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Cartooning for peace... and some level-headedness
February 13, 2003 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Peter Bagge produced a four page comic about his observations at various anti-war protests and how it only takes a few nuts to ruin an entire movement, or at least take the wind out of a rational person's sails.
posted by mathowie (103 comments total)

 
That comic sums up better than anything I've ever seen why I've withdrawn from politics. As Richard Linklater said "Apathy and withdrawal in disgust are not the same."
posted by jonmc at 12:09 PM on February 13, 2003


" 'Diversity'? All I see is a bunch of middle-class, college educated white people!"
posted by 111 at 12:13 PM on February 13, 2003


Nice...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:22 PM on February 13, 2003


True, 111, but they all had different Haircuts. Follicular diversity is extremely important.
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on February 13, 2003


"Where's the, 'they can ALL go to hell' booth? i want to volunteer." - hehe, classic. and what jonmc said.
posted by poopy at 12:23 PM on February 13, 2003


I was going to post this to the FP, but I thought I would be called a ..dun..dun...DUN...troll. Perhaps its for the better that Matt put it up there. Peter Bagge has politics extremely similar to mine.
posted by dgaicun at 12:25 PM on February 13, 2003


Speaks for me, too. These protests/rallies/drum circles/naked word formations are long on slogans and platitudes, short on substance. The anti-war movement needs some new visionaries.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:27 PM on February 13, 2003


I think I'm pro-war just because I read Metafilter everyday. Sort of like how the only reason I'm atheist at times is because evangelists annoy me everyday.

Bomb Iraq. Piss everybody on Metafilter off. That's something I can get behind.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:35 PM on February 13, 2003


Anyone ever hear of the "Mighty Wurlitzer?" How about COINTELPRO? Can anyone tell me whose Poppy both worked in and was the head of the agency responsible for both of the above? Is it plausible that our secretive and fearless leaders would plant subversives in a large public gathering in order to discredit the entire gatheing? Or is it plausible that a misinformation (lies and smears) branch has already been established as was called for in 2001? Just asking...

Now back to FAUX News and the Spin Free Zone where you get fair and unbiased propaganda!
posted by nofundy at 12:37 PM on February 13, 2003


I got yelled at to "get off my cell phone" and pay attention to what Bush was doing to Iraq at the last march in Washington and was told I was a "fucking hypocrite". For the record, I don't own a cell phone, I don't think I even know how to use one. I was trying to cross the street and just wasn't paying attention to the raving lunatic on the corner screaming about how Iraq is somehow tied to the aliens that probed him at area 51, I didn't even say anything to the guy, he just assumed. That was a little bit of a turn off. There were some interesting people there though, although most sorta fit in with what the cartoon said. Thanks for the post Matt, great comic!

I especially loved the part about the archetypes each playing their "role" dead on, just like MeFi ( see Stan above ;))
posted by Pollomacho at 12:38 PM on February 13, 2003


Amen Stan Chin!
posted by Macboy at 12:40 PM on February 13, 2003


Stan Chin,

If you detest the MetaFilter family why do you keep hanging around? To throw your monkey dung at the curious kids? Move along dude. There have to be sites that would suit you just fine. Might I suggest free republic?
posted by nofundy at 12:42 PM on February 13, 2003


The anti-war movement needs some new visionaries.

Or just stick to the subject: anti-war. The lumping of unrelated sub-movements into the protest confuses the message and just makes it easier to dismiss as a bunch of people whining about everything.

Is it plausible that our secretive and fearless leaders would plant subversives in a large public gathering in order to discredit the entire gatheing?

Interesting employment opportunity, professional government troll.
posted by jsonic at 12:42 PM on February 13, 2003


If you detest the MetaFilter family why do you keep hanging around? To throw your monkey dung at the curious kids? Move along dude. There have to be sites that would suit you just fine. Might I suggest free republic?

See? Pissing people off like nofundy is fun! wheee!
posted by Stan Chin at 12:46 PM on February 13, 2003


Before I forget, let me just add that this is, as usual for Bagge, brilliant.
posted by 111 at 12:48 PM on February 13, 2003


Stan - "Kick his ass and get the gas!" - pass it along.

This was a California Republican bumper sticker slogan, during the 2002 election, which seems to have gone out as advance publicity promoting the nobility of American intentions. I read it on an English language Turkish news site.
posted by troutfishing at 12:48 PM on February 13, 2003


"At this point I'm sure I'm sounding like a typically bitter, lefty-baiting Rebublican...

Where's a terrorist attack when you need one?"


Hilarious. And also, the archetype scene with the mullet guy ("these colors don't bleed") reminds me of the shirts I see at University of Maryland basketball games: "Fuck Duke. And Saddam. "
posted by katherine at 12:49 PM on February 13, 2003


The lumping of unrelated sub-movements into the protest confuses the message and just makes it easier to dismiss as a bunch of people whining about everything.

You're right a message in unison, or at least in harmony sounds a heck of a lot clearer. Orwell (yeah, I know a bad word, but this is different) talks about how Anarchists, Communists, Pro-Soviets and Republicans (not the GOP) fought amongst themselves during the Spanish civil war, some called for immediate people's revolution, others wanted to fight the fascists and then worry about the revolution. Of course, in the end Franco slaughtered them, all because they couldn't get along with each other and defeat him despite their superior numbers. My dad always told me, "you get to choose which trench you want to fight and die in, don't break your leg in every one on the way to yours."
posted by Pollomacho at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2003


I'm not pissed Stan, I just think your behavior is retrograde and unconstructive. You could at least attempt to be humorous or something. Did they let school out early today?
posted by nofundy at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2003


Is it plausible that our secretive and fearless leaders would plant subversives in a large public gathering in order to discredit the entire gatheing?

