A new form of political protest has emerged: the flying penis.
Former world chess champion turned Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov has been on the receiving end of an unconventional prank launched by his political foes - one that draws its inspiration from the virtual world of Second Life.
Kasparov was attending a weekend meeting of a coalition of opposition groups which had assembled in Moscow to launch a symbolic alternative parliament. As he was addressing the gathering of more than 500 delegates, he was buzzed by a remote-controlled flying phallus.
Kasparov handled the situation well:
After the security guard swatted it to the ground, Kasparov says, "I think we have to be thankful for the opposition's demonstration of the level of discourse we need to anticipate. Also, apparently most of their arguments are located beneath the belt." Someone in the audience shouts, "Finally the political power shows its face!" Kasparov quickly replies, "Well, if that's its face..." to laughter from the audience.
What's also interesting is that this disruption tactic apparently originated in the cyber world, a 2006 attack in Second Life, as explained here:
Virtual real estate tycoon Anshe Chung has been forced to abandon a public forum inside the 3-D online world of Second Life after virtual vandals - known as griefers - launched a phalanx of flying phalluses.
Anshe, a former language teacher from China whose real name is Ailin Graef, was appearing inside the virtual world at an event hosted by the online technology news publisher CNET.