Monday, February 11, 2008


Right now, I want to be Alan Moore. Next best, I want to have some hope that some day, something I've written will have this kind of influence on people. Because seriously, this rocks.

"This," for anyone who doesn't feel like following the link (which I highly recommend) was a protest in London outside a couple of Church of Scientology buildings where most of the picketers showed up in masks from "V for Vendetta." They spent the day making fun of Scientology, completely pwning the whole business through mockery, with chants and signs based on Internet Stuff and generally having fun. There was no violence, no nastiness, and when someone occasionally yelled something offensive, the crowd chorused "FAIL!" and the person being offensive was shouted down. The cops were polite and helpful to everyone, as only British cops can be, and one of the local businesses got into the spirit of things with a quickly-made sign in the window. It was a realspace extension of the Anonymous campaign against Scientology, and it sounds like it went off beautifully.

What I think is just brilliant about this is that the people who participated took the mockery and wit from "V for Vendetta," but none of the violence. It would've been really easy for some whack-job with a V mask to take the impersonation too far, but that didn't happen, not even close. The idea that a large group of people can express their opinion and protest and make a difference, and that (despite what was shown in the movie) they don't have to use violence to do it, is a great message to give people, and if I were Alan Moore I'd be proud enough to bust knowing that a bunch of my fans had gotten that message from me.

Because really, the Scientologists don't merit violence; laughter is a very appropriate weapon to use here.

For myself, and the work I'm producing right now, I'd like it if my readers got the message that it's fine to be gay, that there's nothing wrong with it and if you're gay there's nothing wrong with you, and that anyone who says otherwise is an ignorant wanker. That there's room in the world for gay romances, and that gay people deserve to have positive stories written about them, just like anyone else. I doubt I'll ever influence the sort of mass demonstration of awesome that Alan Moore did the other day, but I'd like to think I'll have some occasional positive influence on a few people, here and there. 'Cause it all adds up, you know?

What kind of influence would you like to have on your readers?


ETA: Wow, it was all over the world, not just London! Cleolinda posted a good collection of links to write-ups and pics from all over.


Sarai said...

I would like for people to realize that it is okay to be a strong, independent woman that does not need to rely on men to take care of her life. That you can be strong, tough and rough around the edges and on the inside be soft and a romantic at heart. I hope that my writing gets this across. Great post! Love that movie by and by actually watched it over the weekend.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've wanted to see V for Vendetta but never got around to it. It looked pretty good. I agree that laughter is an effective technique and certainly preferable to violence. However, my personal preference would have been for them to just leave the Scientologists alone. I'm not a scientologist and don't know that much about them, but if gay people deserve respect, and handicapped people deserve respect, and Jews deserve respect, and women deserve respect, why doesn't a scientologist deserve respect? As long as they are not trying to convert me or trying to gain control over me what possible reason could I have to attack them? Even if the attack is only making them the butt of the joke.

Angie said...

Sarai -- that'd be cool too. [nod] (Mainstream) romance writers get a lot of flack for supposedly brainwashing women to be weak and completely dependent on men, but most of the stories nowadays show strong, competent women who have enough confidence in themselves to let someone else be a partner with them too.

Charles -- I'd usually agree, but Scientology as an organization is predatory. They do proselytize quite a lot, and they particularly target high-profile people such as actors. (Their Hollywood complex is pretty palacial, from what I've read, the better to draw in the rich and famous.) Part of "clearing," the process of being a Scientologist (which also costs major bucks -- no pay, no progress) involves talking about everything that's cluttering up your mind, including things about yourself which you find embarassing or shameful. Which could actually be decent therapy, rather like Catholic confession, except that Scientology records all their sessions and then uses that material to force people to stay in, to do what they want. This is particularly effective with members whose livelihood depends upon their public image.

They also insist that their members avoid regular or close contact with anyone who might impede their mental progress through the "clearing" process, which includes anyone who's not a Scientologist. Past a certain point in their "progress," members must either bring their close friends and family into the organization, or cut off contact with them. That's a very common strategy of personal abuse, and also classic cult behavior.

Hubbard started Scientology as a deliberate project, maybe even a joke. He's quoted as having said that he ought to start a new religion because that's where the big money is. If that were the only thing to be said against it, then I'd concede that people can believe what they want, and that in a few centuries it might even develop into a legitimate religion, so far as such things can be judged or defined. But the way they operate, the way they recruit, and particularly their member retention strategies, make them odious.

And I'm not even considering some of the other stories going around about them, which might or might not be true. [shrug] In my view, the organization's own behavior has put it beyond the pale, and makes it a fair target for any mockery anyone wants to throw at it.


writtenwyrdd said...

I thought the movie sucked, personally. But the idea of using it for a nonviolent protest is amusing. The mask and character of V was, after all, rather amusing on the big screen.

I'd want readers to take away a sense of wonder and to have enjoyed the world and characters I created. I am not big on message or ideals. Sure, we all impart that a little bit into our work; but I have no ambitions at all to do such a thing with my writing. Not at this time, anyhow.

writtenwyrdd said...

I don't see how anyone can fall for Scientology, considering how you have to pay money to advance up the spiritual ladder. (head shake)

Angie said...

WW -- I thought it was fun, but then I like comics and that helps. :)

And yes, exactly; the fact that you have to write a check each time you want to take another step on the path to enlightenment really should be enough to clue people in, one would think. [sigh]