Yes, I went to First Friday for the first time in about two years. I went there once before with my wonderful kaywngse, Nutmeg, but it really overwhelmed me. I can’t get around very well because of my congestive heart failure, and hopping gallery-to-gallery really began to wear me out. Tonight I picked a totally different tactic:
Stay in one bloody place!
Doing so allowed me to keep track of the Mill Avenue resistance, meet some lovely freaks and wonderful people, and also gave me a chance to mingle with the crowds. The evangelicals set up right across from the Phoenix Anonymous protest, so I was also able to go over there and learn what I could about them.
Also I got to see Lux again (wearing an awesome outfit, see Plague Doctor's I have Met, below.)
And to top everything off, we sang Cthulhu carols to everyone with cheer and glee.
Phoenix Anonymous vs. Scientology
Certainly people have seen these people wandering around by now protesting the Scientology Corporation on street corners. These protests have been going on for months now and they’re actually quite difficult to miss. I haven’t been involved and while I there were some offers from various organizations for experience essays and observations on the activities of Anonymous by various anthropological journals and newsletters, I felt like my time was better served sticking to Mill Ave.
However, tonight I had some good chances to observe them in protest.
The Phoenix Anonymous wear masks to protect their identity when they protest because the Scientology Corporation have a documented history of harassing, gas lighting, abusing, and otherwise criminally mistreating protestors.
Several artists from the Art Walk even joined in with the Phoenix Anonymous by performing their own protest. Materials distributed by the Scientology Corporation were plead for from passersby who had received them and then promptly destroyed. One particular girl with red hair felt so strongly about this she spent hours wrecking the propaganda. “I feel like they’ve intruded in our space,” she said. “These people are spreading their indoctrination on my doorstep. Don’t piss off artists.” As I watched pamphlets and CDs from the Scientology Corporation were bent, spindled, scratched, and raked into ruin—each one receiving a handwritten message: Go away!
Members of the Secular Free Thought Society also decided to check out the Scientology display. The display consisted of two yellow canvas tents on metal poles (it was interesting listening to them wreck the tents because of the clink-tang-tang-tang sound that pipes make when they strike the ground) and red clothed tables at which stress test administrators sat. One of the tents housed a lonely TV endlessly repeating some programme to a trio of empty chairs. Various members of the Scientology Corporation stood around wearing red vests and jackets displaying the logo on their backs.
Rocco, Colleen, and Todd (there may be more) received stress tests. Afterwards Rocco posited about the nature of the testing mechanism, the e-meter, which appears to be a primitive galvanic skin response meter—aka the basis of what has become the lie detector. It appears that the e-meter has some sort of a sensitivity dial that allows the person running the test to adjust it on the fly, which, I was told was provided to “help keep the needle in the middle.” I also discovered that the devices were unable to output any diagnostic records. They don’t record anything; they have only one dial, which is being constantly modified by the tester. These devices certainly cannot have any diagnostic use because the conditions of the test can never be repeated and they cannot be critically examined after the fact.
A member of the Phoenix Anonymous, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask from V For Vendetta, also spoke out about why he was wearing a bullet proof vest. In a recent incident at the Scientology Corporation celebrity center a man was gunned down by a security guard for wielding “samurai swords.” According to news articles on the subject the man was a member of Scientology.
As the night was winding down we noticed a press release from the Scientology Corporation that stated a man implicated in DDOSing their websites had been arrested. “DDOSing the Scientology websites in the name of Anonymous.” According to the poster—a huge thing hung over the rental sign for the building that Scientology had rented offices in—the Secret Service had also been involved in the investigation.
The Evangelical Christians
Most of this is going into my Roosevelt Resistance Report (the name of the street we were on was Roosevelt, so I changed it from Mill Avenue to be funny.) But we did see some of them out there tonight, in fact bits of the Friday and Saturday Mill Avenue evangelical crews: Trevor, Sean, Lee, John, Linda, Valerie.
The SFTS and Mill Avenue Resistance were also out in full force.
Dialogue was minimal, but there were certain repartees.
Interesting event happened when Trevor was walking past the Scientology site and decided to voice his opinion, “Jesus is Lord, do not listen to these people. They are false teachings!”
To wrap up the night finally, we all got together with the speaker and the microphone and sang Have a Scary Solstice songs to the passersby. Wonderful songs like “Go Summon Up the Dead Ones” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth” go to bear the grace of my mellifluous voice to the diminishing crowds of the night.
Whatever strange dweomer that we enspelled the crowds with that night, the Great Olde Ones watching from on high. Fomohault gazing down into our souls, dead and distant—
Someday they will return.
People WORTH Seeing: Plague doctors I have met
Wandering past the evangelicals I got to see Lux! She’s the interesting little critter that I saw when we went to protest the Westboro Baptist Church, and apparently she has brilliant taste—something that apparently I am good for picking people for. When I first saw her it was impossible to tell who it was as she was masked and costumed as a Doktor Schnabel von Rom (Picture), otherwise known as the Plague Doctor outfit.
The plague doctors wore outfits with bird masks and a doctor’s cap, with a wax coat to keep disease away from them. The beak of the bird mask often would be stuffed with potpourri or burning incenses and salts because the prevailing theory of disease was miasma—better known as “odor is disease.” The thought at the time was that stenches were the source of illness, since illness often coincided with stenches. Thus, good-smelling things would keep away illnesses and as a result censers and open pots of burning incense were found in the homes of royalty and noblemen to ward off the Black Death.
Kudos to her for the amazing outfit!
This is where I am going to put in a little bit of a teaser: I am working on a Vex Arsenal story that involves a character dressed up in a plague doctor outfit. It is slated for release this winter after the publishing season is over. The series is almost 70% done and once it’s ready it will go into serial release. Vex Arsenal: The Holocaust Star. It will be released alongside the re-release of The Byzantium Outcast.
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