Problematic Protests

Should I join a protest? Should you?

It turns out, at least in this day and age, protests are problematic agents of change.

Guidelines for starting or joining a protest:

  1. Do you have a legitimate grievance against a commonly accepted illegitimate power, institution or societal norm or establishment?
  2. Are you willing to go the distance and risk everything—your reputation, your income, your relationships, your future and perhaps your life?
  3. Are you willing to accept that the change that you fight for may not come within your expected time frame, may not come within your focus of the situation, may not come within your lifetime or may not come at all?

If you answered YES to those three questions, then you might consider joining or starting a protest. How to evaluate your decision:

ONE: Is your cause both worthy and viable.

• 2003 The Iraq War Protests: Worthy? Generally. Viable? No. The powers that be didn’t care what protestors thought. They went to war anyway.

• 1960 Civil Rights Protests: Worthy? Yes. Viable? Eventually. The legitimacy of the requests far exceeded the ability for government to ignore the worthiness of the underlying reality of what the protests were about.

• 2009 Occupy Movement Protests: Worthy? Yes. Viable? No. Although millions lost jobs and their homes, the central aspect that this was Wall Street and the powers that be are deeply entrenched with that band of thieves negated any hope of success for this movement.

TWO: You may die pursuing your ideals.

• 1989 The Tienanmen Square protests resulted in thousands of dead Chinese dissidents and resulted in no change in policy.

• 2011 The Arab Spring Revolts created nothing but chaos with tens of thousands dying if not hundreds of thousands, including Syrians who were emboldened by the so called success of the Tunisians and possibly the Libyans. The result? ISIS, and the Arab Winter with only Tunisia surviving the tumult that has rocked the region for a decade.

THREE: Change is hard.

• Women’s voting, Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Black rights, Workers and Teachers strikes throughout the ages and dozens of other examples. All of those protests, movements or actions resulted in change—eventually. Most took years if not decades.

The Problem

  • These days, organizing a protest is an app on your phone. Tap, tap, tap: Meet at First and Main, bring banners and gas masks.
  • Your cause might be worthy, but we’ve all now got Protest Exhaustion.
  • And the biggest deterrent to any protest—actually making a statement, actually raising awareness in the world today—counter-protest insurgents. Activists actively seeking to disrupt and escalate violence in your “peaceful” protest.

Do protests work these days? My personal belief is no. You want to champion a cause, change the world? Start a GoFundMe page to oust the politicians that are in the pockets of the lobbyists who actually run the world.

fist

 

Addendum:

Up until recently, protests seemed to work much more effectively. And I believe this was due to the egregious injustices that people had endured. As those injustices fall to the righteous revolts whereby lawmakers enact corrective and healing laws, fewer and fewer truly dreadful inequities remain to be corrected.

Yet, folks still feel lesser than—as they should. Look at income inequality, the rich and the rest of us, the 10% and the 90% and then there’s the gender and racial income inequality too. There’s the healthcare issues, and firearm reform. And a dozen other hot-topic issues. However, the intensity of injustice, the divergent level of what wrongs exist now compared to what the future might look like — someday, are not expansive enough to engender the protests reflective of the imbalances of the past.

When such apathy occurs, and it has, the only way to change the system is from within. Green shoots sprouting within the rotting trunk of the Tree of Liberty, not without.

Blood of patriots? If the Idiot-In-Chief gets reelected, well, we may again have thousands dying to water that tree.

 

Beyond Surreal

20200814_191903

“Oh, did you see that? That foul ball took the head right off that cardboard dummy standing in for a real fan. Brutal!”

…And their mouths hung open for a minute or two. Then all the Muds down in Mudville, the tall and the small, all cried ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Is this like some alter-universe baseball version of Brazil?

Cardboard-fucking-cutouts? As fans? I… I have no words for this.

Geezus, go play ball in an Iowan corn field. Find some goddamned high school that’s got no high schoolers in it due to, you know, pan-fucking-demic, and play at their field.

To stick cut-outs of people into seats—not just behind the plate, no, behind the outfielders too—is beyond surreal. It’s sick. This is a sign of sickness.