Or maybe this rallies are fill with 'subversives' because they represent the vocal majority of the movement.

Occam's Razor
"When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better."

I know that there are people who are not nuts who oppose war. But let not play pretend and say that these rallies represent them.

Good Post Matt.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2003


Always stand up for what you believe in, even if freaks and weirdos are doing the same thing.
posted by cell divide at 12:52 PM on February 13, 2003


I will now stand up and affirm my belief in consensual cannibalism.
posted by MrBaliHai at 12:58 PM on February 13, 2003


Weak, unfunny stereotyping. OK, so Sturgeon's Law applies to the peace movement, too. And what does that prove about anything? Is that an argument against trying to stop an unjust and dangerous war? I'll agree that piggy-backing other topics isn't a good idea. But perhaps if YOU went marching this Saturday, you could change everything for the better and perhaps even make the crowd a little bit more diverse? For all practical purposes, withdrawal in disgust is the same as apathy.
posted by muckster at 12:59 PM on February 13, 2003


Dead on comic. The problem with just about any movement these days is that the movements at large fail to speak to the general population, who are more open to alternative political viewpoints than the fringe believes. There doesn't seem to be an approach outside of crazed irrational yelling, and yet if you calmly inform people who are sitting on their fence about their views, they are more likely to change them or, at least, consider them.

If you were asking for a favor from someone, you wouldn't vituperate them, would you?
posted by ed at 12:59 PM on February 13, 2003


Basically, it's the difference between asking "Can you pass the potatoes please?" and "I'm entitled to the spuds, you soulless scum-sucking corporate motherfucker!"
posted by ed at 1:04 PM on February 13, 2003


But perhaps if YOU went marching this Saturday, you could change everything for the better and perhaps even make the crowd a little bit more diverse?

Spamfilter. Soapboxfilter. Annoyancefilter.
posted by 111 at 1:04 PM on February 13, 2003


And what does that prove about anything?

If anything, it seems to me that it proves there don't seem to be prominent moderate voices speaking against the war (nor places for them to speak).

I don't know if that's because they don't exist, or if news crews prefer to get interviews with the guy that throws poo and claims bush is from the 8th dimension, but from what I've seen of protests, most of the crowd are moderates that feel uneasy about the war, but the people on stage, on the sidelines with booths, and speaking for the protests in news reports are often the nuts.
posted by mathowie at 1:05 PM on February 13, 2003


I can't speak for Seattle, but I saw an awfull lot of diversity at the 2 major protests in D.C. - people of all age ranges, from young teens to people in their 80's or 90's. Lots of veterans too. Still not enough blacks, but far more than I've every seen at any non-"black issue" protest event -- and as the Jan 18 protest wound it's way through some poor, predominantly black sections of D.C., no locals booed, instead they waved and clapped, and some came out of their apartments in the projects and joined the march.

At one point before the march, I found myself talking to a guy - who seemed to be in his sixties who had a poster reading "Draft Richard Perle" - and I told him: "my parents should be here. They're older than you, but if Granny D can march 3000 miles across the US to promote campaign finance reform - at the age of 90....." -- at which point the man said (with authority) -- "she was 93.....I'm her son. I don't have a choice to be here or not. My mother who's pushing 100 years old is here.".....He seemed a little glum about it. It was quite cold that day.....
posted by troutfishing at 1:06 PM on February 13, 2003


Hey nofundy - grow a sense of humor, leave Chin alone.
posted by Macboy at 1:07 PM on February 13, 2003


I think it's a well-drawn comic, and even though I agree with many of his points, I'm also aggravated that Bagge basically made his comic look impressive by using all the stereotypes of war protestors at once to basically make the comic longer. A lot of the panels were identical to one-shot editorial strips you see in your local paper.

Oh look, the protestors are college students... I bet that means they don't know what they're talking about since they love that Starbucks coffee so much, tee hee. Look, they're angry at Nike. Oh no! Fringe groups are at the protest! That means the whole protest represents their selective wacky viewpoint and we can dismiss the intelligent debatable opinions of 99.5% of the people there! What? A celebrity? Who gave HIM the right to have an opinion? Golly, this is such an original narrative!

Bagge even jumps right into the old standby of noting that the protest groups are comprised mostly of young, upper-class white college students who are there because they have the physical rigor and economic benefit of being able to afford not having to work that day and stand around for several hours addressing issues that they're the most likely to have been studying extensively in the recent past. As always, he finds humor in his total and utter failure to understand that this, you know, makes complete fucking sense.

Yes, it's annoying that in giant protests there are always "piggy-back" groups that defeat the solidarity of a message, and I acknowledge that a lot of times speakers are disingenuous and overly-one-sided in their rhetoric, but I don't see overall how people can mark this up as a brilliant commentary when I've read it all before, just shorter.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:08 PM on February 13, 2003


Lunatics are more interesting to show on TV than sane people. You can have 10,000 people saying something sensible and one person running around naked except for a strategically placed chicken and chicken man will show up on TV. Your movement will then be known to many people as "those people who run around naked with chickens." Politicians have known for years that it is important to not even appear in public with people who might harm your reputation. It is harder to do this with a public rally. I'm just saying, that's all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:09 PM on February 13, 2003


Mathowie - they always go for the nuts. This may indicate bias (I certainly think it does) but the nuts are always more colorful. The folks who can articulate well thought out, incisive positions? The media tends to ignore them. They're boring. "isn't that what NPR is for, anyway?......"
posted by troutfishing at 1:10 PM on February 13, 2003


It's just the same over here.

