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August 29th, 2008


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09:32 am - Weird Little Clams Snap Snap Snap>
While gallivanting about Harvard Square earlier this week, I noticed that the lower level of the former Wordsworth bookstore had been turned into a Scientology front. One of those "FREE STRESS TEST" centers with pictures of kids taking pills on the windows that ominously ask WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN BEING DRUGGED? (Because joining a cult is crueler, perhaps?) Such an ignominious use of what was formerly one of my more favorite spots to go in Hahvahd Squayah.

The most prominent giveaway that this was a Scientology recruitment machine was the gang of young adults on the opposite corner dressed in bandanas and V For Vendetta masks. These were representatives of Anonymous, and there were about ten or so of them. Their gang is an offshoot of the 4chan message boards, where everyone posts anonymously. This unique requirement has given them a collective identity and a capital A for Anonymous. 4chan is split into many different topics and while some 4channers are content to post metric boatloads of hentai for the amusement of others, some actually do want to discuss serious topics. It's these folks who have, in recent times organized large-scale protests against Ye Cult of Xenu and their representatives, those of the vacuous thousand-mile-stares and creepy smiles.

But since Scientology doesn't play fair, the kids all put on V masks and hide their identities, even when going to and from the events. Paranoia mixed with social protest mixed with Alan Moore has created a curious hybrid in these folks. It's an interesting dichotomy when you realize that there is at least one group of 4chan members (those who frequent the "/b/" random forum) who'll do anything in their power to make life miserable for anyone who crosses them. If they find out your identity, you're hosed. Perhaps it's this knowledge that gives the Anonymous protesters an edge, as they know full well what can happen when someone else gains that Power Word: Name on you.

4chan is still an example of some of the lowest depths you can sink when hanging around message boards, but it's nice to know there's at least one subset which thinks they can do a little work hopefully for the common good. Even if it means just standing around in V masks waving signs at the little clams across the street.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:thetathx1138
Date:August 29th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
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When I went to the Brattle, I made the mistake of making eye contact with one of their salesmen people. I stopped for a second and as I walked away he actually put his hand on my arm. Urgh, I'm not generally happy with that when people have a GOOD reason to do it.
[User Picture]
From:prog
Date:August 29th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
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UGH. That is not acceptable.

Man I hate these guys.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 29th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Seriously. That kinda stuff can easily turn into an assault charge.

Then there was the Scientologist in Britain who harrassed one of the Anonymous protesters in a wheelchair; she kept trying to step right in front of him so he'd run over her foot and she'd have a claim of violence.

Amazing!
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:August 29th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
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I should go there and ask if they have "Listening to Prozac" in stock. "What, isn't this WordsWorth Books?"
[User Picture]
From:bluesauce
Date:August 29th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
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Did you ever know that you're my hero, Ron? :)
[User Picture]
From:mybadhairlife
Date:August 29th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
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But...but...if they wear their masks all the way to and from the event, doesn't that make them easier to follow?
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:August 29th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
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They look around for phone booths where they can take them off... oops, wrong movie.
[User Picture]
From:nathanw
Date:August 29th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
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Someone recently described /b/ (or maybe all of 4chan? I'm not sure) as "youtube, but just the comments, no videos". Which was a pretty terrifying concept.

I managed to get myself trolled by the LaRouchies in Davis yesterday, who approached me with the line "Do you want to get the British-loving traitors out of the Democratic Party?" I asked them what they had against the British, and it kind of went downhill from there. I should have just ignored them.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 29th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
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What, do the LaRouchies think this is Colonial America all over again? "Aye, and I wholeheartedly support kicking those Lobsterbacks all the way back to King George himself! Here's a ha'penny for your cause!"

And /b/ is like YouTube comments combined with the oh-so-pleasant image gallery from rotten.com. You go in once, take a look, realize you've just seen some stuff you can never unsee, and go elsewhere.
[User Picture]
From:seph
Date:August 29th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Much of the rest of 4chan, I can attest, is comprised of a surprisingly intelligent segment of the internet. /b/ does a good job of holding onto the unsavory types.

(Many of the boards I frequent on 4chan have honest-to-goodness contingency plans in place for when /b/ is is down for whatever reason and its denizens move en masse to another board.)
[User Picture]
From:madfilkentist
Date:September 1st, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
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Scientologists. LaRouchies. Fundies. DNC. Greenpeace. Professional homeless.

The trick is to ignore them completely. Don't apologize. Don't step out of their way. Don't get mad. They just AREN'T THERE.

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