a picket at the $cientology building in San Francisco
Suppressives: phr, Peaches, Lady Jane, and me
Date/Time: 8/1/98, about 12:15 until about 1:45
Handouts: fliers ("Don't Be A Sucker", "Why I Picket", criminal allegations, Lisa, Xenu), suckers, Attorney General postcards
Tools: sign, disposable camera, tape recorder, bag-o-suckers
Weather: sunny and warm
Foot Traffic: steady
Street Traffic: steady
Scn Response: mostly ignored us
General Passerby Response: very favorable
Stats: 37 suckers and 58 sucker fliers; 1 "Why" fliers; 10 Lisa fliers; 6 Xenu fliers; 29 Attorney General postcards; 7 "is $cn breaking the law" fliers
(stats include 3 or 4 Lisa, Xenu, and sucker fliers I gave my family andfriends this week)
Note: as I do NOT have perfect memory, any quotes below are very close paraphrases. I apologize for any inadvertent inaccuracies and will try to correct any errors that are pointed out to me.
Peaches, phr, phr's friend Lady Jane, and I put in excellent 1 1/2 hour picket at the San Francisco org on McAllister. It was quite warm for San Francisco. Despite the heat, Peaches wore another of her lovely professional-looking suits (black, with a white jacket). Phr, possibly in response to a previous comment of mine about geek chic, came dressed in a very spiffy critic t-shirt, possibly from a '95 picket - it had "SP" and something about either xenu.net or arscc on the back, and "When they came for the Communists, I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist ... " on the front. I, of course, was in my trademark red picketing jammies.
My sunscreen got in my eyes ... the result of unfriendly intention beams?
THE PRE-PICKET PICKET
As I got on the bus, a lady asked me about my picket sign; I gave her a flier and she thanked me for picketing, saying a friend of hers had been involved in $cn in the past. As I continued past her, she turned to her seatmate and said, "Did I ever tell you about my friend ...?" I was pleased to have sparked a discussion.
The gentleman sitting next to me asked me about my picket, too, and we talked quite a bit about $cn before my stop.
As I was walking to the org, a gentleman at a hotel asked me about my sign and took a few fliers. Like several others on today's picket, he had a bit of an accent. He was probably a GERMAN!
When I arrived at the org, I only saw a couple of smokers standing out front - no stress test table and no body router. Peaches arrived about five minutes after I did (with the same sign as before, despite her vows to make a new one). Next came Lady Jane, phr's friend, and phr joined us a little closer to 1 pm.
NO NO NO - I'M *PROTESTING* $CIENTOLOGY
I've noticed before that people seemed reluctant to take my fliers at first, until I clarified that I was PROTESTING $cn, not proselytizing for $cn. This trend was even more pronounced today - but with many of them, I was able to clarify my position, and then they gladly took fliers. (It's tough to get the message across in the few seconds of attention you have. I might have to add a little patter, a la the Brits and the Canadians, and tell people right up front "I'm protesting $cn" before asking "Would you like a flier?")
One gentleman was sitting in a pickup in front of the org with his window open, watching me. After a few minutes, I offered him a flier. He declined, saying, "I'm a Scientologist." "Oh. Good." says I.
IF LOOKS COULD KILL
Shortly after I arrived, Mr. Get-Your-Facts-Straight walked by. I gave him a friendly smile and wished him a good afternoon, but he kept a neutral-to-nasty look on his face and just walked past, into the cafe next to the org.
He was the only Scientologist I recognized - although I think the young man working at the front desk MIGHT have been the same one who asked us to stay on the sidewalk last time.
LIFE IS SECURE WITH LADY JANE
(irrelevant quote from a Stones song)
Lady Jane spent a good deal of time talking with Peaches and talking with me (we were doing a pretty good job of not clumping, so we didn't have much of a group conversation). She told me about a guy who had been the executive director of the East Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. She said he had been spreading Hubbard management tech, and that he was a real jerk. She said he had been caught doing improper things with the finances, and that when people began asking questions, he started investigating THEM. Sounds pretty familiar, eh?
I gave Lady Jane a few sucker fliers and lollipops and some Attorney General postcards. She did an excellent job of giving them all away.
