Wise Beard Man to Anonymous: Don't be a Dope
Yesterday, after putting up our first response to the idiotic Anonymous prankster who was arrested after slathering himself with vaseline and pubic hair clippings and rubbing himself on items at the Scientology building on W. 46th Street, we received this response from our old friend Mark Bunker, also known as Wise Beard Man:
"Oh, thank god you're writing about this."
He said he'd sent out his own "moderately angry" e-mail about the event to friends, and agreed to send us a message for all of Anonymous.
Here's Bunker's characteristically calm, generous statement. We'll follow with a comment on it afterwards:
BUNKER: In any group of people there are dopes. A nebulous group of anonymous people on the net might possibly have a slightly higher percentage of dopes -- but then maybe not quite as many as were in the Bush Administration.
I look around at work or at an event and try to spot the dopes. Quite often it turns out to be me. We humans are prone to doing some dopey things. I'd have to say covering yourself with Vaseline and pubes would be dopiness on an epic scale and it just makes you shake your head and wonder, "Why?"
But, look, not everyone is going to get it. And not everyone in Anonymous is on the same page. In fact, there are factions within Anonymous. Most of the people taking to the streets and speaking out against Scientology fraud and abuse understand there is a serious reason to take action. Others in Anonymous call us Moralfags. You can't please everyone.
But the unfortunate thing about a nebulous mass of people under one umbrella is if one person does something bad, stupid or illegal that can be used to tar everyone else. The great strength of anonymity and numbers can just as easily be a weakness.
In my first video to Anonymous, I suggested they act within the law and take this seriously because Scientology damn well takes it seriously and they will do everything they can to take down each person they can identify. Pubes Kid thought he was pulling a prank (a damn lousy one) but it got him in serious trouble.
Clearly, it doesn't help any cause and it gives ammunition to those who want to go gunning for bear. We've seen that in Riverside County in California where Scientology has enlisted the aid of County Supervisor Jeff Stone to shut down ALL protests at Scientology's desert compound in Hemet. In fact, Scientology was kind enough to draft the proposed ordinance for Mr. Stone who put it on the fast track and pushed it through a week ago.
When Stone brought up the proposal, he started with a show and tell. He wanted everyone on the board to know just how vile, filthy, nasty, perverted, racist and hate-filled Anonymous is. Scientology had provided him with a Dead Agent pack of smear material from some of the chans and Stone paraded it all out in public, comparing Anonymous to the worst neo-Nazis or klansmen that the world has ever seen.
But Stone is wrong. I won't defend the vile images or words that were on display, but I can put them in context, which Mr. Stone was either unable or unwilling to do. There are some in Anonymous who like to shock, to produce the most outrageous stuff to get a reaction from people. Am I crazy about that? Not at all. But that not all Anonymous is. If it were, I wouldn't bother to write this.
I have met hundreds and hundreds of Anonymous members and heard from thousands more who may have started attacking Scientology for the lulz and moved beyond that. Who understand the reasons for speaking out and do so peacefully while enjoying cake and some extremely long chats.
I look at it this way, when the infamous 2 Girls 1 Cup video was flying around the net, I was sent links by a lot a people, long before Anonymous entered my life. At work, people gleefully shared the link to watch the look of horror come upon a co-workers face. Now, does that mean that everyone in my office is a depraved pornographer who relishes and basks in the most obscene of material? No. Or that even just the people who sent the links are depraved soulless monsters? No. Maybe one or two, tops but that's it.
But that's the way Supervisor Stone is looking at Anonymous. And as the shocking "chan" material can't totally define Anonymous, nor can Pubes Kid totally define the people protesting Scientology within Anonymous.
The people who protested the passage of Prop 8 were tarred by the Mormon church with the exact same charges Scientology hurls at Anonymous. "They're sending death threats -- they're violent -- they destroyed our property -- they sent white powder in envelopes to our churches." I haven't seen much evidence of that but even if a few dopes did some of those things, does that mean every gay person or supporter of gay marriage should be tarred by those actions? Of course not.
So to Pubes Kid I say, "Stop being a dope." END OF BUNKER MESSAGE
Well, that should make the Anonymous kids feel warm and fuzzy, because Wise Beard Man really lets them off the hook.
I'm surprised, Mark. Someone who's been doing this as long as you have understands how the media works when it comes to Scientology.
Now that the press has labeled an Anonymous operation (however rogue it happened to be) as a "hate crime," Anonymous members are going to find it much tougher to get other press organizations to take them seriously.
Many of the commenters to yesterday's posts offered us this pathetic calculus: "Anonymous may do stupid pranks, but Scientology really hurts people."
Sorry Anonymous, that doesn't work with reporters, and essentially puts you out of contention. Don't be surprised that from now on, any press mention of Anonymous will begin with the stupid Pubeit prank.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.