Date: Fri, 06 Sep 1996 22:09:08 GMT
From: Tony McClelland <email@example.com>
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Picket Report: Sydney, Fri 6 Sep 1996
[written by David Gerard, posted via Tony McClelland]
Greetings from sunny Sydney ...
What I did on my winter vacation - Friday 6th September demo report
Arrived on the bus from Melbourne at 6:40am and promptly went to Tony's place in some far outer suburb, there to spend a few hours preparing exciting leaflets for the demos (a simple one with a press release on one side - adapted from something on http://www.primenet.com/~cultxpt/demo.htm - and a list of Web sites on the other, with emphasis on books) and working out signs.
We got into town around two o'clock. Had a glance at the volcano billboard. Ghod, what a pitiful grubby plastic piece of crap it is by daylight; looks like a fifteen-year-old ad for the amusement parlour below. Tony stopped in at the police station ("Their behaviour last time was unacceptable, so I'm afraid I'll have to go out there today") and I went down to the Ch*rch to see if they thought I had a personality.
Stopped for a second outside the Org to scope out their rack of Freedom magazines (the same ones they were giving away at the March demos - why bother doing a new edition of your magazine, after all, if you only have one thing to say and it's that much effort saying it in standard English anyway?) and someone passing by (office worker clothes) said, "'S bullshit, mate" as he walked past, indicating the Org. I smiled a little smile at the excellence of the Ch*rch's public relations.
Went in, said I came in off the street for a poisonality test, was sat down. This time, instead of adopting the valence of Mr Spock (as I did for Perth - got a near-perfect score, but significant dips in Happiness and Comm Level), I decided to go for that of L. Ron Hubbard. Zipped through the test and went to wait for my results. Reading material this time was The Basic Dianetics Picture Book, a work the Church of the SubGenius really needs to get to work on. I mean that.
The room is quite large, with a bunch of testing tables down one side, staff desks down the other side and a bunch of seats in front of a video screen down the end. I couldn't identify the music in the background, but it was overproduced, synthetic, not very good and on a twenty-minute loop. Could have been the Orientation soundtrack, which you can actually buy. Had one song which nicked half the riff from "Blackbird" by the Beatles. I dunno. Any ideas? Email me.
Went up for the results. As it turned out, I got a perfect Comm score! However, other parts came down a fair bit. Ron doesn't do all that well at his own test. Oh well. I managed to get high eighties or nineties in most things (some evil aberration in my suppressive nature caused me to lose my test sheet - d'oh!), but only 46 in Appreciation versus Criticality. This was apparently only held up that high by the high scores elsewhere on my test, and really it was waaay down on the chart and evidence of a severe problem which Dianetics and Scientology could doubtless help me with. (Funny, that.)
(The marking of the test, by the way, is ridiculously simple. There are ten categories; the first on the results sheet is marked on questions 1, 11, 21, etcetera, the second by questions 2, 12, 22, etcetera ... so, to up my Comm Level, I just had to do a good Ron on questions 10, 20, 30, etcetera. Easy when you know how.)
The marker didn't just work out my score, but at one point actually addressed a particular question I had answered (the one about getting bursts of energy that last several days). I spent a happy five minutes arguing the toss with her and explaining why the question was badly-phrased.
There are ways to steer the question session. The tester will ask you bluntly how you would like to improve your life. This is best answered by asking "So, how does that part of the test work?" It doesn't matter if your question is an utter non-sequitur; just keep steering the discussion.
The people inside the Org were quite nice and normal-looking kids (well, one or two were a bit odd). I didn't feel the urge to rip their throats out. No-one else came in for a test while I was there.
I think I've discovered the secret code word for terminating the sales talk after the Personality Test: say you're from out of town and in for the weekend, and no, you won't buy a copy of Dianetics right now because it'll just be another thing to carry back and you'll get one when you get back. No, really. But don't leave 'em crumbless - ask to have your name and address added to the mailing list. Give a false name and a reliable PO box. Get the crap and make fun of the best of it on a.r.s.
Went outside at around 3pm ... no sign of Tony. Call his mobile, no answer. Oh Gawd, he's gotten himself arrested already ...
Went down to a generic Burger Heaven to buy a lump of textured lard in a bun, tried Tony again and wandered back to the Org. He was there on the corner of Pitt and Castlereagh Streets, wearing his "$CIENTOLOGY[tm] IS A SCAM" sandwich board, with a cloud of Buddy Thetans hanging off him handing out copies of Freedom. (The mobile had been switched off. D'oh!) I wandered up and took a picture of the person taking a picture of him. (It was wonderfully routine: "Tony, could you pose for a picture again?" "Sure, no problem." Just tech. You know how it is.) Wandered off again to go sightseeing and shopping.
