30 November 2007

Lunch with AIDS at the White House

One of the interesting things about my job is its proximity to the White House. It's a few minutes' walk, which makes for some great, paranoia-laden thrill rides during lunch.

Today's walk yielded some good action in the form of a protest-and-arrest session of AIDS activists. The Post estimates about 150 people were involved, but it looked to me like a big chunk of those must've been media people and camera-toting thrill-seekers like myself. These folks obviously know how to pimp a good press release.

There was the typical fleet of cops walking around with weapons and sneers. Four of them pranced around on vicious, snarling, beastly war-horses (hell, I'm a city kid. All horses look like this). Other cops paced in their jackboots like wolves, praying for a riot to allow the "fog of war" to rain down on these hippy bastards until none survived and Lafayette Park was awash in a tide of blood and despair.

And yet the cop that freaked me out the most was the one with the video camera, filming the protesters. Filming the bystanders. Filming the camera-toting thrill-seekers like myself, who couldn't resist photographing the video cop in some twisted attempt at justice...

Do these people have some kind of archive of protest and street footage, with face-mapping technology index-linking everyone to their Secret Government Profile, meta-tagged with potential Thought-Crimes Against the State?

Jeezus, coppers, calm down. These folks just want to keep AIDS research a priority on the national scene; that's understandable. But ambushing the White House seems like an waste of good media attention... I just can't see how Mr and Mrs America will "get it" if any of the footage even makes it to the Evening News. Using the Zaphod Beeblebrox scoring system, I'd give the protest 15 points for style, but minus 150 for true effectiveness. But then, how could it be more effective?

I mean... Evidently this administration can't even spell "AIDS" and it certainly can't be bothered with anything that doesn't involve killing brown people worldwide.

So it was an interesting lunch-break. Just be careful. Those goons are stealing souls out there.


Reya Mellicker said...

Lafayette Park is a perfect place for demos, and also an awful place because of its history as a square where slaves were auctioned. The vibration of its past filters through everything that goes down there. Yuck!

Also should say: a couple of park police are my clients. Both of them ride snarling war horses who are, BTW, so calm that even when my dog nips at their hooves they just look at him with mild curiosity. Anyway the guys who come have massages are completely uninterested in a big battle. They think of themselves as protectors, guardians. They would never admit it, but I think they're as scared as the protesters that something violent is about to erupt.

What a great post! Always glad to read your version of "the news." Thanks too for your comment in my blog. Wow. Brilliant.

IntangibleArts said...

Reya; thanks again... and I have no doubt that a good portion of our Police are real human beings; even decent folk. But something about the vibe around THAT HOUSE just colors everything deeply sinister.

I remember the scene at Peace Park back in the '80s, when there was still a thriving culture living down there: several folks with the painted protest shelters. It was a regular commune on the curb.

These days of course, only Connie P. remains down there, the street is closed to traffic, and the whole place has a darkly "sanitized" air about it. Still, it makes for a weird head-trip of a light stroll around the office neighborhood.

avocadoinparadise said...

That's great. I'm sure they do have a huge database of faces. Otherwise, why videotape it? Why photograph from rooftops as they do at most protests?