Ben Sleeps Against the Occupation

March 20th, 2004  |  Published in Uncategorized

We started the day with the idea that we’d make it down to the anti-war march downtown around 1 or 1:30, perhaps in time to miss the preliminaries, which usually seem to involve a lot of speechifying and shout-outs between the groups that organize that sort of thing.

As I noted (obliquely) over in the blogmarks, there was some posturing going on between assorted self-styled radicals over where to congregate. I don’t pay much attention to sectarian radical types anymore, so I’m not really clear on what the issues were, except I caught mention of “The Radical Spokescouncil” and the word “pigz” plus some apparent attempts to marshall all the self-styled “radicals” at the “opposite corner” of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Opposite of what, I’m not sure. I’d assume they meant “opposite of where all the liberals planned to gather.” There was quite a bit of scuffling over what a “true” radical should be doing. Evidently picking a fight with police is the only way to show you’re “worth your salt as a radical,” but the debate also seemed to involve whether “liberal marches” will ever change anything, anyhow. I’m not clear on the efficacy of getting bonked on the head with a billy club except, perhaps, as an act of martyrdom/vanguardist example-setting. It seems, in some circles, to be preferable to walking down the street unmolested and under the aegis of a permit. I think they should avoid concussions until the revolution, when they’ll need all their wits to build barricades, form collectivist bakeries, and argue with the Trotskyites over the Kronstadt Rebellion. The Trotskyites will also, most likely, end up trying to bonk them on the head with billy clubs, too. Might as well put that off now.

One thing that has changed in the years since I hung out with anarchist types is the ascendancy of the word “liberal” into the anarcho-demonization phrasebook. Poor liberals: bashed from the right for being no better than Lenin, bashed from the wannabe autonome axis for being no better than Franco.

We experimented with saying “liberal” with a sneer when I was a young whippersnapper coming up, but it didn’t take with the vigor it’s pursued among the Indymedia set.

Anyhow, we didn’t make it downtown in time for the march kickoff, so we settled on a late lunch at a tacqueria. Ben was in a mostly pleasant mood for most of the meal. After lunch we headed to a toy store to look for a mobile. He’s not very interested in the one we have for him right now. I think it’s too pastel.

As with everything to do with children, the mobile choices are bewildering. The one common denominator seems to be that red, black, and white, which work very well for most socialist realism posters, also stimulate infant brains the best. We couldn’t make up our minds, though. The one with a remote control that offered a selection of perennial WASP favorite classical tunes was tempting, but we’re also pretty down with the Whoozit line of stuff because the Whoozit toy we’ve got is the one thing guaranteed (besides me throwing my head around and lolling out my tongue while substituting “Whoozit” for “human” in that Smiths song) to make Ben smile.

Once we left the toy store, we were just a block from the square and there was still a lot of activity, so we walked over to take a look. Apparently, to judge from the black-clad, masked autonome wannabes, we’d found “the opposite corner.” It was a pretty mixed bag of folks. There was some drumming, and a lot of signs. One sign tried to make a nuanced argument for total withdrawal from Iraq, but not without making sure there were some safeguards in place in the form of a stronger UN presence and a working government, plus strong guarantees of regional assistance. Nuanced arguments don’t make for good placards to wave. I got slightly nauseated trying to read it all as it bobbed around.

Ben was doing pretty well through all this. The stroller (the Graco® LiteRider™ LXI previously written about) provides for a complete canopy over his head, and he usually just falls asleep in there, unless he’s feeling sociable.

Then he responds like any sentient being with a need to interact with others might when stuck in a sensory deprivation chamber: He yells at us until we open it. In this case, he was out cold.

Besides the black-mask wearing anarcho-kiddies, a contingent of Wobblies, and a few heavily pierced peaceniks there were lots of good liberal types milling around. Nothing too exciting, though. Certainly no armed clashes with police or teargas or anything. I snapped a few shots and we headed down to Powell’s where I picked up a copy of “Fray,” a graphic novel set about 200 years in the future in the Buffyverse.

Pretty good stuff, for the most part. I’m not really clear on how it all fits in with the last season of “Buffy” considering the way every single potential Slayer in the world supposedly got the full Slayer package of powers and accessories, and in a manner (I thought) that would pretty much activate every Slayer Potential from then on. Something I’ll have to look up. I think I remember Gretchin mentioning the apparent discontinuity. Fun read, though: Clearly from Joss Whedon’s typewriter, with a bit of “Transmetropolitan” tossed in (or maybe comics about dystopian futures just all look like that) and a distinctly noirish story line. Maybe they’ll do more.

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