Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dancing on Graves

My brother wanted me to discuss a video from the 1980 cartoon Return of the King where some orcs sing "Where there's a whip, there's a way."

Instead, I'd like to metaphorically tie that in with this event that happened in the capital: It's really only 5 minutes long if your attention span is tested.

First of all, America isn't free. America presents itself as "Free" like Burger King presents its menu as "Food". I listened to a radio interview with Jonathan Simon a voting rights activist at the Election Defence Alliance.
Audio of the WSCA interview
Man, the lies that keep people under the boot are crazy. It's hard to know what to do when elections are not only bought and paid for but just to make sure our vote is worthless the candidates actually cheat. So, not only do you vote for people who lie in their campaign, misrepresent, suck more corporate cock than a high class hooker, and are basically thieves, but the fuckers have to rig the electronic ballots too. You can't win!

But, when I see some kids getting arrested at the Jefferson Memorial I have mixed emotions. First of all, it's a defacto demonstration because it doesn't protest anything.* It's antagonistic. They want to test the limits of free speech but they aren't actually sure what crime they are going to commit or what freedoms are being infringed until they do it. So, these aren't exactly modern day Martin Luther King activists sitting down at cafeteria benches to protest segregation. Specific goals are important in activism. This action seems very much like that "boarding" phenomenon where people take pictures of themselves laying flat in strange locations. The challenge is to do it in interesting places. Flash mod dancing is a similar phenomenon because you get to video tape it and post it on youtube and laugh a little. Flash mobs may be early rehearsal for the real revolution so they have some function. But the current challenge is to do it where there is risk involved and someone had the idea to go to the Jefferson Memorial (maybe the Lincoln Monument was closed for renovation?) The cops there are probably legitimately on guard against actual lunatics with bombs (while in a mall or McDonalds there is not the same threat or security) so their patience is about five seconds long...which is five seconds shorter than the average cop. So right there this is a disaster of a plan. If these cops drew their guns and shot five of these kids dead in order to "keep control" half the country would applaud and the other half would think it was a fake staged event or a trailer for a bad Sean Penn movie. A tiny minority would object in blogs that have no audience.

I feel that this is public property but it is also a memorial. Is it appropriate to be used as a prop for your narcissistic youtube video that clearly is empty activism?* No. Go in front of the White House. OR go somewhere a federal park patrolman with a gun is not going to warn you to leave. And, when the cop warns you to leave or face arrest, then don't be surprised if they arrest you. It's defacto activism because they are basically reacting to the warning and not to any political issue.* They couldn't even make a banner that says "Save The Ocean" or "Thomas Jefferson was Gay" to give some legitimate excuse to get arrested. No, their arrests were in defiance against the authority to arrest people. It's so muddled and pointless. A few blocks from there is a homeless camp where the cops don't arrest anyone! Basically, their desire to conquer the challenge to dance at the memorial was usurped by the cops' desire to maintain a controlled atmosphere which an appeals court ruled IS THEIR SWORN DUTY. Is this some kind of infringement of civil liberties? Let's examine that.

Here's an example: I firmly believe a major change has to take place in mankind's relationship with the environment if the Arctic wolves are to be saved. It's probably too late but I'll pretend there's hope. So, my plan is to raise awareness of the plight of the wolf through a trip to the arctic. It's important enough to take up two years of my life and the closest I've gotten is St. Louis. But, if I crossed the border illegally, something that you'll agree would be a totally harmless act when done for my purposes of reaching Ellesmere Island, then I'd be prosecuted as a federal criminal. My argument in court would be simple: "Your honor, there is no time for me to justify my plans to border police. We have to act today to save the wolves and I'm not going to let political fine print keep me from this mission. It's bigger than your laws and bigger than international borders."

Now, you'll agree that the salvation of an entire species of animal and the altering of mankind's relationship with the environment is more important than laws or international borders. (I seriously hope you agree) And you'll agree that by illegally crossing the border the only thing I've done is break a paper and ink law so we aren't talking about a major blow to Canadian Sovereignty. Am I still justified?

No. Maybe ethically I am justified but legally I'm wrong. The court would say no, there is no exemption for you, Mr. Bleacher, regardless of your self described "mission of wolf mercy". After two months in federal prison, you will serve a suspended 5 year sentence and be required to pay $15,000 in court fees, blah blah blah.

But what about the wolf? The wolf will be a footnote to my trial and my whole message will be obliterated by legalese. So, I must cross that border legally. I want Canada to welcome me with open arms even though I think it's insane that my mission is so hindered. And then I will proceed to make my video of the wolves.

So, the video of kids getting arrested actually made me laugh. They wanted to make an entertaining video and that is what they made. I particularly thought it was funny when the cop says, "This is your final warning" three or four times. hahaha. You will get three final warnings. This is your second first warning. Or when a kid says, "You hate freedom don't you?" Yeah, the cops all sit around the Washington Monument plotting the overthrow of America. They are anarchist secret agents! Revolutionary, it is not. The cops trampled on civil rights? No.
what do you think? One lawyer's opinion would be to challenge the definition of "dance" which sounds like my self-defense in the camping ban fiasco in Santa Cruz by challenging the definition of "sleep".**

Maybe I just don't care about people anymore.***

*The issue seemed to be that a recent appeals court decision declared monuments like TJ memorial places of "reflection and contemplation" not dancing or sleeping or fucking or killing. So, there might've been a point to this and I'm sure the appeals court is losing sleep that their decision caused such trauma and deprivation to these kids. Note: When the activity that gets you arrested is totally legal twenty feet away then it might be you that has the problem.