WHEN YOU SMILE FOR THE CAMERA, I KNOW YOU'RE GONNA LOVE IT
(slightly relevant Steely Dan quote)
A young Scientologist stood in the doorway and took my photo a couple of times while I was walking with Lady Jane. I smiled and waved. He apparently declined to take a photo of Peaches. I hope she didn't feel left out.
Not long after this, my tape recorder fell out of its little holder on my picket sign. Fortunately, it was completely undamaged.
A MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY
We always get interesting stories from people when we picket.
One gentleman said he had gone in and taken a personality test, and the evaluator had come back and started yelling at him, loud enough for everyone to hear, calling him names and I guess accusing him of not filling out the test accurately. He wasn't terribly enthusiastic about getting involved with $cn after that.
Another gentleman said he had taken a personality test a long time ago in Cambridge. He started filling out the test and realized it was taking a really long time, so he decided he wasn't that interested and started to leave. He said the Scientologists physically blocked the door and tried to get him to finish the test. He managed to get past them, but was unfavorably impressed, to say the least.
One gentleman who came by asked us, "Why don't you go to work?"
Geez, mister. It's SATURDAY. (I know Peaches and I had both been hard at work all week, and I'm guessing phr and Lady Jane were, too.)
A couple of lovely transvestites came by and spent several minutes talking with us. One of them said she worked at Finocchio's (the famed drag club). I wanted to give them one of my Why fliers, which has the reference to the Dianetics quote saying that homosexuals and "all down the list of Kraft-Ebbing" are perverts and should not be tolerated. I couldn't find any of my Why fliers, but fortunately, Peaches had one. (I discovered later that I had dropped them in my bookbag.)
One gentleman said he thought "all they do is read in there". I wonder if he was mixing them up with a Christian Science Reading Room. (I once asked Darlene, in email, if $cn has a reading room, like the Christian Scientists, and she said no.) He declined my fliers.
Peaches and Lady Jane got into a lengthy conversation with a gentleman who had a very large belt buckle. I didn't hear much of that conversation; maybe Peaches will fill us in.
Q & A
As usual, there were lots of opportunities to answer questions from those who took our fliers. One gentleman asked me who Lisa was (I'm not sure whether he read her name on my sign, or on the Lisa flier I have taped to my flier-holder). I gave him a Lisa flier and told him that she had died in $cn's custody. He saw how much money she had spent and said, "So these are all rich people, huh." I explained Lisa's work for a $cn-owned company and the possibility of money laundering, and got to tell him about the money taken out of her account after her death. (I also got to tell him about Wayne having spent over $150,000 before he blew and started picketing.)
Another gentleman was very interested in the scientific angle (the lack of real science in $cn), so we had a lot of ARC. ;-) We discussed the scientific claims in DMSMH and other $cn lit at length. He said he's HIV positive and working for the rights of AIDS patients, so he didn't want to get too involved in protesting $cn, but he was happy to take a bunch of literature and send a postcard to the attorney general.
The gentleman from last time (the one who thought $cn was breaking divine law but wasn't sure about US law) came by and spent quite a bit of time talking with me. I made sure I was still able to give out plenty of fliers, which meant that I interrupted our conversation quite a lot, but he was very patient and waited for me to finish my other conversations.
He comes across as something of a spiritual seeker. I believe he was in $cn in the late 60's, and has been involved in other religious movements in the meantime.
He started by asking whether I knew of any attorneys who were taking on $cn on human rights grounds. I told him I only knew a little bit about the lawsuits and lawyers, but I mentioned the little I did know - I mentioned Graham Berry and MoFo and Ken Dandar, but told him I didn't really keep up with the legal battles.
He then wanted to discuss levels of consent, and how much consent Scientologists gave to whatever happened to them. As we talked, I pointed out the difference between informed consent, uninformed consent, and consent based on lies (also known as fraud). I also mentioned that consent, once given, can be withdrawn, and that in my opinion, Lisa had withdrawn her consent to be governed by $cn codes, since she had tried to leave.
I think Peaches and phr were a little worried that I might have a handler, but I think this guy was just a guy with an interest in these issues. In any case, I'm usually interested in dialog, even with people who are trying to handle me, and I'm pretty careful about what I say, even with my co-picketers.
I thought it was one of our most successful pickets in quite a while. I was pleased to have handed out so many fliers and to have had so many chances to give people more information about $cn, and it was great to hang out with Peaches, phr, and Lady Jane.
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.