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
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
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
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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2009