Sunday, August 29, 2004

ALICUBLOG ON THE MARCH! I’m not a protest type of guy, and tend to stand out in such crowds like Travis Bickle at a Palantine rally. Nonetheless I hauled my carcass over to Union Square this morning to see what the hubbub was about.

Like most attendees, I didn’t pay much attention to the speakers; the few I caught dished out the usual platitudes, though I admired the woman who bravely asserted after a catalogue of complaints, "When we run society, this kind of thing will not be allowed to happen!"

I was handed enough pamphlets and periodicals to wallpaper a small house, including The Revolutionary Worker, Solidarity News, 1917 (The Journal of the International Bolshevik Tendency), and a bilingual flyer for lunatic millionaire politician Abe Hirschfeld, who vowed to "end police brutality" in whatever post he’s running for this time. The LaRouche people were there too, bless them, still telling all voters willing to read dozens of pages of fine print that our troubles began with Jeremy Bentham, the Abbe Antonio Conti, and the Treaty of Ghent.

Someone was filming what appeared to be a student film: a handheld camera operator circled a young woman in a jean jacket as she looked around at the protestors. The NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit was also filming. The participants provided lively footage. A ring of Philadelphians clad in black and pink led some anti-Bush cheers. One of them wore a shirt that read, "When I say Gender, you say Fuck." That remains my favorite shirt of the day (though the plaintive "I Still Hate George W. Bush" is up there, too). Even a few of the park bums got in on the act; "Bush gotta go, Bush gotta go," repeated a scrawny man shuffling around with a framed Saturday Evening Post cover under his arm.

When it got around noon I headed down 14th to Seventh Avenue, which was so clogged that we didn’t get moving for about thirty minutes. I shambled along awhile behind a man got up as a Greek Orthodox priest who carried a double-faced placard: the standard UPJ sign on one side, a beautiful gilt-edged print of "Our Mother of Sorrows" cradling the World Trade Center on the other. There were lots of signs around -- hell, people were leaving them by the roadside, and others were picking them up -- ranging from hunks of cardboard with scrawls to classy evil-elephant and Bush-looking-stupid print jobs, along with banners, Bush effigies, and balloons, some of which flew up into the sky to float among the police helicopters.

At 24th Street we passed an impromptu press gallery perched on a construction platform. (A lone Reuters cameraman, too heat-exhausted perhaps to climb, lounged on the sidewalk.) One of the photogs shouted, "Y’all look wonderful!" which raised a great cheer.

There were plenty of cameras within the crowd as well, generally trained on the grungiest protestors and most inflammatory signs. If you want to see that sort of thing, you know where to go.

Eventually I found myself behind a contingent from SIAFU. Never heard of them before (I think they’re these guys), but they were all in purple shirts proclaiming that they were "coming after the elephant and the ass," just in case you thought this was a Kerry rally. They danced in place and got some hearty chants going – "Who we are (who we are) we are the stu-dents (we are the stu-dents) mighty mighty stu-dents…" Other chants, mostly of the "Hey hey, ho ho" variety, popped up along the way.

The crowd was getting bunched up round 25th Street and some of the organizers sprang into action to regulate the flow -- young, mostly female, red bandanas tied on their arms, they linked hands across the avenue and held the pace. Very neatly done. If you want to know why moderates march with fringe groups, it's because the fringe groups know their shit.

Up in the 30s there was no getting out of it -- all the sidewalks and sidestreets were blocked off by metal gates and cops, who seemed attentive but relaxed; a number of them lounged in chairs inside the closed Blimpies at 30th, gazing out at us as if we were a dull TV show and the remote were too far away for them to change the channel.

I went around on this ride twice, and both times the crowd was thinner in front of MSG and on 34th Street – another bright organizational move, relieving tension at a critical juncture (and in the teeth of hundreds of cops). The chanting and booing there were light, there being nothing but police and convention security to yell at. Gaggles of Pro-Bush protestors provided some of the more argumentative marchers with targets at 33rd and Seventh and at 34th and Broadway (again, if you want to see pictures of them -- and claims that they outnumbered or were prettier than the anti-Bush protestors -- you can always go to Instapundit), but most of the crowd seemed to realize that the sheer mass of the march was the message – though everyone voiced loud displeasure at footage of Bush on the giant TV screen on Macy’s south side.

And then we were heading back downtown, with lots of elbow room, and then we were done. On East 14th Street, kids were hauling their boxes into the NYU dorms for the Fall session.

It all went very smoothly, which, given that I have personal experience of how these things can sometimes go, is how I prefer it.

UPDATE. For the visually inclined, there's a nice sequence of protest photos at FSHK.

For crap, go here and the vicinity. "The most disenchanted, dissheveled youth out of the leftest-wing of college campuses"? I don't just call but also certify bullshit. Most of the crowd looked like typical New Yorkers (sounded like them too -- most of the conversations were about where they were going to eat afterwards), Sunday-casual but by no means dissheveled. (Speaking of bullshit, Brookhiser somehow gets twenty pounds of it into his five-pound bag. As a sometime English tutor, I advise him that if he's going to refer to "the only other American flag I spotted," he should clearly indicate where he saw the first one. Reading The Corner's always a nuisance; contextual-reading it is just too much trouble.)

UPDATE 2. Even more lovely pictures here, here, and here. (The first two may cause you trouble if you have a dial-up connection; Margaret, ever polite, taxes your baud rate less.)