**I was embroiled in a lengthy legal battle to decriminalize poverty, specifically my poverty that led to my living rent free in the state park outside of Santa Cruz. I didn't try to get caught but the fuckers actually hunted me down with dogs deep in the forest one night. Here was a case of a city generating money with cops. But the plan backfired because most of the homeless people cited for illegal camping never paid their ticket and ended up using their bench warrant notice as toilet paper and suddenly an $82 ticket turned into a jail full of homeless people. This is one way California led to 30,000 people overflow in jails (although the private jail owners never blinked as they made money hand over fist thanks to Reagan and Bush Sr.) And it backfired even further because I personally cost that city thousands of dollars in court time and appeals and delays and making a total mockery of the court system always toeing the line of contempt with ragged clothes and a shaggy beard and long philosophical rants and a 40 page essay "IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY" that I submitted as my affirmation of my movement to dismiss the charges. The city attorney must've laughed his ass off reading that paper but he was required to type out a response which he summed up mostly with the words, "Conspicuously absent from Mr. Bleacher's essay is a clear argument against the law itself."
Anyway, the decriminalization of poverty is a huge issue with real complaints. When poverty leads to actions that are criminal (like sleeping in your car) then you are being victimized because of your bank account. No free country would fine someone with no money because they were sleeping in their car. The funny part is that I was only one of a dozen activists who were protesting the economic hierarchy in Santa Cruz. Our response was to intentionally sleep on the sidewalks or in cardboard boxes outside the city hall to protest the law. If every homeless person who got cited for camping did the same thing as us the whole court system would've collapsed. None of this did any good but it's going to make a unique book. You'll agree it's not as frivolous as dancing at a monument but ethically it's in the same ballpark.



donno said...

i have mixed feelings too, but i'm sort of leaning this way

i'm not talking about the fellas in blue polos and shorts when i say "what a bunch of douchebags."

just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should exercise it. "antagonists" is spot on.

i'm not so good at dealing with antagonists. were i a cop that day, i might have used my pepper spray. and i'm a free speech kind of guy. the cop didn't have an answer because he didn't know what dang law they were breaking, only that he wanted them the fuck out of there. i would have liked to see some of the other more respectful citizens manhandle those hipster fucks, because, you see, the cool thing about free expression is that you have to deal with how people will react to yours. go fuck yourself smarty pants. it's a place of reflection and contemplation, not midnight at happy wheels. how about me and my flashmob* go dance in your grandmother's mausoleum?

whatever. but if i catch you "mobbing" in graceland's meditation gardens, you've got bigger problems than the park police.

Anonymous said...

*flashmobs are gay.

Anonymous said...

The cop was even nice to them...he didn't even want to arrest them. He just wanted them to behave themselves.

Anonymous said...

Web I thought of posting this when I saw it. I have many others as I belong to NHLA, they keep me informed of such garbage. Jefferson was a bit of a button pusher himself. America has too much government, but on the other hand I would like a law too shut up Hardly Ableson loud pipes,small dick riders, that continuously tweak their little leather jacket covered wrists, everytime their self confidence needs a boost. I wouldn't tell anyone what they can do, but to clear them out, you could just yell "Free tie-dyes at the Mall!" I understand it's free spirit and all, but when one guy is cuffed he is still dancing on his "Indian Syle" ass, as if he were a fish out of water and couldn't help it. I hate cops who use their job title to get out their own frustrations on perpetrators. So I guess I would light a match on all of them.

Oggy Bleacher said...

Yeah, this event is weird. I like Donno's idea of the cops letting some Navy SEALS deal with the dancers Hells Angels style. You play you pay.

Adam is the guy in the mirror sunglasses who gets his windpipe crushed by the cop although he isn't saying anything. Adam is ex USMC and definitely has a bone to pick with The Man so this was all about pushing limits. It gives him lots of material to blog about.

I feel that too many factors are at work here for clean activism. First of all, the tolerance for any uncontrolled/ unannounced distraction at important landmarks is zero because of 9/11. The cops didn't wake up today thinking there wouldn't be dancing on their watch. No, they are thinking that for 8 hours there will be no bombs detonated while my back is turned and 40 people maimed because I was babysitting some kids who wanted to ballroom dance next to Jefferson's statue.

These dancers are the kind of disruption (It was advertised in advance by Adam) that a lunatic suicide bomber would use to his advantage.

There is zero tolerance these days for nonsense. They will have their day in court and this video won't help their case at all. The cops don't care if the whole thing is thrown out, which is what will probably happen. Dancing will still be prohibited at the memorial just like graffiti and pissing on the wall. No one is calling it a heinous crime but they are saying this small covered area isn't for dancing. A few feet away is a park where you can dance or toss a frisbee.

It's a mess because my stomach churns that the fine print on our behavior has to include exact codes of conduct for particular monuments. This culture is so fucked if that had to happen. So, how should I wipe my ass? Is everything going to be regulated? I'm sure that's part of the motivation but they don't express it in a way I can support. There are major fractures in moral upbringing that led to an entire government making decisions that define acceptable codes of conduct at memorials. Isn't that what parents are for, or ministers? Like, what normal person would ever dance at a memorial? Yes, maybe Jefferson's memory is gold plating over rotting Indian bones, so don't go to the memorial.

I see this whole episode as one more red flag in the decay of civilization. Conduct should not be regulated by the government; nor should people dance at memorials. So, I guess the government gets what they deserve: you treat people like little kids and people start acting like little kids. I'm sorry I brought it up.

Oggy Bleacher said...

An even bigger dance party is scheduled for Saturday 12-1pm. IF anyone wants to go down and punch a hipster in the head, I'll go.

We'll paint signs that say, "No Hipsters Can Trash Our Shitty Country!"

I'll give you irony. hahaha

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.