When Manners Get You Nowhere

Worth reading in full: Justin Norman, t r u t h o u t, When Manners Get You Nowhere: 30 Weeks of Protesting Torture in 2010.  It begins:

Two years ago, if someone had suggested to me that I don an orange jumpsuit and a black hood and haul a cross down the street in opposition to torture, I would have laughed at them. Yet here I am at the end of 2010 having pulled that stunt, or something akin to it, more than 30 times in the past year.

Street protests in America today are far less common than they have been in years past, but they are particularly out of place in the relatively upscale business districts of West Des Moines, Iowa. There, week after week, a small, rotating group of ordinary people carry out the old tradition of holding signs inscribed with simple messages. These range in tone from straightforward pleas – “Shut down Guantanamo,” “No More Torture: Not Here, Not There, Nowhere” and “Free Shaker Aamer” – to sarcastic slogans – “USA: Torturing Our Way to World Peace” and “Don’t Worry, We’ll Tell You What to Confess!”

Note from the marketing department: if you are looking to convert strangers to your ideas, waving signs on a street corner is not your best bet.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier related post: When Bad Taste Is Acceptable (April 11, 2004)

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