... The peace movement is ill-managed and ill-governed. It exhibits all the lethargy of a nationalised corporation, all the self-importance of a decaying religion and all the verve of an origami club. Its supporters nurture a bizarre belief in ‘the leaflet’ as a tool of political coercion...

Bless em. Nice writing in the unpredictable UK Spectator.
posted by grahamwell at 1:13 PM on February 13, 2003


I agree - stand up for what you believe in.

But if I find myself on a certain side in an issue, and on looking around at those allied with me I notice a disturbingly large number of fools, posers, sociopaths, or worse, then at the very least I will tend to re-examine my own beliefs on the issue, even if ultimately I do not change my position.

The idea that all the gibbering goons at these rallys are government plants is a bit of a stretch. It would be nice to remove embarassing allies by making them conspirators against your position, but that really is a matter of burying your head in the sand.
posted by John Smallberries at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2003


Bush is from the 8th dimension!

*throws poo*
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on February 13, 2003


Oh, and I forgot to mention - Those selfishly poor minorities! Lucky duckies, too lazy to protest. Surely they have time, in between their state-enforced 70 hour work week stints servicing the upper classes at fancy malls for 8 dollars an hour in the "Welfare to Work" programs, and taking care of the kids...and.....excuses!! - laziness. It's laziness, I say!.......
posted by troutfishing at 1:20 PM on February 13, 2003


as the Jan 18 protest wound it's way through some poor, predominantly black sections of D.C., no locals booed, instead they waved and clapped, and some came out of their apartments in the projects and joined the march.

Um, you must have wandered off the route. Ward Six is the section of DC with the highest per capita income (yes more than Georgetown even), and its mostly white. The entire march took place within Ward 6, from the Mall to the Navy Yard. There are no "projects" on that route, (there is a "Hope 6" housing development at about 4th and H SE) as a matter of fact the apartments on 8th Street SE are about as cheap as they get (that's where my girlfriend lives at exorbitant rent rates, thanks) and we did come down and wave and clap, you're welcome. (Sorry, not trying to be picky, but you need to get the facts a little straitened out before you throw something like that out there.)
posted by Pollomacho at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2003


There are a few times when the 'toonist seems to be stretching reality in order to make his point. For example:

"This administration has forced us back to work at the point of a gun." - allegedly said by ILWU representative. Okay it's possible some idiot did say this but it only furthers the propaganda that the ILWU was on strike. The "strike" was a lockout by dock owners, only the press called it a strike. The Bush administration forced the dock owners back to work, not the longshoremen.

About Jim McDermott "...the GOP doesn't even bother to back an opponent to this entrenched incumbent." Hmmmmm, wonder why that might be? Perhaps his constituency agrees with his political stance on Iraq and other issues?

When reduced to anecdotes the peace marchers can be made to look like idiots, but that is far from the truth. The majority of peace marchers are just like anyone else. I hear more 8th dimension, UN/alien take over conspiracy from the right then the left. The press does everything it can to under-count, under-cut, and marginalize anyone with an opposing view. If 50,000 protesters marched through a city and during that protest 12 kids in black broke a window, what would you expect to see on the news?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2003


but I don't see overall how people can mark this up as a brilliant commentary

Why not just say you don't agree with it and be content? Why the need to belittle the opinions of those who think differently than you?

Saying (or implying) that somebody else's opinion is wrong is, itself, ignorant. Somebody can only be wrong in a matter of fact.
posted by jsonic at 1:24 PM on February 13, 2003


Here come the hippies and college kids...

*running away*
posted by Macboy at 1:27 PM on February 13, 2003


By the way, Troutfishing, I wasn't trying to discredit your post, I did observe many different groups of many different ages/races/persuasions, and a HELL of a lot of people that regardless of their views on Mumia or Anarchy, were all there for one purpose.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:30 PM on February 13, 2003


I keep saying, if all these hundreds of thousands of protesters just armed themselves and marched into the Capitol, we'd see change right quick. Too bad they're not willing to die for their beliefs, eh?
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:36 PM on February 13, 2003


And then there are all those silly white, liberal American college kids who fly around the globe to stage hokey protests - like in Indonesia and Japan and South Korea and.....they dress up to look just like the citizens of those nations! and stage loony anti-American protests.....

[Meanwhile far from these sweet shores...]

Globally, there has been massive - and historically unprecedented worldwide protest of US plans for a unilateral invasion of Iraq. EU popular opinion - even in those nations whose governments support the US position - runs at least 75% against a US unilateral (non UN endorsed) invasion. Indonesia, China....similar majority opposition. Japan, South Korea? same profile. The list could go on and on....The Islamic world? We know what THEY think!~ Much of the world outside of the cloistered world of managed public opinion in the US is opposed to the US position. Even in the US, public opinion is fairly evenly divided. .....Much of the world perceives the Bush adminstration efforts as a power grab - for resources, and as a showcase display of US military might to cow the world and beef up global sales of US weapons systems.

The silly, liberal Chinese have just joined the silly, liberal German/French/Belgian/Russian plan for an enhanced, military force supported, inspections regime in Iraq and an alternative to war.

Meanwhile, the hard headed, sober, realistic US, even while applying massive pressure on it's nominal allies, offering substantial bribes ($14 billion to Turkey!) and threatening economic penalties (such tariffs on French wine) cannot achieve anything remotely resembling the international coalition assembled by George Bush Sr. before the first Gulf War.

But it's no wonder - Wacky liberals.....why, they're everywhere!
posted by troutfishing at 1:39 PM on February 13, 2003


Metafilter: a strategically placed chicken
or
Metafilter: too lazy to protest.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:40 PM on February 13, 2003


Booga booga! I'm going to force you to grow a beard and drink Fair Trade coffee!
[/hippie college student]

WolfDaddy, that's a false assertion. There are quite a few peace-protesters who would die for their beliefs (sacrifice themselves to save others' lives), but there are hardly any who would kill for their beliefs. Is that not self-evident?

