Friday, 16 January 2009

Taking things a bit far?

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Last year I wrote (and made a podcast) about the anti-Scientology movement Anonymous. There were quite a few silly things going on at the protest I attended in London, but nothing to rival what one young man, who can only be fairly described as an idiot, has just done in a "raid" on a Scientology centre in New York. Basically, he smeared himself in vaseline, then covered his body with pubic hair clippings and finger nail cuttings (if you follow the previous link you can watch a video, if you really want). Then he barged his way into a Scientology centre, then got arrested.

The future of direct action? Pretty unlikely I'd say. In my article on Anonymous I argued that, despite the surreal, light-hearted nature of their protests, many of the participants seemed serious and informed in their opposition to Scientology. However, had I met someone covered in the pubic hair of several people, my conclusion may have been slightly different.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


I presume it was his own pubic hair.

scottmaciver said...

y'know....what ever floats his boat.

why did he gt arrested? is it illegal to be very hairy?

Paul Sims said...

Sorry, forgot to put the link to the original story in before. It says he was arrested for "burglary, criminal mischief and aggravated harassment as a hate crime".

And if you follow the link I've now added, you'll see there's a video. That is, if you really want to see a man covered in pubes.

PersonalFailure said...

It's a hate crime to cover oneself in vaseline and pubic hair? Against good taste, perhaps, but if I were on the jury, I'd be too busy laughing to convict anyone.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Its premeditated, he would have had to shave and save that public hair for months.

Anonymous said...

(Note to readers: it's worth watching the version with the ballad soundtrack; whilst clearly insane and so, so wrong it's almost Pythonesque).

But paraphrasing: The protests are surreal and light-hearted, but many participants seem serious and informed.

This would imply that you originally assumed that a fair number of participants were not serious and informed. And indeed, here we have a young idiot who is, in all fairness, clearly not particularly serious, and if he thought that this was going to be effective, clearly not particularly well-informed either.

So... what changed? You knew that, right?!

Anonymous are not Greenpeace - there's no membership card and no particular driving force. They're just a bunch of individuals doing their own thing, which in aggregate occasionally looks like a movement. Taken individually, though (much like individual protesters from any other movement, although other movements at least get to kick protesters out for being too embarrassing) people sometimes do monumentally stupid things, and then that individual gets arrested and everybody else has a damn good laugh at his/her expense. This phenomenon is hardly special to Anonymous, although to be fair Anonymous do exhibit it more visibly than many other groups simply because there is no chain of command and no membership card and therefore no control over individuals' actions.

But if you will excuse me for saying so:
so what? Are you really saying that you would dismiss the hard work of a set of thoughtful, dedicated and generally amusing protesters because some guy in New York coated himself in vaseline and pubic hair and composed a ballad about his adventures?

If so, then ... well... firstly, you'd be best off avoiding New York for the rest of your life, because that hardly scores a 3/10 on the bizarre-o-meter over there.

And secondly, on a purely personal level, that attitude makes me reconsider my opinion of Humanist organisations. I always thought Humanism and rational thought went hand in hand - but on consideration, I am dismayed to see that we are just as prone to simplistic generalisation as everybody else. :P

Kevin Murphy said...

If he'd barged into the Scientology centre NOT covered in pubes, would anyone have ever heard about it?

statistical frend said...

It s interesting to see rections
on the nasty peyorativ pictures
even new humanist cannot tolerate
we just a human

more funny videos

to recognize I mean
something real
or creative