Calling all Theater companies and performers!

Open Call to Theater companies, performers, researchers:
I would like to hear other voices besides my own on this blog. If you'd like to write about your TLP experiences here, e-mail them to me and I'll put them up.
Topics can include dramaturgy to staging to personal responses to the play. Anything goes!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Horizons in Intolerance Management

[Seeing as it's April Fool's Day, this seemed as appropriate place as any to run this post.  Enjoy the zaniness!]

So, way back when I first starting blogging (well, back in November anyway) I wanted to put some fancy bling and gadgets on my website to make it more exciting.  One of the things I added was this sweet little gadget you can see off to the right which displays photos from Flickr based on certain search terms.  (You can probably see it ticking away right now, just below and to the right of the top of the screen.)  Whatever robot it uses to crawl the pictures tends to find one particular photostream or group of recently uploaded pictures, so the photos run in common batches, switching out to something new every couple of weeks or so.  

I put in just the search term "Laramie" and let it run, and it started just the way I wanted-- with shots of sunsets, prairie, the college, homecoming parades, sports, family pictures and kids on bikes-- even these cool stereoscopic "crosseye" pictures one Laramie community member makes and posts online.  I've found that little gadget to be an interesting little waste of my time.

But something has changed in the last few weeks-- my picture gadget has gone rogue and started posting strange pictures-- of protests.  Actually, for a little while they have been almost exclusively pictures of different protests, sometimes of things that have nothing to do with Laramie or The Laramie Project whatsoever.  A lot of people (on Flickr, at least) seem to have associated Fred Phelps with Laramie itself, which I obviously have a problem with.  No doubt his nasty Matthew Shepard signs have something to do with that. But what these counter-protesters are doing, and why people are protesting Phelps, are absolutely strange! 

Most of these pictures I'm going to show you today come from Tabiii's Flickr Photostream, which were of a counter-protest in Dutchtown, LA against the Westboro Baptist Church.  They were protesting (you guessed it) a high school production of The Laramie Project.  She was a really good sport to let me use these pictures, and I appreciate it!

If you'd like to see all of Tabiii's photos from the Dutchtown protest, you can view them as a full slide show at this link.

Another great set is antelucandaisy's set for the same protest, which you can view as a full slide show here.

So, let me show you one little sample of some of these wild, zany crazy "Laramie" tagged protests, and an interesting new trend in counter-protesting, after the jump! 

So, this was the first protest picture which caught my eye on my picture ticker:  

Just a nice couple, holding some rather eclectic protest signs.  But, why are there protest signs showing up in my "Laramie" ticker, I wondered?  And what does Mr. Kool-Aid Man have to do with it?  Oh right, I realized, they're drinking the Kool-Aid.  I clicked on the picture and couldn't get an answer about what the protest was about.  Then, the next time I logged in, the zaniness really got started:
Um, okaaay, I thought to myself, that makes just about as much sense as a WBC sign, I guess.  And it's pretty cute.  But, strangely, a lot of the other signs I saw at this protest were just internet memes, viral videos, inside cultural references, and whatnot-- completely random, surreal and disorienting.  It sort of felt like flipping channels on the TV and ending up watching the "find the fish" segment from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: 

These two signs are just scratching the surface for cultural reference, and at least they have some kind of reference to the protest at hand.  But others didn't make any reference to anything having to do with the protest.   For example:

$5 Footlongs
Austin 3:16
Team Edward
The Cake is a LIE! 
Hold me closer, Tony Danza!
Play Freebird!
I believe you have my stapler...
What's up with the Smoke Monster on Lost?
Don't taze me, bro
Free Hugs ($2)
This side intentionally left blank.
[citation needed]

See if you can spot any of these in the Flickr slideshows.  it's like looking at one of those "find the hidden picture" games from Highlights magazine.  And of course, the most epic of all random cultural references ever to adorn a Phelps protest sign has to be this one:

If you don't know the "More cowbell" skit from SNL, you really need to watch this.  

So, I'm just wondering: what the heck is going on here?  Part of me wants to applaud.  And part of me looks at the "more cowbell" sign side-by-side with Romaine's ultra-classy, serious Angel Action protest, and the disconnect can't be any more obvious.  Should I have a problem with this??

I guess a more general question might be this:  is it okay to laugh at the kind of hate, filth and evil Phelps and his harpies spread?  Or, do we have some sort of moral imperative to take them seriously?  That's what I'd like to talk about in my next post.  In the meantime... just enjoy the zaniness, and check out those slideshows.  They're killer. 


All photos come from tabiii's Flickr Photostream, used with kind permission of the photographer.  Thanks!  

No comments:

Post a Comment