", and he certainly wasn't making "a heinous act of criminal sexual penetration into a 'joke'". So, once again, thanks for the reference, but next time quote me in context.

Like I say, the internet's great isn't it?


christina martin said...

There aint no weirdo like an internet weirdo!
Seriously though, I fully concur. The guy in the bear suit was just having fun and giving out free hugs.
I would also add that Anonymous are not the 'hate' group this guy makes out.
They are, on the whole, a bunch of passionate young people who don't do anyone harm. Whereas the Church of Scientology?...
Well, I'll say no more.

The Glow said...

Hope you don't mind. : )

Tom Newton said...

This is Tom Newton.

Unless you have seen this: , then you have no reason to Support PEDOPHILE BEAR, Anonymous' mascot.

Tom Newton

Psychodiva said...

hat a complete and utter idiot you are Tom Newton :)

Crystalfrost Jones said...

Anonymous is a terrorist organization. They are bigots and criminals. Nuff said.

Dave2 said...

Crystalfrost Jones has sex with dogs! Nuff said!

Oh wait, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you had to substantiate false and scurrilous charges in your blog comments. My bad.