20 March 2008

How do you make a Rick-Roll?

You push him down a hill, presumably.

It's Brother the Elder's birthday today, and since I doubt there'll be any cake on the go in the Gargoyle house today, I hope he'll enjoy this charming pie chart. I first saw it, thanks to Mr Linehan, resplendent in glorious technicolor over at Why, That's Delightful!

I'm quite taken by the diagram, I have to say, and have been proliferating it a bit since I saw it the other day. Not surprising, I suppose, considering my weakness for ingenious pie charts and Venn diagrams.

I passed it on to NMRBoy, himself a big fan of Ben Fold's rather delightful take on perhaps the most offensive song known to man - many's the time I dared him to play it at a formal hall concert, and even now I think that should be part of any ultimate deal we have to make. Trust me, it's not the weirdest dining hall fantasy I've had.

Anyway, on looking at the Rick Astley diagram, NMRBoy replied with the cryptic observation that he had once seen something similar on a wildlife park sign, before adding 'And had you heard the term "rickrolling"?'
'Er... no?'
'It's deceiving someone into clicking a link that points to Rick. Quite the sport, I believe.'
'Hoho,' I chortled, as one does on t'internet.
'I think Rick Astley is the poor man's equivalent of Bill Watterson,' he added. 'Never jumped the shark; quit while he was ahead.'
'Wow, ' I replied, thinking this a comparison more audacious than calling Suzanne Shaw the poor man's Hannah Spearritt, 'That's quite an analogy.'
'It may be stretching a bit,' he conceded.
'Ever so slightly.'

Anyway, as is the way of these things, yesterday's Guardian had a fine feature on Rick-Rolling, culminating in an amusing tale of how the unassuming Mr Astley is being deployed as a human bomb against the forces of Scientology.

'...Rick-rolling has begun to permeate the mainstream. It comes mostly courtesy of Anonymous, a diffuse group of hackers and activists who have declared war on the Church of Scientology in an initiative called Project Chanology. Organised without official leaders or hierarchy, Project Chanology manifests itself in Denial Of Service attacks against Scientologist websites, stupid YouTube videos, and in-person protests at Scientologist centres worldwide.

At recent protests in New York, Washington, London and Seattle, masked protesters held up boomboxes and chanted the Stock Aitken Waterman lyrics which Astley made famous. "Never gonna let you down!" they roared, in a live rick-rolling of the Church of Scientology.

Their cleverest move however is at AnonymousExposed.org, a website created this week that perfectly mimics the subtly different Anonymous-Exposed.org, created by Scientologists as an indictment of Anonymous' "cyber-crimes". Of course instead of showing an anti-Anonymous documentary, the mimic site displays - well, we'll let you have a guess.

But the final word goes to Rick Astley himself. Click here to watch our exclusive interview with Astley. The singer, now 42, has forceful words for Anonymous, Scientologists, and all those who have prolonged the rick-roll phenomenon.'

Click here indeed.

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