Today was the last day of the Republican National Convention. I’ve spent the last week watching the media watch the protesters slowly ripen in the Florida sun, then hurry back to television studios to transform images of the sad, stinking, minuscule, drum-banging, shouting debacle into images of noble massings of freedom fighters — using no tool other than the magic of media bias.
Much of this bias depends upon behaving as if the protesters are victims, rather than instigators of violence and authors of every last one of their own problems. The New Yorker’s Nathaniel Stein wins the prize for the most fictional imagining of non-existent police cruelty. I have not and will not be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but Stein’s whiney attempt at protester pathos certainly sounds like it — sounds like channeling cheap S & M porn. That is the really offensive thing: how the protesters are exhibitionists; how they force the rest of us to deal with them acting out on the streets.
Remember when civil disobedience meant you got arrested to make a point, and didn’t whine about it? Not anymore.
The media worked extremely hard to whitewash the protesters’ behavior and message. But thanks to endless egos and the magic of the internet, there’s a factual record. Tonight, protesters live-streamed themselves flailing around Tampa shouting “One Two Three Four, It’s a F*****g Class War; Five, Six Seven, Eight, Organize To Smash The State” . . . interspersed by incredibly embarrassing comments scotching the live feed — lots of metrosexual chest-puffery and breathless self-congratulation, hysteria about “safety in numbers” though the police were patiently humoring them, and the occasional butchering of a Woody Guthrie song.
They chanted “Get those animals off those horses” about the police.
They chanted “Let’s Dance Anarchy” while jumping up and down. Yet, they’re clearly older than 18.
They blew weirdly emasculating noisemakers.
And they wonder why nobody shows up anymore.
Not that you’ll hear or see any of that on the evening news.
Plus, their puppet sucks.
One of the things that struck me this week was the difference between young protesters and young cops. Tattooed, druggy, dirty, self-indulgent, screeching, potty-mouthed kids versus clean-cut, earnest, polite, healthy-looking, disciplined, serious kids. This does not reflect well on the Left.
I heard several police officers express concern for the protesters. They brought them food and watched to make sure the naive runaways among them didn’t end up tangling with the more unhinged homeless people sharing tents with them at the camps.
In return, the protesters screamed “pigs” at the police and complained that they weren’t handing out enough free water. “One bottle is pathetic,” someone sneered.
Enough with the patience and prudence. It’s time for tough love for these infants. Or, at least, accurate coverage by the media.
Speaking of which, I was downtown at the Citizens United tent at the RNC today, watching the premiere of Occupy Unmasked. The filmmakers had graciously invited Medea Benjamin from Code Pink to see the premiere, which was nice enough, but it meant that the rest of the audience had to be subjected to Benjamin blathering on self-importantly during the Q & A. There’s such a thing as being too nice: the woman is unhinged.
At the same time, and likely in collusion with Code Pink, a busload of protesters tried to invade the Apollo Beach power plant near my home.
If you or I did these things, we’d be arrested. But the protesters have created pressures that force the rest of us to babysit them. This is the essence of the Occupy movement: radical dependency projected outward on society. Performative dependency consisting of childish actions and shrieks that escalate until we’re forced to react.
After invading the power plant, protesters used chains, superglue and PVC to handcuff themselves together on the pavement. Police had to get tools and cut them apart. That’s our tax dollars dripping away in a tidal wave of adolescent stupidity.
If you’re not going to arrest them, just leave them to bake on the Florida asphalt. They won’t do it twice.
A curious thing about the Apollo Beach power plant: the warm water running from its drainpipes makes an appealing environment for manatees. The result is a strange symbiosis of nature and human energy production. What would it take for activists to stop seeing the human world as a purely evil place?
Manatees at the Apollo Beach Power Plant
Here’s a nice image to close out the Republican National Convention. A police officer rescuing a baby squirrel.
Because, you know, that’s the way police are.