Over at The Corner (allegedly from Rick "Dogs and Dogs, Living Together!" Santorum*, but probably crafted by a crack team of GOP speechwriters): "Meanwhile, for the other America, I saw a woman wearing a visored cap with a W on it going out of Bergdorf Goodman." As literary epiphanies go, this is about the worst I've ever seen.

UPDATE 3. Now is a good time to recall Adam Brodsky's insane New York Post article from a week ago: "How fitting it would be if city natives held their own protests and spoke up for themselves, in support of an even tougher War on Terror, both at home and abroad...How satisfying to see locals, who have endured terror first-hand, step up and tell the pacifists to get with the program and defend America." To paraphrase Junior Kimbrough, things haven't worked out for poor Adam. If you are a student of abnormal psychology, his whole column is worth a read, but this will do for wingnut joy-poppers: "Yet even cops and firefighters, New York's last line of defense, are threatening illegal job actions, in the hopes of -- get this! -- winning a raise. (Talk about a lack of patriotism.)" No wonder the cops were relatively chill today.

UPDATE 4. I expected OpinionJournal, one of the moonbats' fave caves, to come up with a honey for Protest Day, and they gave me an article by Larry Gatlin:
Since Bruce Springsteen is about to "Rock the Vote" for John Kerry, I'd be only too happy to start booking my motel rooms to hit the road for George W. Bush. With my brothers Steve and Rudy, my buddies the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and any number of other country music artists who get their support from the heartland, I'm going to find the time, come fall, to tell America that we're playing, and praying, for President Bush.
I like the Gatlin Brothers a lot, and looked forward to their invasion of this bluest of blue towns. Alas, check out Gatlin's tour dates for the remainder of 2004. Still, I guess Bush will have the Branson vote covered.

UPDATE 5. Just in case you were wondering what the Bush base thought about all this:
That [an anti-Fox sentiment] certainly seemed to be the most popular chant. I wonder what peercentage of the wackos were homofascists? Seemed tons were carrying rainbow signs. -- Guillermo

As far as I'm concerned, they should march every one of those bastards around the hole that once was the World Trade Center to give them the clue as to what appeasment gave us. -- Gunner03

The Vietnam War was won in 1968 but it was traitors like Kerry and Fonda who lost it at home. -- CROSSHIGHWAYMAN

Most of them are not employed in jobs like the rest of us. IF they work at all, they work on their computers, thinking up ways of protesting and terrorising your average American citizen... -- Curlewbird (They got us there! - RE)

BuBush went to war defeat terror and avenge what happened to New
York...NY repays him by overwhelmingly supporting was a mistake to hold the convention in this City of Ingrates. --BushBacker (There too! -- RE)

Couldn't you see Sadam, Stalin, Lenin putting up with the likes of today? It would be so sad if not so ironic.Yesiree...Higher Education at its best... -- TwoBits

WI naively believed that when the rest of the country rushed to New York's aid, despite the contempt that many New Yorkers feel for :flyover country," that something might change... In the end, liberalism trumps everything, even simple gratitude. -- BushBacker (Thanks for nothing, asshole. -- RE)

Ain't it the truth! My father-in-law was a retired Army captain who spent several years in a POW camp in Germany. His liberalism was so overpowering that he actually voted for Bill Clinton! His family is from the Boston area and they are dyed in the wool liberals. You're got to wonder what there is about liberalism that allows it to trump almost any other factor. -- jwrjr

I SUSPECT a "Large Portion" of these "Protesters" are "On the Public Dole;" I DOUBT THAT Most of the "Anti-Bush" Protesters in NYC are "Gainfully Employed!" Who Has the Time to Go to NYC for a "Protest!!" -- Doc on the Bay (I work six days a week. On Sundays I tear America down. -- RE)

Heaven forbid should there be another terrorist attack on NYC because I for one w/n feel upset for these 'boobs' who have forgotten... -- Tarheel

And yet the Jews continue to vote Democrat. -- conservativegreatgrandma
Et alia ad nauseum in extremis. (As if you didn't know: all spelling and grammatical errors recorded intact.)

UPDATE 6. Did I call it, or did I call it? Jesus, what an asshole.

*UPDATE 7. They've fixed the Santorum reference at The Corner, attributing those idiotic remarks to Brookhiser. Might there have been a Protest Day mole at NRO? At this writing, a bold tag has been left open, rendering it even uglier than usual. Or maybe (this old HTML hound observes) the bad angle-slash-b-closeangle was done by Ned Flanders.

UPDATE VIII. Roger L. Simon sez: the protest made me feel like everyone was against me -- even the Korean who made my sandwich was acting just like Howell Raines -- until a cop and a fellow GOP shill made me believe in America again.

Pray hurry back to Hollywood to work with Michael Ledeen on Die Hard 2 Much, maaaan.

UPDATE THE NINTH. The RedState contingent has arrived in New York and already had trouble with "one angry black woman." Hopefully the first of many! (Hint to Tacitus and friends: you might try losing the Confederate flag bumper stickers.)

UPDATE DIEZ. Little Green Footballs says, "Only three years after September 11 blah blah blah blah..." Do they have only one brain, and pass it around?

UPDATE LEBENTY-LEBEN. Since James Lileks has devoted his Monday Bleat to some hometown reunion, the parade of protest assholes is hereby adjourned. G'night.

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