Amen, XQ.
posted by hippugeek at 1:44 PM on February 13, 2003


Let me ask this: What are these rallies designed to accomplish? I would think that the purpose of a rally is to influence those (like myself) who are really, truly struggling with whether to support military action. If that's true, the prominence of these "fringe" groups is, at best, distracting, and, at worst, defeats the whole purpose by alienating the intended audience. As does suggesting that protest signs and t-shirts should have the following slogans:

*A Village In Texas Has Lost Its Idiot
*Bush Is A Moron Don't Let Him Get His War On
*My President Is A Psychopath
*Pretzel - It Does A Country Good
*Smart Bombs Don't Justify Dumb Leaders
*Sorry Dubya - Have A Pretzel Instead

I'm sorry, but crafting even more variations on the "Bush is a moron" joke, and implying that we'd be better off if our President had choked to death, are really, really poor ways of convincing middle America not to support the war.

On the other hand, if the purpose is just to have a big left-wing masturbation fest, then by all means, keep it up. Just don't be surprised if the needle of public opinion moves in the opposite direction.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:45 PM on February 13, 2003


Niven's 16th Law: "There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it."
posted by mcwetboy at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2003


A libertarian makes fun of nuts and fringe believers:

Talk about carrying coal to Newcastle...

That said, I remember when, on one night during the WTO, the Seattle Police herded a pack of demonstrators/rioters from downtown up to my old neighborhood--and teargassed us all by proxy in the process. I mean, you couldn't breathe if you went outside--or even left a window open--and this was six, seven blocks away from the action.

Locals got swept up by the police line, got gassed, beat on, the whole neighborhood got trashed. A couple of cops got their asses fired via getting caught committing illegalities on tape, like shooting guys pointblank in the nuts with beanbag guns or getting a couple of women in a station wagon--with a videocamera rolling, no less!--to roll down the window and then macing them in the face.

When the local cable news station broadcast the hearings held by the city after this particular debacle, God, you never saw such infantile acting out in your life, the screaming, the ranting, the acting out and sheer stupidity of it all. And these were the members of the community at the open mike section, who stuck around after the city flacks had droned and bored anyone sensible out of the room.

And in the front row, and therefore in half the shots from the hearing, was this local character, a type any apartment manager would recognized as Born To Be Section 8, this bespectacled, frizzy haired bearded little gnome in a granny dress, eating yoghurt with a plastic spoon, getting gobs of it in his scraggoly beard, constantly pushing up his welfare glasses and playing oral pocket pool with his dentures. It was not a pretty sight.

It was so irritating that I wrote an I, Anonymous for The Stranger entitled The Whole World Is Watching! about the self-evident need for protest organizers to stuff these gomer head cases into a closet until the cameras were gone!

On the other hand, I'm confused here:

" 'Diversity'? All I see is a bunch of middle-class, college educated white people!"

The problem with just about any movement these days is that the movements at large fail to speak to the general population, who are more open to alternative political viewpoints than the fringe believes.

*scratches head*
posted by y2karl at 1:48 PM on February 13, 2003


Why the need to belittle the opinions of those who think differently than you? Saying (or implying) that somebody else's opinion is wrong is, itself, ignorant.

Interesting. Call an opinion wrong: no, call an opinion ignorant: yes. Call me when that makes sense.

I disagree with his opinion and think it is wrong. Forgive me for not providing you with the actual word "think." I'm off to watch court TV now where lots of lawyers and judges keep talking about what they say they think their clients did, because that's what people HAVE to say to give an opinion or else they're ignorant.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:49 PM on February 13, 2003


Znet piece on how to drag your own irrelevant agenda (" 5. What are the links between oppressions at home and the war abroad?") into a simple protest movement. If you're there to protest the war stay the fuck on message. Bagge is dead right.

"It is multi-issue movements, multi-tactic movements, broad and diverse movements, and particularly movements that threaten to persist and keep growing that raise costs that elites must take note of, and, when the movement threat grows large enough, that they will give in to."

And these never, ever collapse and fracture under the weight of their own bickering without ever having made any practical acomplishments (like even giving a credible demonstration of dissent and real concern). Give me a rifle over a shotgun any day.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:49 PM on February 13, 2003


Elwood, you missed the point:

The the alleged quote was "This Administration has forced us back to work at the point of a gun." This conjures an image of the President using soldiers to force the longshoremen to work, when if fact Bush enacted the Taft-Hartley Act to end the lets say "stalemate". It had nothing to do with who was at fault in the stalemate, but the ILWU rep's exaggeration of reality. Having to follow the law is not being forced to do something 'at gun point'.

As for McDermott, his constituency is not what Bagge was talking about. McDermott presented himself, according to Bagge, as this man who was willing to risk his seat in the Congress, when he is not at risk at all because of his constituency.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:53 PM on February 13, 2003


Let me ask this: What are these rallies designed to accomplish?

The major goal of a protest is the sheer numbers, which explains the "Acceptance of all them fringe weirdos" angle. In a nation where good, decent, intellegent people you actually consider friends interrupt a phone conversation with you to announce they have to go because Joe Millionaire's on, the idea that a few hundred thousand people concerned enough with anything as to merit forgoing letters, phone calls, and e-mail and actually getting off their ass to get together and make their presence know means something.