(And I don’t care HOW much those idiots—whose faces coat those cut-outs—paid to get their dopey faces onto those half-assed dime store mannequins. Nothing could be worth the SHAME of playing before a pantheon of paper people. Nothing.)

NRA: Nefarious Ravagers Anonymous

As a writer I tend to stand slack-jawed when I witness unexpected, fiction-worthy stories in the news. I think, how can reality create something so fantastical, so eyebrow twistingly warped, when fiction itself fails to compete?

It’s not that a not-for-profit entity collected sewer level executives to lead them.

It’s not that an ancient, heralded establishment became contaminated by vicious, greedy henchmen beholden only to their equally contemptuous brethren.

It’s not that a revered institution, once noble and forthright, succumbed to corruption, an internal rot the likes of which only a napalm enema could be rid of.

It’s that such a story line feels so utterly obvious that it should have been exposed through countless spy or intrigue novels over the last forty years.

The NRA is headed by crooks who used their power to buy candidates and boats and planes and take vacations to the islands? Duh! Quick, somebody write a novel.

(I sure hope the lead NY attorney knows how to protect herself…)

This era in politics will go down as one of obviousness. No shit the people we hire to run the country are nothing but scoundrels and self-serving egotists. That the so called President of the country has fewer scruples than a snapping turtle? That every fucking thing he’s done since being in office was to further his personal aggrandizement or his brainless agendas? That everyone he’s hired has been a stoolie, a lackey, or a cad for him and his promises of wealth — on the other side — if they don’t go turncoat and write a book about his idiocy?

No shit. None of this should be surprising. So, why is it we’re dumbfounded when things like this actually happen? That is, why hasn’t fiction done its job and warned us?

~~~

In my teens, I was a member of the NRA. Hell, I was on the high school rifle team; went to college on a scholarship for marksmanship. So, go NRA!

But not now. Back then? Sure. Now? Well, look at what it stands for these days, archaic, out-of-touch nonsense and who runs that fucked-up bass-ackwards perversion of an institution. Dissolve the NRA?

About goddamn time!

 

Search? You mean Find?

When was the last time you paged to the 2nd list of results in a Google Search?

GoogleSearch

If the answer you seek is not either item #1 or #2 do you give up? Search differently? Try #3?

How many of you skip the first result item intentionally, to deny that resource the satisfaction of being numero uno? Oh, you think your so smart, do you? Well, fuck you!

Do you actually use DuckDuckGo or DuckGoGo or GooseMeNow?

Is search so ingrained in our lives that we would flop around like a flounder gasping for breath on the deck of Spongebob Captain’s schooner were we denied? No more Google for you, young man, you’ve grown far too lazy with your critical thinking skills.

 

Perspective

Does this photo unnerve you? Does it make you slightly queasy? I’m sure you’ll figure out why, but isn’t it curious that our brains try to make sense of what may be nonsense. And that process either results in an illusion we adopt as reality, or our brains fail and the result is a disturbing reprocessing loop, a cycle of trying to figure out what the hell it is we’re seeing.

Our visual cortex takes up a vast amount of our brain. Patterns sent to that visualization engine are coerced into classifications tuned over millions of generations of evolutionary refinement. When a new pattern, perhaps one that is nonsensical in its current orientation, is sent requesting analysis and classification—but that categorization fails, it seems that one of two things happen:

1) The image is so chaotic that it overwhelms the brain’s pattern processing capabilities resulting in an acceptance of chaos, a “this cannot be understood” conclusion. At this point our brain gives up and a certain calm ensues.

2) The image registers just below the brain’s threshold of chaos. There’s enough sense, enough recognizable pattern evidence that the brain does not give up and continues to try and come to grips with the subject matter within the image. At this point we typically find, “that thing’s making me sick, take it away.”

Your thoughts?

20200711_FlowersAtUpland

~~~

Addendum…

Hetty Eliot over on https://whothehellknows.home.blog/ called me out. That’s no illusion. OK, she got me. So what and where are the best illusions?

http://illusionoftheyear.com/2011/05/mask-of-love/ was one of the better ones.

2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest