Big Stupid Numbers
1999-12-02 00:05:00

What a Riot!
OK. What part of "Blah blah, blah BLAH blah" did you people not understand?
-- P a u l


Apparently the latest justification coming down the pipe for the Duncecap Riverdance going on up in Seattle is that it "causes serious problems for the WTO," so therefore anything goes. Right. I bet the WTO is issuing collective heaving sobs right at this minute, tossing and turning in their hotel linens and unable to sleep a wink because all those northwest guttersnipe kids are being sooooo mean to them.

This "big numbers" equals "big results" concept is demonstrably flawed logic. In the early 90s I wandered around San Francisco's Civic Center on a day when half a million freaks (about half of them on stilts) showed up to protest the then-imminent ground attack phase of the Gulf War. Cars got tossed, several buildings were set on fire, kids were clubbed and maced on Market Street and dragged screaming, by the hair, into paddy wagons; meanwhile a block over, a lone cop was cornered and beaten to a pulp by a peaceful mob. I watched a 20-man riot squad in full regalia run straight at me, brandishing clubs, then straight past me to knock down suburban teens in from CoCo County. Then 30 or 40,000 or so people marched right up Market Street and tried to cross the Bay Bridge on foot. It took days to sort out the mess.

The war went on as scheduled.

The difference in 1990 being, of course, that those protesters by the bulk had some vague idea of what they were protesting against. It was that war thing. What's the big issue today with the WTO, Karnage Kiddies? Who the fuck knows, let alone cares, at this point? You might as well shout "No More Knees" at the WTO for all they can parse of it. Let's try to summarize some of the slogans spotted by CNN in the last 24 hours:

- "WTO Violates Women of Color"
- "Sweatshops are Slavery"
- "In Solidarity With the Zapatistas"
- "Wal-Mart Globalizes Poverty"
- "Free Mumia Now"
- "Off the Pigs"
- "Without Jesus, Sin is Heavy"
- "WTO Kills Butterflies"

Also, it's trees and shit, according to some college chicks who are interested in becoming Wiccan. Some blame Pearl Jam, while others point an accusatory finger at Jim "Ernest" Varney. Anything goes in Seattle.

Getting the message loud and clear, WTO?

We're Americans, and we're dumbshits. And we have signs that prove it.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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