It's very hard for a local area to not notice the impact of 200,000 people marching down the street, and it makes the news media look silly if they decide to ignore it, which is why the best they can do is address it in the most condescending and demeaning manner as possible as hope to shame others from joining in the next time.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:53 PM on February 13, 2003


On the other hand, if the purpose is just to have a big left-wing masturbation fest, then by all means, keep it up. Just don't be surprised if the needle of public opinion moves in the opposite direction.

HAHAHAHA!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2003


pardonyou?: I don't know. It makes sense to expect persuasive, reasonable arguments out of the speakers at a rally (and yeah, this is lacking), but demanding that the t-shirt slogans also be bastions of philosophical nuance is a little much.

I mean, as far as persuasion goes, rallies are about as blunt as instruments get: a show of numbers, a show of unity, and if you're really cookin', a nice arc of symolism over the whole thing. Energize the participants and make the undecided middle take notice, really. That's how rallies influence people.

Uh, what XQUZYPHR said, kind of. Teach me to type slow.
posted by furiousthought at 2:03 PM on February 13, 2003


XQUZYPHYR Call an opinion wrong: no, call an opinion ignorant: yes

Nice try. I didn't say your opinion on the quality of the comic was wrong. I said your action of implying that anyone who liked it was wrong, was itself ignorant.

See the difference? Saying somebody elses' opinion is wrong shows that you don't understand the difference between matters of fact and matters of opinion.
posted by jsonic at 2:05 PM on February 13, 2003


A libertarian makes fun of nuts and fringe believers

Yeah, no joke. I didn't know Bagge was a libertarian. Ew.

*separate art from artist, separate art from artist, separate art from artist*
posted by mikrophon at 2:06 PM on February 13, 2003


It seems to me there’s a logical inconsistency in mocking a protest for not being very diverse, and then choosing to abandon protests because there are not enough people like yourself there. Libertarian 'reason'?? I would think the most rational position would be to attend or not attend a protest based on how much you agree with its stated purpose.
posted by win_k at 2:06 PM on February 13, 2003


I'm going marching this Sunday in San Francisco. Yes, Peter Bagge has a point that a lot of orgs bring their pet projects with them to the protests, but I think there are signs of serious talk within the protest movement on ways to focus more on the main message, too.

If you want a message of unity, then bring it with you and help make the crowd more diverse and inclusive. I've been encouraging people to bring their families and neighbors, myself.

Still, I think I might make an exception on Sunday and wear a suit...
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:08 PM on February 13, 2003


It's very hard for a local area to not notice the impact of 200,000 people marching down the street

Great but the marching is in DC, SF, NY and Seattle, why not pick a place where the population is NOT in general support of the cause, then you're making a statement. Almost as many DC voters went for Nader as Bush, this shows not only a disdain for Bush in the local community, but a reverence for Nader's cause. Sure, Bush lives here too, but he leaves every time the protestors show up in his helicopter. Why not send 200,000 people to Crawford, TX or to Casper, WY? There's your impact!

As for the pointing of fingers at the media, sure they'd rather show the little shits throwing rocks through windows, but which would you rather watch? Some moderate drone on in a sedate, calm speech about lack of evidence and unfair practices or a bunch of freaky dressed kids duking it out with the cops? It is still a capitalist country, they do need to sell papers after all!

The anti-war movement accepts anyone who is anti-war, for the sheer numbers, this works well, but when the fringe groups do get involved (and thus get the attention) this drives the middle away and most people are in the middle somewhere (that's why its called the middle) Its a catch 22, you need the attention, but you don't need the attention grabbers.

By the way, there are plenty of ways to be against the war or globalization or unfair practices or whatever WITHOUT being involved in a march or protest. Some people have jobs and families and such, that doesn't make them lazy or apathetic, it makes them pretty normal actually.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:14 PM on February 13, 2003


To clarify: You can disagree with somebody's opinion and explain why. But if you say that somebody's opinion is wrong you are implying that there is such a thing as right or wrong in a matter of opinion. By definition this is not so.
posted by jsonic at 2:14 PM on February 13, 2003


Yep, there seems to be a real disjunction between the large body of people not actively in favor of war, of many cultural backgrounds, and the fairly extreme demagogues organizing many of the 'actions'.

It's a complex state of affairs, and I do think many of those opposed to war oversimplify things. But many do not - how come we don't hear more of them? I think it's a sample bias. *Not* the usual 'media conspiracy' people are bringing up here, but something more fundamental: people who see the issue in all its subtle gradations are a lot less likely to get up and rant into a megaphone for hours. You can't rally a bunch of people to march around in bad weather by saying "well, there's some really good arguments for going to war with Iraq, but we should consider the consequences. Let's put things in perspective shall we?"

What kind a march chant is "Hell No - We won't go unless there's a multilateral agreement and clear demonstration that the threat posed by Iraq's WMDs now is worse than that posed by a Mideast enraged by our actions!!! Yeah!!!"
posted by freebird at 2:17 PM on February 13, 2003


Does anybody else see popup comments when you roll over those two links from the main MeFi page or am I drunk?
posted by sparky at 2:17 PM on February 13, 2003


The Manitoban: "According to O’Hallarn, when the message is repeated day in and day out, it develops a 'groundhog’s day quality'. Unless protesters can 'buttress their argument with new information' the media will seek greener pastures and more 'vitriolic' stories."

The Guardian: "Unofficially, journalists working for the main news networks say that violence is always the bottom line in coverage of protests. The BBC's head of newsgathering, Adrian Van Klaveren instructed journalists to give equal weight to the protesters' arguments. But one news producer said on the day: 'If it all goes off in central London, all the pictures of peaceful protest will go out of the window.' ITN and Sky insiders say it's the same story there."
posted by ed at 2:20 PM on February 13, 2003


Nice try. I didn't say your opinion on the quality of the comic was wrong. I said your action of implying that anyone who liked it was wrong, was itself ignorant.

