Words to remember

"Never doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How is that a protest?

So the peaceniks on campus decided that a great way to protest the war would be to form a naked peace sign on the College Green. Fortunately, I had forewarning about this event, and so stayed away from the main part of campus, as that's a rather obnoxious and inconsiderate occasio peccati. Even more tactless, however, considering that this was done on the same day just across the Green from the people protesting against sexual assault. Well planned, don't you think?

What I can't comprehend is how this could be cast as a protest for peace, unless they're trying some bizarre reverse-Lysistrata. One of the comments in the Lamron, our school's paper, was praising the protesters as this showed their true commitment to peace, that they'd be willing to move out of their "comfort zone" in order to show their support of peace.

Are you kidding me? Were their credentials as peaceniks ever in doubt? If they were to go up to anyone on campus and say they were against the war, did they honestly think we'd respond "Bullshite!"? This is patently absurd. It seems that a far more likely motivation was that typical college rebelliousness and desire to cause trouble, likely joined in many cases with the rather indecent impetus to get naked and cause a fuss without getting in trouble. (Evidently the school's administration considered this a matter of "free speech", and preferred not to intervene. Well and good, I suppose, but I can guarantee that if I walked about campus sans vêtements to show my support for the war, I wouldn't get the same consideration)

What is more revealing about this is the curious need to protest. I believe it's quite fair to say that the vast majority of the students on this campus oppose the war, and even the ones who don't aren't likely to be completely pleased with how things have turned out. What's the reason for the protest, then? To raise awareness about the injustices of the war (a goal presumably well-served by disrobing)? Must be, it isn't like it's in the papers every day. To make the government aware of their discontent? Well, depending upon which politicians you're talking about, this might actually be quite wise. I imagine that if Slick Willie were faced with a swarm of naked college girls, he'd go to war with England if they asked nicely. Probably not the guys so much, though.

More than anything else, I think this expresses the busy work so necessary to living as a liberal in our day and age. This allows them both the opportunity to feel rebellious, (some might say revolting), unconventional, and edgy. At the same time, it also makes them feel like they've done something real. They've gotten out there, they've protested- what've you done today? In a way, they're almost providing the panem et circenses for themselves.

Still, I'll forever be struck by the contrast between those protesting the objectification of other human beings as sex objects and the ones next to them parading about bare-assed, placing their bodies at the service of a political ideology. Fascinating.

No comments: