Thursday, January 1, 2009

Littles Brothers Are Watching You

In a rather interesting article, called "The Orwellian power of anonymity", the Canadian National Post makes a parallel between Anonymous, or rather the phenomenon of anonymity on the Internet, and the Big Brother concept popularized by Georges Orwell's book "1984".

It claims that, in spite of the myth of us living in a Big Brother surveillance society, the Internet makes it increasingly easy to be anonymous, and as anonymous, influence major world events.

He uses the the Anonymous vs. Scientology phenomenon as one of three examples:
What is remarkable is not that the Internet makes it possible to obscure your identity, but that online anonymity is now seeping into the off-line world. [...]

Despite the lack of a leadership structure, membership list or other organizational accoutrements, Anonymous -- which draws its name from the pseudonym used by most 4chan members -- quickly established a Web site and plan of attack.
I agree that this is a most remarkable phenomenon, as exemplified by the thousands of masked protesters suddenly popping up out of nowhere to protest the CoS in Feb. and Mar.

However, the article also points to what is the weakness of the movement, and something I have been hamering down since the start:
"It used to have to be verifiable facts. It seems to me as I read things now that anonymous sourcing is a way to disguise gossip," Mr. Alboim said, adding later, "People seem free in the age of all-news television to go on the air and report whatever it is they heard in the last 15 minutes."
And that's precisely my beef with them.

In spite of them chanting "Dox or STFU" and claiming that they "keep on researching Scientology every day and get more informed about it", they still have not encompassed the wealth of scholarly researches into Scientology, they still go around displaying grotesques "Scientology Kills"signs, they still peddle a typical and outdated anti-cult approach.

As I wrote already, the day I'll see Anonymous protest the ugly German discrimination with the same enthusiasm they protest the CoS abuses, I may start to believe they made some headways from classical OG (mis)representations. To this day, I have not seen that, quite on the contrary.

As for the masses who protested the "free speech abuses" of a copyrighted, leaked, out of context, video being put down the Internet, they are just as misguided and superficial.

In other words, the Anonymous movement is certainly striking. Ideas are original and inventive, the masks, the lulz, the caek... it's great! But, you know what? It also is terribly shalow.

They may be able to spread memes around cyberspace in lighting speed, but it never seems to raise above the LOLCat level.

1 comment:

Only Love Can Do That said...

You may be right about the shallowness of the Anonymous meme-complex, but I think you're wrong to identify that meme-complex as Scientology's current enemy. Their enemy is simply all of the people who are prepared to work against them, which is many and more every day. Anonymous as understood by the chans is simply an archetype and a modus operandi, and provided a vessel for a particular element of this accumulated resentment at a particular point in history.

I am not writing to you as Anonymous. Hello, I am OnlyLoveCanDoThat. I am part of another large contingent of the current Marcab Invader Force: I am Pseudonymous. Anyone who wishes to may be one (or several!) of the members of Pseudonymous. We are LEGION! (Another Pseudonymous: "Yes! We are!")

There are many levels to what's going on. It is indeed deepening over time. We have no message discipline, so don't take anyone's word for it. This story will continue to unfold.