That statement being YOUR opinion. Kettle?

Saying somebody elses' opinion is wrong shows that you don't understand the difference between matters of fact and matters of opinion.

Bickering needlessly about something I said you disagreed with shows it too. Now please stop. If you liked or disliked the comic say something about it or the general idea of protest movements; that's what the thread's about.

ANYWAY, I'm probably gonna check out the NYC one, insomnia. Like I said, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm a fringe radical or one of the stereotype characters in the comic.

Pollo: I don't see how using massive population-density areas to get a massive crowd is unsensible. Do you know of a major urban area without a significant anti-war crowd? Why not ask why the Midwestern states aren't having massive PRO-was rallies then? I'm not trying to be snarky, just trying to figure out the logic there... how can you say there should be an expression of local opinion in an area where there isn't that opinion? That's sort of the point.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:21 PM on February 13, 2003


Steve: The problem I have is that I think Bagge missed the point. McDermott is popular in this district for his stance on the war, so popular he's in no danger of losing his post. Yet, he is making a risk in terms of his standing in congress and his access to committees etc. I don't think it makes sense to attack someones stance on a subject by saying "your stance means nothing unless it gets you fired." Notice the lack of quotes on either McDormett or the unnamed "longshoremen?" I believe it's called a strawman attack. I guess I'm saying that Bagge either is misquoting out of error or out of his own rhetorical needs.
and the whole calling of the ILWU v the dock owners issue a &quoit;strike" when it was really a lockout always gets on my nerves.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:27 PM on February 13, 2003


That statement being YOUR opinion. Kettle?

Please pay attention. Saying someone's opinion is wrong is IN FACT incorrect, by definition. And it shows you don't understand what a matter of opinion really is.

If you liked or disliked the comic say something about it or the general idea of protest movements; that's what the thread's about

Dude, check out comment #13 in this thread. Are you sure YOU read it?
posted by jsonic at 2:31 PM on February 13, 2003


how can you say there should be an expression of local opinion in an area where there isn't that opinion? That's sort of the point.

You are right, but I hardly see where bussing people in from all over the country to one town shows "local" opinion? Wouldn't you think a DC rally would need to be a rally of DC area citizens to fit that? (no snark received) I would think that you'd convince more people to join your cause by showing them that there is an alternative viewpoint to the one expressed by the people of their local area. Sort of bringing the idea to them like in the civil rights movement, otherwise you are just preaching to the choir and not changing anybody's mind, and that's the real point, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:39 PM on February 13, 2003


Adding to chorus of voices...

In New York I would say that there are enough groups and people going to the protest that you will not feel out of place. People started affinity groups so that people like my mother would feel comfortable marching with other Catholics who oppose the war. These people will be middle aged middle-income do-gooders, I assume. There's a 'hipster' contingent meeting at the bedford stop in Williamsburg, and there are south bronx, staten island, and westchester (cough jonmc) feeder marches. Here's a list. If I can't convince my mom to make the treck I'm going to go watch the circus perform, because I think it'll be fun.

It's fine if you want to watch from TV, but don't say it's because you feel like you aren't going to fit in, or because you're worried that the other people will be wierd. Presumably, you live in a big city, and you're used to wingnuts. Don't lash out at the anti-war movement because you're feeling guilty about your apathy.
posted by goneill at 2:43 PM on February 13, 2003


btw, though bagge defines himself as a libertarian (I didn't know either, until today), he pokes some easy fun at them too.
posted by mathowie at 2:47 PM on February 13, 2003


mathowie, even though rational anti-war discourse isn't really the purpose of protests, the vast majority of people there (including the speakers) are quite sensible. Still, the net is a better place for more level-headed analysis -- for instance, Common Dreams, Alternet, and The Nation are great outlets for "prominent moderate voices speaking against the war." MoveOn.org is calm and effective. I also think that we should allow for the possibility that the "nuts" are right. In an outrageous world, outrage might be the only sensible reaction. I'm very angry, but I've learned to keep my cool.

As for 111's comment -- perhaps if you would use your clever neologisms in a sentence, I could address your arguments.
posted by muckster at 3:04 PM on February 13, 2003


maybe i don't see enough comics, but this stuff screams out robert crumb to me - not just the drawing style, but also the artist reporting as reluctant participant. are there other, similar cartoonists also out there?
posted by andrew cooke at 3:20 PM on February 13, 2003


I will be attending the march in London this Saturday, it will be my first big march, I imagine it will be the first big march for many of the participants. Some of my friends parents are going on their first march, they want to be assured that if they get arrested their children will go with them to the police station.
Maybe things are different in the US, but the last peace rally I went on was 1/3 dark-skinned muslims. It is not at all suprising to me that people who support the anti-war movement may also be long term supporters of other political movements, I don't expect them to deny their 'main' cause.
Whether right or left wing, big marches more than often serve as umbrellas for myriad less 'newsworthy' causes.
posted by asok at 3:31 PM on February 13, 2003


btw, though bagge defines himself as a libertarian (I didn't know either, until today), he pokes some easy fun at them too.

