The Internet-inspired protests against Scientology on February 10 were the results of the most spectacular viral campaign the Web has ever seen. Protesters across the globe thronged into the streets, clamoring for the eradication of Scientology's "toxic values." And the result? A lot of Internet video. Honestly, the best stuff I've seen since LonelyGirl15, but hardly effective. What, did they think chanting "Do not want" would send Tom Cruise into Namibian exile? Here's the sum total of Anonymous's efforts:
- Message to Scientology. This is the first Anonymous video to declare war on Scientology. I keep waiting for a computer voice to say "fitter, happier, more productive."
- Anonymous Press Release: Anonymous explains its main objective: To revoke Scientology's status as a religion with the IRS. But I like this video for the swelling sound track and the creepy computer voice.
- London Protests: Anonymous and LOLcats come from the same place, the message board 4chan. So naturally, London protestors grew loudest when they began to chant "Do Not Want. Do Not Want."
- Seattle Protests: Protesters sing '80s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" in front of a Scientology building, an allusion to the process of "rickrolling," or redirecting unsuspecting viewers to a Rick Astley video. For the Church of Scientology's official response, click here.
- Detroit Protests.Perhaps you were not aware that the Internet is a series of tubes, as Senator Ted Stevens famously suggested? Protestors in Detroit made this clear to Scientology.
- Atlanta Protests. Police in London, New York and L.A. largely ignored Anonymous protestors. Authorities in Atlanta sent out-of-shape riot cops to march against Anonymous.
- Vancouver Protests. Anonymous protesters are supposed to wear masks. And their mask of choice is the Guy Fawkes mask made popular in V for Vendetta. The masks are popular in England, where people get the reference, and in Canada, where they pretend to. Skip to 25 seconds in to get a close look at the lot.
- Toronto Protests:Skip to 1:40 where an ex-Scientologist tells the camera,
It took me a year to fully recover and get out of there. They have everything in your files. You confess everything to them that you've ever done in your whole life. They have those files and they will use them against you.
- Clearwater ProtestsClearwater, Florida is the world capital of Scientology. Fast-forward to 1:11 for the organization's official response.
- Washington, D.C. Protests: A testimony from a Scientologist's family member:
He looks like a walking corpse. He spent six months on a Path Six Cycle, which is taking walks and vitamins, when really, he needed psychiatric care. But because their beliefs were so strong, he chose to hang himself in the hopes that he could come back and recieve more Scientology auditing.