Tony had apparently started just before. He spoke to Henry Bartnik (community relations for the Cult) for about ten minutes beforehand, and patiently explained to Henry that the reason we were putting in a bonus day was that the clams' behaviour at the previous picket had been uncivilised and unacceptable. Henry said "Thank you" and went back inside.
Later, a clam screamed at Tony that his behaviour was illegal and criminal. Tony pointed out that there was a police station down the road and around the corner, and that she should fetch them. They came on down and told the clams that Tony wasn't doing anything illegal, and that he should not obstruct them or keep them from handing out their material. That was fine with Tony; and, in any case, no normal socialised human could read Freedom without seeing it for the work of mutant aliens that it is. I mean, really.
I came back around five and Stuart Riley from Brisbane was there wearing the sandwich board and handing out leaflets. I proceeded to help. Not quite the demonstrating outfit I was planning on - dressed in black, leather jacket, boots, sunglasses, unshaven, 6'4", 200lbs, meeean mood - but effective in the circumstances, I suppose. Tony returned and the three of us leafleted. Zed showed up about half past five and hung in the background observing. The clams picked him as a critic, but he just stood there observing and we didn't prompt him to go leafleting, so I think they were quite confused by the end.
I was shocked at the hostility in Sydney picketing. The Melbourne demos were so polite it was unbelievable; in Sydney, they were right in our fuckin' faces from the word 'go'. One guy expressed disappointment my hair wasn't purple as promised. ('S called seeking decent employment, dude. I don't really want to work for CoS scale.) You mean this all isn't a tea party for British gentlemen? Hmph.
I think the hostility in Sydney has to do with Tony's good works against the CoS. As well as doing the media, complaining about deceptive advertising, writing Government submissions and so on, Tony helps out people getting out of the Ch*rch with things like getting their money back. Like, quite a lot of money in some cases. This is enough reason for the Ch*rch to focus on CultAware as an organisation in severe need of handling.
(Incidentally, Tony takes no money for this, instead spending a great deal of his own and not asking for reimbursement. Why? Because this is what he does. It's his task in making the world a better place. The CoS cannot get their heads around this, and so ... postulate ... large 'deprogramming fees' ending up in his wallet. This is because they are fuckheads. But I guess you'd already figured that.)
I had an annoying twit we christened Bruce the Pomeranian attach himself to me. (Pomeranian: a breed of small, annoying dog that yaps continuously and makes all non-dog-lovers want to drop-kick it seventy yards through the uprights.) This obnoxious turd spent his time getting in my face and going, "What crimes have you committed? What crimes? What crimes? What crimes? What crimes? What crimes? What crimes? What don'cha want us to know? Huh? Huh? What don'cha want us to know? Huh?" He acted like he'd been doing a bit much of TR-Headbutt-Concrete.
I ignored him after a while. But he was bloody annoying. He was a foot shorter than me so I got to clout him repeatedly about the head with my shopping bag (contained nothing harder than music fanzines ... a pity), which was fun.
The important thing is to be able to deal with the clams and still hand out leaflets - handle them whilst not being handled by them. Stuart and Tony did quite well with their sandwich boards (this giving them two free hands each - and they got Bruce with the corners of the boards). I was a foot taller than everyone and had a louder voice, so that got across to people on the opposing kerbs. Both teams waited for the waves of pedestrians crossing the roads. I tried to prepare them suitably: "Scientology is a Scam! Find out the Truth about the Lying Cult of Greed! Get your anti-Scientology leaflets here! We can't stand 'em! Find out why Scientology Sucks! Get yer leaflets here! Get yer leaflets here!" Stuart just repeated, "We are Anti-Scientology! Get your anti-Scientology leaflet!" the whole time. Tony didn't spruik, just handed out leaflets and chatted to people and clams. So excuse me if the following primarily features me, but I put a lot of effort into blessing the afternoon with a varying SubGenius Preach-A-Thon.
It was quitting time on a Friday and all these pedestrians were on their way home; about one in ten picked up a pamphlet. Almost all who took a Freedom took one of our pamphlets. The pamphlet was not the one detailed above, but a shorter one on deceptive recruiting that Tony uses a lot (will post later); a half-A4, one-sided, quick and simple.