You guys are really gonna be unhappy when you find out Bill Watterson is too.
posted by thirteen at 3:58 PM on February 13, 2003


muckster: The Nation is a great place for moderates speaking out against the war? What are you talking about? I at least like the name of Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq, by the way. That should be the spirit of any protest: It's not left or right, at all, just the war. Pretty simple, really.
posted by raysmj at 4:02 PM on February 13, 2003


Bagge is quick to oversimplify matters when complaining about others oversimplifying things. For example, calling the Raging Grannies a bunch of "retired kindergarten teachers"? What's up with that?
posted by gluechunk at 4:03 PM on February 13, 2003


Just to clarify the Linklater quote from Slacker is:

"Withdrawal in disgust is not the same thing as apathy."
posted by Slagman at 4:04 PM on February 13, 2003


Damn, I quoted the wrong post. Ah well.
posted by thirteen at 4:09 PM on February 13, 2003


raysmj, I consider The Nation a source of well-reasoned articles arguing against the war. Frankly, I'm not even sure what "moderate" means in this context (sort of against the war? In favor of a little bit of peace?). I quoted that line from Matt's post. Of course, according to most U.S. mainstream media, anybody opposing Bush is an unpatriotic radical, but I won't play that game. Arguments are either convincing or not, and generally, The Nation convinces.

Thanks for the nowarblog link.
posted by muckster at 4:20 PM on February 13, 2003


muckster: The term "moderate" has nothing to do with the war, I don't think, in general political terms. The Nation doesn't claim to be anything but very left of center as far as its overall political slant goes.
posted by raysmj at 4:30 PM on February 13, 2003


Matt...
One would think the cartoonist for Reason Magazine would be libertarian, right? It's interesting that Watterson is, though - didn't know that.

Troutfishing...
I know that I personally have helped disprove the "Kick their ass, get the gas" story twice here on Metafilter, so does it really need to keep be taken out? I believe it was Chomsky (who else, right?) in an interview with a Turkish paper that made the claim, but a quick search on the net found that the only place the quote has ever been mentioned is...what do you know, in other Chomsky speeches. Check it for yourself.

Now that I check - it was Tariq Ali who made the claim, reported in Znet originally. Though the interview in which the claim was made was an interview with Chomsky, Achcar, which would make Tariq Ali an all-around moderate as far as that article is concerned.
posted by Kevs at 4:54 PM on February 13, 2003


Having been involved in half a dozen protest marches, for a number of causes, I can firmly refute S@L's claim that these rallies are full of nuts and don't represent the opinion of moderates. A pretty firm estimate is that about one in 12 people is a loony obsessive Marxist type. And you know what? They're the ones who bring the megaphones. They're the ones who line up to get interviewed by the news crews (at the last protest I attended, they actually directed the news van as to where to park, then took the reporter aside to "brief" them). 11 out of 12 people were not extremists.

At the upcoming anti-invasion-of-a-soverign-country march in my town, people I know who are attending include half a dozen postgraduate students from my biology department, my future mother in law, a sign-writer, and two nurses.
posted by Jimbob at 5:34 PM on February 13, 2003


raysmj (and actually anyone interested:) the NWB is a great commentary site, and actualyl this week is doing an interaction-event-thingie with a pro-war blog. Basically the various users have each compiled a set of questions about the rationales for each sides position and everyone is answering each other in a suprisingly civilized manner.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:02 PM on February 13, 2003


andrew cooke - yes, there are tons of great cartoonists doing the reportage thing. the most significant and probably most significant to this thread is joe sacco - his palestine book is amazing
posted by Peter H at 6:06 PM on February 13, 2003


personally, i thought the comic was ... well ... kinda funny, as in, 'i - can - make - fun - of - myself - or - others- without - having - to - resort - to (once again!) - the - endless - political - bickering.'
posted by poopy at 6:15 PM on February 13, 2003


kinda reflects the sentiment of matt taibbi :)

i kinda like bagge "the journalist" better now, like hate annual #3 was a "special boring mundane, middle-aged, middle-class issue" (which is okay!) but unlike the early vibrant bagge! /me comic book guy :P
posted by kliuless at 6:34 PM on February 13, 2003


the early vibrant bagge!

Personally I preffered the slightly earlier and more manic bagge.

There's an even earlier bagge, that edited Robert Crumb's Weirdo.

He's one of the few people I've crossed town to meet, and then completely frozen in front of. Mind you, he did slip me the dead fish.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:53 PM on February 13, 2003


though bagge defines himself as a libertarian

The alarming tendency of people to say things like 'He's a libertarian' or 'I'm a rebibulockulist' as if that actually means something is part of the problem that Peter Bagge's obvious comic is trying to illuminate, I think, whether that was intentional or not.

That doesn't make it any less tedious, or any less depressing. Like jonmc more than 80 comments ago, and like anyone with a modicum of ability to look and laugh at oneself and one's peers, the phenomenon that this depressing little comic is trying to highlight (and to be fair, it's not poorly done, just, as I said, tedious) was obvious to me before I hit the age of 20, and has driven me away from politics as anything other than a source of bitter amusement since. So there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:06 PM on February 13, 2003


"but mr. horrible says, 'i don't mind, the thing that bothers me is...
some - one - keeps - mov - ing - my - y - y - chair'"
posted by poopy at 7:16 PM on February 13, 2003


westchester (cough jonmc) feeder marches

I'm not in Westchester. I'm in CT. And I 'm still not coming. One because my girlfreinds sick and it's cold as hell out and two, I don't think G.W. is going to sit there and say "Aw shucks. I didn't know you folks didn't want a war. Let's call it off." Which means these marches are about what? Showing the third world what swell folks we are? I'm sure displaced Kurds will sleep more soundly tonight once they see that some stoned NYU sociology major is "on their side." Plus, whenever I get involved with activist types, I always feel like I'm being judged on some ideological checklist.

