While in Austin over the weekend, we encountered this group of protesters in front of the Church of Scientology storefront on Guadalupe. That same storefront was used by them when I attended college at UT. When I was there, nobody bothered to protest, because it was just understood that it was a cult, so we all steered clear. Every now and then, one of the depressed or lost students would come back to the dorm after getting their "free personality test," from the Dyanetics Center, and think they stumbled upon the meaning of life. They were usually met with either pity or mockery, and if that wasn't enough to deter them, they eventually became disillusioned with Mr. Hubbard's cash cow of a "religion," and drifted away from it. I never knew anyone who got the personality test, became a Scientologist, and was never heard again, but I don't doubt that could happen. A cult is a cult - whether Tom Cruise is the spokesperson for the cult, or not.
Instead of protesters, this Dyanetics Center usually had a table out front manned by volunteers handing out pamphlets and trying to entice students to enter the center to take the free personality test. I don't recall there being a security guard back then, especially since most of us cut a wide swath to avoid having to deal with the annoyance of the volunteers trying desperately to make eye contact. I guess that's the difference that 25 years can make. I fear that the cult of celebrity has had quite an impact on the cult of Scientology, and it is now a name brand that people recognize. What Madonna did for Kabbalah a few years ago has also been done with Scientology, but like Kabbalah, I think this fad will have to wither. Unless a movement has more substance than style, it will fade.Anonymous
This is the flier that was being distributed by the protesters. Thanks to Dave, I have a link for information about Anonymous. I love their tag line: Anonymous is legion. We do not forget. We do not forgive. Expect us. How scary is that? I'm American, so I love the underdog, the rebel, the revolutionary; but I think they may be missing their mark and coming across a little terroristic. I know people throw the "T" word around too much since the demise of our civil liberties under Bush, but I think they should include something that makes them more people friendly. Maybe, Anonymous: We are legion. We do not forget. We are here for the people. O.K. , that's lame, but you can see what I am getting at. A faceless organization that is unforgiving is pretty much describing the Scientologists, Fortune 500 Companies, most bureaucracies, and most governments. As much as I love underdogs and rebels, I dislike mob mentality, and there is definitely the opportunity for Anonymous to become a bully organization, if they do not keep themselves in check. That said, I also understand why they would take on Scientology in masks - there is a part of me that expects to be contacted by Scientology's attornies for exercising my right to free speech in this blog. If I do, then I may find myself in a mask at the next protest. We shall see...
Sorry the scanned copy is a bit grainy. The best part of this flier is not the written description of why Scientology is a bad thing, but the watermark graphic that looks like an alien overlord. Some kind of alien demon oppressor here to enslave humanity. One of my favorite classes in college was a class on propaganda - and this flier is as perfect an example as I can think of. I say that with admiration (really), because anyone who has read up on Scientology, has heard of the alien connection. Propaganda is not by its nature false information, it can very often be factual. It's the packaging of the info that makes it propaganda - and I must say, I love the packaging of Anonymous. From the uber cool V for Vendetta masks, to their willingness to stand up against one of the scariest organizations I know of -Scientology. Keep up the good work, Anonymous, just don't let it go to your head. I would hate to hear that you used your power for evil, instead of good.