Bruce: "What's the definition of Scientology? Huh? What is it? What is it?"
Me: "Get yer Leaflets Here! Scientology, the Lying Nut-Cult of Greed! We think they're crooks!"
Bruce: "Why'ncha answer? Huh? Huh? Why? Answer me. Why?"
Me: "Because you aren't my stat." This got rid of him for a short while.
Managed to get Bruce a bewdy at one point and coincidentally discovered a whole new TR-SP:
"Bruce, tell us a joke."
"A joke? A joke? Why d'you wanna joke?"
"Come on, tell me a joke. A JOKE. Prove you have a sense of humour. Just ONE JOKE."
Bruce ran away. Another guy (a real obnoxious arsehole in a black rain jacket) was hassling Tony, so I tried TR-Joke on him too. Worked a treat - he immediately left Tony alone and started hassling me. I spent about FIVE MINUTES taking the piss out of him and trying to get him to tell me a joke, ANY joke.
"Why, why should I tell you a joke?"
"Tell me a joke. I think Scientology removes your sense of humour; prove me wrong. Tell me a joke. ANY joke."
"Well ... what does that prove? You tell me a joke."
"No, you first. Prove you know a joke."
(and so on, for about five minutes)
"Look ... um ... forget the jokes, let's just go down the pub, have a beer and talk about this ..."
(I'll go down the pub with you when hell freezes over. The only thing you'll drink with my involvement is my personal Budweiser, matey. )
Told him and Bruce to get a joke book, learn a SINGLE SOLITARY JOKE, and come back and tell me it tomorrow. JUST ONE. Oh boy. Wonder if they will.
From then on, my spruiking harped on one theme. "The Evil, Lying Death Cult that is a Scam, a Ripoff AND has NO SENSE OF HUMOUR! Take a leaflet and see for yourself!" This doubled my leaflet stats. Pointing at Bruce and saying, "This guy is a Humourless Cultie! Scientology removes your sense of humour!" That sort of thing.
Clam: "You know, we've been getting a lot more people in while you've been demonstrating!"
Me: "No worries. We'll be back tomorrow then so you keep doing so well."
Another good TR-SP: "Find out about Scientology, the Religion invented by the Worst Science Fiction Writer in the World!"
Bruce (incensed): "What? What? What? He's the most popular in the world! If he's the worst, why's he so popular? Huh? Huh?"
Me: "Scientology ruins your Literary Taste! Get your leaflet on the Evil Cult Scam!"
I raved on a bit about how Scientology Rots Your Teeth, using L. Ron as proof. Remember, he refused to go under the anaesthetic because he was afraid of getting engrams. They weren't very happy about this.
Bruce tried to jump up and grab the leaflets out of my hand (this had already worked on Tony at one point, after which he pulled them out of his pocket twenty-five at a time); I proceeded to use my height, raising them so he would jump for them. And he did! "C'mon, fish! Fish! Jump!" I think he didn't like this much. Way too much TR-Headbutt-Concrete.
I love Bruce and want to see him lots and lots. He's fun.
I think I mentioned Xenu and body thetans at some point, because they were pissing me off a whole lot. Tomorrow. Youse guys are gonna get it tomorrow. I pull out the 'Revolt In The Stars' leaflet tomorrow. Just you wait.
Finally ran out of leaflets around half-past-five or so.
Me: "Well, dammit, Bruce, I have to admit: you were right and I was wrong. We're going to go away now. Your theta has wiped out our suppressiveness, just the way it's supposed to. I'm really upset. You've caved us in."
Bruce: "Uh ... uh ..."
Me: "By the way, you should get those copies of Freedom out of that bin over there. That's valuable theta information and you're letting people get garbage all over it."
And so home to post-mortem, write this report and prepare for Saturday.
On the way down Park Street, Tony was still wearing his sandwich boards, and some incensed Scientologist came up and tried to rip his board off him. I jumped at the guy (shouting "That's an assault charge, that's an assault charge") and he jumped back and reconsidered his move (see above description of me). I got a few photos of him that are definitely going up on the Web page (though, being the well-trained Scientologist he is, he was quick enough to pull his jacket up for a couple of them). Someone passed by and told him to leave it and get to work. Evening org worker? Hmm. The senior staff are definitely interested in things not getting nasty; there is no such thing as good publicity for the Church of Scientology in Australia.
However, this behaviour was sufficiently unacceptable to Tony to move him to another day's picketing. I hope the Sydney org will put the staffer in question into a suitable ethics condition for pulling this in.