September 19, 2008
Anyway, before the performance, we walked past the theater for All My Sons, which is notable not only for being a revival of an Arthur Miller play, but for being Katie Holmes' broadway debut. What we saw was even covered in UK papers.
Telegraph: Katie Holmes' Broadway show picketed by Scientology protesters
The actress starred in the first preview performance of All My Sons with husband Tom Cruise looking proudly on.Tigerkitten was given a couple of fliers by members of this group, Anonymous.
Outside, around 30 demonstrators lined the pavement by the Schoenfeld Theatre in New York, loudly protesting against the controversial Church of Scientology.
They shouted "Scientology kills!" and held up posters attacking the religion, which counts Cruise and Holmes as its most high-profile members.
One placard read: "Free Katie - Keep Tom" while another said: "Run, Katie, Run!"
The group called themselves Anonymous and many wore masks. One said: "We are not boycotting Katie, we are not boycotting the play, we are protesting against Scientology." Their placards echoed the message of the 'Free Katie' website set up when the former Dawson's Creek star began dating Cruise in 2005.
This group represents a collective of individuals who perfectly fit the nihilistic, malicious, people I described in my other post.
If I had thought more about it in my last post, I would have remembered this article in the New York Times that I read a while back.
The New York Times: The Trolls Among Us
One afternoon in the spring of 2006, for reasons unknown to those who knew him, Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader from Rochester, Minn., took a .22-caliber rifle down from a shelf in his parents’ bedroom closet and shot himself in the head. The next morning, Mitchell’s school assembled in the gym to begin mourning. His classmates created a virtual memorial on MySpace and garlanded it with remembrances. One wrote that Mitchell was “an hero to take that shot, to leave us all behind. God do we wish we could take it back. . . . ” Someone e-mailed a clipping of Mitchell’s newspaper obituary to MyDeathSpace.com, a Web site that links to the MySpace pages of the dead. From MyDeathSpace, Mitchell’s page came to the attention of an Internet message board known as /b/ and the “trolls,” as they have come to be called, who dwell there.That Times article is as fascinating as it is terrifying.
/b/ is the designated “random” board of 4chan.org, a group of message boards that draws more than 200 million page views a month. A post consists of an image and a few lines of text. Almost everyone posts as “anonymous.” In effect, this makes /b/ a panopticon in reverse — nobody can see anybody, and everybody can claim to speak from the center. The anonymous denizens of 4chan’s other boards — devoted to travel, fitness and several genres of pornography — refer to the /b/-dwellers as “/b/tards.”
Measured in terms of depravity, insularity and traffic-driven turnover, the culture of /b/ has little precedent. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line, or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.
From the handout from "Anonymous:"
Who is Anonymous?The flier goes on at some length in this way. It's a morass of juvenile pseudo-philosophical sneering (and bad grammar) and apparently their only point is that they just like to hurt people.
"We are the face of chaos and the harbingers of judgment. We'll laugh in the face of tragedy. We'll mock those who are in pain. We ruin the lives of other people simply because we can. Hungregs die in a plancrash. We lauch. The nation mourns over a school shooting, we laugh. We're the embodiment of humanity with no remorese, no caring, no love, or no sense of morality."
What does Anonymous represent?
"Anonymous broadly represents the concept of any and all people as an unnamed collective. Anonymous is devoid of humanity, morality, puty, and mercy.
Anonymous works as one, because none of us are as cruel as all of us. Anonymous has no weakness or flaw. Anonymous exploits weaknesses and flaws. Anonymous doesn't have a family or friends."
"'We ruin the lives of other people simply because we can.' It is not needed to know or understand anything about the raid target, 'It is for the lulz.' "
It is shocking and terrifying, which is exactly the point.
I think The Church of Scientology makes a good, challenging target in their eyes because of that organization's reputation for being so rabid about suppressing opposition. I want to emphasize here that their opposition is not ideological at all. Even though their posters appeal to the alleged criminal and oppressive behavior by that group, they say that their objectives in opposing the Church of Scientolog are:
"Bringing the scientology sites down. Tie up phone lines, black faxes. We harass the lawyer and his/her lawfirm. We call them, fax them Goatse [porn] and so on, and complain to his/her boss that she/he is a crack whore/rapist/n---er."In all of these quotations, I've tried to type the spelling and punctuation exactly as it appears in the flier.
This group is scary.
Terrorists don't scare me very much just because I know that they have an ideology that they're trying to stay true to. They're trying to accomplish something. They may pick bad methods, but when someone is going for something, you can at least make a few predictions about what they will and won't do.
This group has no allegiance to integrity or consistency. They don't want anything except to cause misery, suffering, and fear. Any tactic that does that will satisfy them. And any tactic that doesn't do that is fine, too.
I could go on at some length about the contradictions in this flier or about how this makes no sense, but in reality, there is a certain explicitness about it that I like. Even though their words contradict one another, they do strike me as actually being more consistent than most.
So, anyway, there you have it. Those people do exist.
September 13, 2008
I understand people doing things to gain something for themselves or someone they like. I can even understand people doing something and being indifferent toward everyone else.
I imagine a person pushing their way through a crowd and jostling people because they're late for work or need to get to the hospital because someone they love is hurt. I think even terrorists don't blow themselves up on you because they dislike you. They do it because they think either they will help you discover their imaginary friend or that their imaginary friend will benefit from their actions.
I'm not saying that terrorists with "good" intentions aren't evil. Objectively, speaking they are almost the worst people ever. But they mean well.
The road to hell, you know.
But in my general optimism about people, I think they can be persuaded to desist in their wrongness because they actually want to be and do good. They just have to see what is objectively good and then that's what they'll choose to do.
I tend to attribute their wrongness to mostly ignorance.
Of course, when I'm in a bad mood, I am very quick to remember that it is their responsibility to resolve their ignorance. Immediately. And to also stand out of my way.
But even when I'm in a bad mood, it's hard to imagine a person whose conscious philosophic bent is self-destruction. Unlike a terrorist who blows up people in the subway to spread terror and promote their political, religious, or whatever agenda, the true misanthrope seeks to accomplish nothing more than the misery of everyone around them. Ultimately, such an anti-egoism does result in self-destruction.
Can you imagine it?
I was mulling this over with a friend the other night who said he'd known people like this in real life.
There's just no way someone could be very consistent with that disposition. They'd probably starve to death or something. But just being that way a little bit would be crazy obnoxious.
This is like a mean second-hander. I think of second-handers as people who generally try to please other people. But if you're this kind of misanthrope, you derive value from other people's displeasure. I guess it's technically a form of altruism.
I think those people must be very ill and EXTREMELY unpleasant.
Has anyone heard of this? Does this exist?
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