Plus, earlier tonight I stopped by my sisters house and caught a few minutes of the Are You Hot? show. After that, I'm beginning to wonder if a little herd thinning isn't in order. Maybe they could hold the finals in Baghdad.
posted by jonmc at 7:16 PM on February 13, 2003


Where did Watterson fess up to being a libertarian? It seems strange and I entirely missed it.
posted by furiousthought at 7:25 PM on February 13, 2003


As far as protest coverage goes, there's also Ted Rall's "To Afghanistan and Back," which, as the title implies, covers more than just protests of the Afghan bombing.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:36 PM on February 13, 2003


Jonmc - I didn't interact with a large number of people at the two D.C. Anti-War protests I attended. I just showed up with my Djembe (a really big african hand drum), played it until my hands bled, and went home. I didn't pay too much attention to other people - not enough, certainly, to feel any sort of ideological coercion - but that is probably just my personal style. Life's bottom line demands are always very real....

But I would say that there might, indeed, be some actual correlation between the size of the future ranks of Al Qaeda (or other) terrorists planning mass desruction on the US public, and the willingness of Ameicans to oppose - at this moment - US designs on going to war. If the world is alerted to the possibility that Americans are opposed to the "Pax Americana".............the gripe will be with the US government and not with the US public.
posted by troutfishing at 7:52 PM on February 13, 2003


I just showed up with my Djembe... played it until my hands bled, and went home.

Got some bad news for you, trout: you're one of the freaky folks Bagge is complaining about.

No offense meant... I'm one too. I kid because I love.
posted by ook at 8:46 PM on February 13, 2003


Screw the protest. I'm going skiing this weekend.

(And Peter Bagge totally nailed it. That guy rules.)
posted by Down10 at 2:19 AM on February 14, 2003


I reda this comic just before I went off to the anti-war Valentine's Day protest in Melbourne, Australia.
And Peter Bagge was right about everything. It was like a checklist. The speakers were terrible, the usual suspects were there.
But the protest was HUGE. The media is reporting between tens of thousand and a hundred thousand. The organisers say two hundred thousand, and after having scene the climactic battle scene in The Two Towers, I'd say two hundred thousand is about right.
For there to be that many people, the stereotypes were outnumbered. there's only so many International Socialists. The majority really was normal, average people from all walks of life (the speakers were terrible though).
I ran into a friend walking home, and he felt the same. But we both went, even if neither of us feel very comfortable about joining in with the mob mentality.
And that's what matters in the end. We went. It's about the numbers. Australia doesn't have that many people (25 million? I'm not sure). Which makes the protest significant, even if there were maybe a dozen crusties playing bongoes and driving me nuts.
posted by chrisgregory at 2:33 AM on February 14, 2003


I love how dysfunctional anti-war protests' are. I love how meaningless the gripe is.

If the Beef Council or something was grillin' up free NY strips in a park and thousands enjoined to imbibe in the freebee they wouldn't be idiots. They'd be acting on the sensational ad blitz that the Beef Council had played on them in order to get the consumer excited about beef. Beef grillin' for free, many would partake.

Say instead you have a reasonably grassroots effort to cease the madness of war. You get the word out. Everybody shows up for free.

Again, this is free we're talking about.

Whaddya expect?

They're not standing in line for any free meat or balloon or chance at a trip to Hawaii. They're joining together because democracy is free. They can go to Seattle Center (for instance) and do nothing but be free.

Heaven forbid.
posted by crasspastor at 2:51 AM on February 14, 2003


Bomb Iraq. Piss everybody on Metafilter off. That's something I can get behind.

I was considering supporting the war just to piss the French off, but then I realised that if you're going to support something that will end up with people dead, you'd better have a bloody good reason for it.

I'm going to the protest in London on Saturday with no other agenda but to show the Government I'm not swallowing it. I was reading a piece in the Evening Standard yesterday which claimed that the Government had released some kind of terror scare warning nearly every day in the past few months. Then there was the plagiarised 'intelligence' report, the phoney links with Al Qaeda, the armed soldiers patrolling motorways. WE'RE NOT IDIOTS.

I have a feeling a lot of the people marching on Saturday will have never attended a march in their lives and will be slightly embarrassed about the whole experience. But there just is no other way to get this message across.
posted by Summer at 3:25 AM on February 14, 2003


See, I woulda thought the comic was going to have some fresh insight or spin that would make it funny. Guess I was wrong.

That was a joke, folks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:26 AM on February 14, 2003


Don't protest. Go back to your homes, cars & consumer goods. Consume more. Pray. Repeat until dead.

[To all the Brits, see you in Hyde Park tomorrow. At least in the UK we can point to a decent record of protests getting noticed & even helping bring down govts. - see Thatcher & Poll Tax]
posted by i_cola at 7:21 AM on February 14, 2003


From Buzzflash.com ( letters section ):

"Subj: Coincidence? I Think Not!

Dear BuzzFlash,

Last night, I caught a few minutes of some new talk show...sorry, don't know who it was, but he followed Koppel. TalkShow Guy offered a brilliant observation...

He had the terror-alert color-chart and a bag of skittles [tropical?]. Opened the bag, poured its contents onto his desk -- hold and below, if the colors aren't EXACTLY the same!...."


posted by troutfishing at 7:28 AM on February 14, 2003


Um, i_cola, we had a President named Johnson back in the 60's, he decided not to run again to "concentrate on the war effort" We have a history of protest bringing down government making a difference in this country too (need I also remind anyone of the civil rights movement?)!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:58 AM on February 14, 2003


How about some screening at the door:

Bouncer: What're you here for?

Protester: I'm here to free the Palestinian whales!

Bouncer: Get the fuck out. And take all your black-clad, eyebrow-pierced friends with you.
posted by kgasmart at 8:23 AM on February 14, 2003


Pollomacho: Point taken but the 60s & civil rights were a loooong time ago. As this thread quite beautifully illustrates.
posted by i_cola at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2003


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