Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wise Beard Man to Anonymous. Version 2.

New York - Wise Beard Man to Anonymous: Don't be a Dope - Runnin' Scared - Village Voice

Excellent start in Mark Bunker's message, less so from the point down when he starts to talk about Jeff Stone.

On the other hand, excellent remarks from the Village voice journalist.

I would like to print in full Mark's introduction, because that's the Mark I really do like. After that I'll make a quick comment on the points I disagree with, ending up with the Village Voice journalist's comment.

"BUNKER: In any group of people there are dopes. A nebulous group of anonymous people on the net might possibly have a slightly higher percentage of dopes -- but then maybe not quite as many as were in the Bush Administration.

I look around at work or at an event and try to spot the dopes. Quite often it turns out to be me. We humans are prone to doing some dopey things. I'd have to say covering yourself with Vaseline and pubes would be dopiness on an epic scale and it just makes you shake your head and wonder, "Why?"

But, look, not everyone is going to get it. And not everyone in Anonymous is on the same page. In fact, there are factions within Anonymous. Most of the people taking to the streets and speaking out against Scientology fraud and abuse understand there is a serious reason to take action. Others in Anonymous call us Moralfags. You can't please everyone.

But the unfortunate thing about a nebulous mass of people under one umbrella is if one person does something bad, stupid or illegal that can be used to tar everyone else. The great strength of anonymity and numbers can just as easily be a weakness.

In my first video to Anonymous, I suggested they act within the law and take this seriously because Scientology damn well takes it seriously and they will do everything they can to take down each person they can identify. Pubes Kid thought he was pulling a prank (a damn lousy one) but it got him in serious trouble."

Then Mark starts to speak about the Riverside County Ordinance Farce. He claims that the material that has been used to discredit Anonymous does not represent the moralfags. This is to forget that even up to this day the WhyWeBWAAAAA forum still has the Thunderdome, and that without it, the whole forum would crash, as we have seen back in June 2008. You can't just claim Anonymous 2.0 is different than the original anonymous, while still using its name and symbols. I also disagree with the assertion that the original anonymous who protested Scientology a year ago and who continue to protest have moved on (in the sense that they became serious critics). They continue to display an incredible shallowness and I do have to agree with the original Anonymous that they have become moralfags under the thumb of the old guard. The fault, IMO, is not on the original Anonymous, as this whole approach tries to portray. The fault is on the protesters who continue to identify with Anonymous when in fact they now pretend to be something else, and continue to use slogans against Scientology that most of those who know a little more than the mob about the issue will just laugh at. If the moralfags want to move on, they should really move on, and this means move on from the old guard basis and mentality. As it is, they are no more than just a copycat of the old guard disguised as Anonymous, and then complain when people actually dare to compare them to the original Anonymous.

Nor is the reason why Anonyous (the original one) use shoking pictures. It is not out of pleasure to shock and attract attention. It simply is out of an urge to question any stereotype. I don't think Mark really understands the original Anonymous. The moralfags have become the anti-thesis or Anonymous itself, while still parading as such. I am not surprised that factions in Anonymous now try to take down the moralfags forums and engage in other attacks and pranks against them. Check out the message I reported on my blog entry about the original message to Anonymous being put down from YT. I think it really reflects that faction.

Mark should really have enticed Anonymous 2.0 to move on from their old guard dependency, and find a way to go beyond what they themselves did as old guard, without this being pubes prank in a desperate attempt to get attention. But he can't, because he is an old guard himself, and seems to be trapped in his own limits. As much as I like Mark as a person and I appreciate the kind of moderate statements he is able to come up with at times, like the one on Jett Travolta, he himself is prisoner of his own limits, beyond which he seems unable, so far, to move. It becomes of course difficult to advise others to do so. For him, therefore, the explanation of events like the pubes and the Riverside ordinance is that it is due on the one hand to a minority of bad apple within Anonymous 2.0, and on the other hand to a majority of original Anonymous who did not follow Anonymous 2.0 beyond it simply being for the lulz. I disagree with that, because it seeks to excuse the Anonymous 2.0 instead of getting them to reflect what is their own responsibility in this as a group. From what I can see, and in spite of what some may claim afterwards, they are very much at the basis and responsible for this kind of pranks. Suffice just to read their comments in news outlets and what goes on in WhyWeBWAAAA. Some may distance themselve from it afterwards, but they were there beforewards, encouraging it, promoting it, and supporting it. Maybe not directly, but by the sheer radicalness and shallowness of their current approach.

In this respect, I do have to agree with the comments of Tony, the journalist who reported it on the Village voice, which I would like to quote in full:

Well, that should make the Anonymous kids feel warm and fuzzy, because Wise Beard Man really lets them off the hook.

I'm surprised, Mark. Someone who's been doing this as long as you have understands how the media works when it comes to Scientology.

Now that the press has labeled an Anonymous operation (however rogue it happened to be) as a "hate crime," Anonymous members are going to find it much tougher to get other press organizations to take them seriously.

Many of the commenters to yesterday's posts offered us this pathetic calculus: "Anonymous may do stupid pranks, but Scientology really hurts people."

Sorry Anonymous, that doesn't work with reporters, and essentially puts you out of contention. Don't be surprised that from now on, any press mention of Anonymous will begin with the stupid Pubeit prank.

I also believe that this view is nothing new. For months now Anonymous has got virtually no press at all. I wrote about that back in July 24 already, and it has just got even worst over the subsequent months. The only time they would appear in the press nowadays is when they use Scientology celebrities appearance as an opportunity to put themselves in the photos, and then only in such notoriously gossiping tabloid rag as the Daily Mail.

It is clear at this point that if Anonymous 2.0 does not find a "bigger game" as Jason Begh puts it, they are going to completely disappear from the scene, or just be ignored as a simple annoyance. But that bigger game certainly isn't the type of pubes pranks that wins them nothing but negative attention. As I said repeately, their biggest chance is to start protesting discrimination towards Scientologists AND protest Scientology at the same time. But we are not going to see that any time soon, because it would involve a total revision of the very assumptions on which they are working from. So be it...

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