Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let's talk about Project Chanology.

I knew I had seen these masks before.

But I didn't know what they meant. Until tonight that is, with the help of South Park and Wikipedia.

So around February of this year, I was driving down Guadalupe. I can't remember where I was headed, but I do remember seeing a whole block of these people in front of the UT Campus, wearing freaky masks and holding posters. One of them was holding a poster that said, "Honk if you hate Xenu." They were standing across the street from the Church of Scientology, on Guadalupe and 22nd St.

Fast-forward: R. and I are watching an old South Park tonight, one (of the many) where they were ripping on Scientology. It's the one where everyone thinks Stan is the second coming of L. Ron Hubbard, and the like, President of Scientology or something walks Stan through Scientologist doctrine: you know, aliens, space ships, volcanoes, etc. Then a tagline appeared at the bottom of the screen that said, "This is what Scientologists actually believe."

Being the Wikipedia nerd I am, I jumped up and grabbed my laptop just to confirm it for myself. Here is a segment from the Wikipedia entry:

"75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and..."

...And do you really need to hear anything else? Well, ok:

"...and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living and continue to do this today."

Well, I think that pretty much says it all. (Even so, I thought you should still see a Scientology video of the whole volcano thing. Yes, I found this through Austin's very own Scientology website.)

But what I wanted to tell you guys about was not Scientology, but Project Chanology.

So on that same Wikipedia article, I came across this intriguing sub-entry that said "Scientology and the Internet." I clicked on it, and there's a guy wearing one of those Guy Fawkes/V from V for Vendetta masks. Apparently, in January, February, and April of this year, a group dubbing themselves "Project Chanology" (an offshoot of the larger, more well-known group Anonymous) launched a world-wide protest against Scientology - including one right here in Austin, y'all!

I'm just really fascinated by the whole internet-organized global protest thing. This group is made up of people from at least - but not limited to - Berlin, Paris, Dublin, London, and AUSTIN. And in addition to the street protests, they apparently disabled Scientology's computer server, sent black faxes, and...RICKROLLED!!!

Guys! Project Chanology IS responsible for the "rickroll" phenomenon. You know, you get a link to a seemingly relevant site, click on it, and suddenly you're greeted by Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." Why, I'm not entirely sure. It's connection to Scientology? Again: fuzzy. If everyone's figured this out already and I'm just now catching on - sorry. But I'm going to sit here and be pumped for a minute, now that I've discovered the origin of rickrolling. Whoa!

Ok, so. Project Chanology's last big public demonstration was June 2008, in a protest involving pirate costumes. Again...pirates? What? Does it matter? All I know is: It's not the last protest. And as a matter of fact, here locally, more stuff is going down this summer.


Anonymous said...

We've held protests in over 130 cities worldwide, every month for the past six months. Anonymous is indeed responsible for the Rickroll - but we started it in April 2007, long before Project Chanology. Our last big protest was July 12th - Operation: Spy vs. Sci: Licence to Lulz, a Spy-themed protest against the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs. June was Operation: Sea Arrrgh a pirate-themed protest against their Sea Organisation. Our next protest will be on August 16th. Expect us!

Tolly Moseley - Senior Publicist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tolly M said...

Cool, Anonymous!! I have to say I'm totally impressed with the whole thing. Will the Aug. 16 protest happen in Austin, too?

MarcAnon said...

Just some clarification, rickrolling is quite a bit older than Chanology itself.

If you're interested to see the plans for raids in your area, please check out the Enturbulation forum local threads:

Tolly M said...

Awesome! Thanks for the clarification and raid resource, Marcanon. If I have time I will edit the post to reflect the correct rickrolling origins!

Breanna said...

This is quite possibly the coolest blog post/comment thread ever.

Liz Groh, Director of Marketing said...

Wow, Tolly, look at you! Such a blog sleuth. A Bleuth? We should totally go check this protest business out...

Tolly M said...

I agree!! Wanna come to the Aug. 16 protest??