Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Ides of March have past...

...and once again, Anonymous has pulled off world-wide peaceful protests against the the hierarchy of the "church" of Scientology. I say the "hierarchy", because they are not protesting against "belief" (even though they still toss out Xenu as a laugh, or "for the lulz"). But for the most part, they have researched, done their homework, and are concentrating on the actions of the "church".

When "all this" started in January, the group Anonymous, pissed off at the fact that the "church" bullied web sites to take down the now infamous Tom Cruise "Go To Guns" video, decided that they would take action. Being the computer and Internet cagey folks that they are, started off with DDOS attacks, shutting down the Scientology website. Posting ominous videos on YouTube touting how Anonymous was going to dismantle the "church" of Scientology.

Until a long-time critic, Mark Bunker, posted his own video on YouTube, explaining to Anonymous that there was another way, a legal way, to take on the "church". To get on-line and really research who and what they were going after.

And they listened, learned, and adapted. And became what they are today.

What amazes me (not in a condescending way, but in a awe-inspiring way) was that a bridge was forged between generations...critics of decades-past, reaching out to the Chan-generation of strange memes and irreverent flavor. Showing them that they could be more.

Either side could have took a different course. The Old Guard could have just gave the younger set a toss, assuming the lot of them just saw this as a passing phase until the next sound-bite turned their heads. Anonymous could have told Mark, et al, to STFU and continue on their direction of lulzing at the green alien, and forgetting about the man behind the curtain.

But, no. Something extraordinary happened, and in the course of a month, the result was February 1oth. Oh, there still was looooooooooooong cats and Rick Rolling and other memes, but here was a nebulous group who stood at orgs and missions across the world and directed the worlds' attention to abuses, forced disconnections, child labor issues, a company in the guise of a "church" that hides behind tax exemptions so they don't need to be "up front" to where all the money goes. Or be up front with anything they do, becasue, they claim, they are a "church".

Who knows how many more months will go by where Anonymous makes its presence known. Even if the Ides of March was the last protest (which I highly doubt), something happened, and it was big.

A group of people stopped. And listened. And changed. Altered course. Now wouldn't it be wonderful if the people on the other side of the protest line could do the same?

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