Mean Streets

I'm getting more chuckles watching the local news coverage of the RNC protests with more reporters broadcasting from my block (to see my block, click here and then the link for 1:40 PM). I'm glad I didn't have to try to sleep through the flashbangs used by the cops on said block yesterday.

The highlight of last night's local coverage was a clip of a couple totally radical anarchist banditos trying to rip up a few dividers used to corral folks waiting in line before shows at Minnesota Public Radio's Fitzgerald Theater. These are permanent fixtures, sunk into the concrete and not part of any police dividing line (picture of said dividers and the Fitz here). The Fitz is home to A Prairie Home Companion, and also, humorously enough, held a protest concert earlier this week.

The big surprise is that many of the organizers of the peaceful protests have been giving interviews to the local news here refusing to denounce or disassociate themselves from the violent element, saying that they welcome any expression of frustration caused by the Bush administration. I think that must be because the aforementioned dividers were firmly sunk into the concrete, and it's hard to build a lot of muscle mass on a vegan, locovore diet. Had the Fitz sustained any real damage, there might well have finally been some progressive backlash.

"Ms. Jensen-Olsen, did you hear the Wilco show has been postponed due to theater repairs!?!"

"Oh no! Well gosh darn these anarchists!"

Trying to explain to my boomer parents what the critical mass folks want to get out of their direct action! is difficult, given that, like every other leftist direct action free from oppressive hierarchy, it's drawn in so many different movements and sects there isn't a coherent voice anymore, even if the thing started as a means of highlighting how cities were unfriendly to massive cyclist gangs. I first started by saying that bike-lifting is when a participant raises his or her bicycle in the air, and that this occurs when an intersection is corked, when a cyclone is occurring, or at any point a participant desires to hold a bicycle in the air. But that drew an even blanker stare. So I told my old man that these are the same type of folks that don't find wearing a keffiyeh to a gay pride parade out of place, and he seemed to get the gist.

Only one more day, and I can move back home.

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