They have even set up a seemingly untraceable telephone number where they sometimes take calls, and have a voicemail message where the group’s ostensible leader greets callers in a fake French accent saying: “You have reached the whistle box of Pierre Dubois. We are not present right now because we are busy ruining your Internet. Leave a message, and we will get back to you whenever we can.”
From all indications, their motivations are cheeky thrills, not fortune. In a failed marketing stunt last week, computer security firm Black & Berg challenged hackers to modify the image on their homepage if they could, and offered a $10,000 prize and a job to anyone able to do so. LulzSec did it in no time, posting their monocled mascot and writing “DONE, THAT WAS EASY. KEEP YOUR MONEY WE DO IT FOR THE LULZ.”
Why So Serious?
Absurdist performance art can be destructive, however. As some have pointed out, the literary analogy that must be made is to the character of the Joker, played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight). His only motivation in the film seems to be pushing Batman’s buttons. This is something the caped crusader can’t understand, and in a pivotal scene Batman’s trusty butler Alfred, played by Michael Caine, explains:
Alfred: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
This raises the question, who is the rule-bound and moralistic Batman in the analogy? Is it the corporate and governmental authorities LulzSec has attacked? Or might it even be Anonymous itself, which LulzSec has begun to antagonize.
Not So Simple?
Some think there’s more to it than LulzSec lets on.