Posts Tagged ‘Protests’

I planned on composing a long diatribe about the Occupy Wall Street – my thoughts on the protest, the press coverage, all the while bashing the nail of poverty and homelessness with a large Whack-A-Mole style mallet. But this morning, while dog walking in the dark and collecting my thoughts; I started to think that just bashing away with that padded carnival hammer would lead to a lot missed or unsubtle points. More importantly, though, I risked the possibility a few wild ricochets would bounce up to smack me in the nose. And I cannot afford to have that big thing smacked.

So instead of that, you get this: A few weeks ago, when Mindy Fisher was in town, we were waiting to cross Geary at Laguna. Standing next to his duffle bag, dressed in a slightly dirty white sweater, a purple shirt and a bold red tie, was a man holding up a small cardboard, professional looking protest sign. I had seen him a few times before this. He always stood right by the 39 bus stop – kind of moving between the garbage can and the tree, depending on the flow of traffic, strangely moving closer to the moving cars than the ones stopped at a red light.

The first time I saw him, maybe a month before, he was wearing a loose fitting gray suit. And the sign was just a piece of notebook paper. As I approached, I could read the side facing me – USA OUT OF LIBYA! It was written in furiously applied scribbly ink pen. The other side was a dense and illegible treatise on something. The words flowed over crudely drawn illustrations.

As he held this paper up for the world to see, it curled over and buckled in the slightest breeze. But his commitment was unflagging. The ineffectual communication of his message was overshadowed by his intense desire to share it.

 About a week later he was back on the corner. Only this time, his notebook sign was stuffed into a plastic binder sheet protector. Plus his message was now neatly printed in bold black magick marker. Or at least the USA OUT OF LIBYA! was, while the other side of complicated exposition was still a jumble of arrows, crude figures, and wild text. The poly sheet cover added some rigidity which helped in the curling and buckling.

This solitary protester looked slightly off, his hair a nest of greasy curls, while his clothes, where ill fitting but mostly clean. But there was something vague about him, fuzzy around the edges, and the way his eyes never focused gave him that ‘possibly coming off his meds’ look.

So when Mindy and I passed him on our way across the street, I was delighted to see that his protest had entered a new phase. He held up a legal size, typeset, multicolor poster. It was even attached to a small stick, so he no longer had to delicately worry about holding the edges so as not to obstruct the sign.

The USA OUT OF LIBYA had morphed into a clearer delineation – CIA OUT OF LIBYA. A clarification necessitated by the fact that the USA was never IN Libya. At least not in the way the sign implied. Plus the real crux of this gentleman’s protest rationale was finally revealed by the readability of the reverse side.

Printed in large block letters and illustrations of people that looked to have just jumped off a Slow PED-XING sign, the message was clear. See that black satellite up above the human figure. Now follow the very brightly colored red lightning strikes aimed at the man’s limbs. See how the rays seep in and animate the man’s body so he can no longer control his movements. This process of space puppetry explained the Libyan protests. These rebels were not really unhappy, they were being manipulated by the CIA space satellites to attack and overthrow their government.

The simplicity of the illustrations, along with the lucidity of the explanation, made me smile. I commented to Mindy that I am sure that some public librarian, somewhere, helped him make that sign. 

I think this is a great illustration of how I see the Occupy Wall Street protests. I would hope the next time I see this guy on the corner, his message has adapted to the new situation on the ground – namely the overthrow of the Libyan regime. I mean, I hope he does not give up that easy.


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