Monday, November 23, 2009

The face of protest

We had another "incident" at school last week. (I'm not sure why I use the scare-quotes; I guess it's because I'm not sure whether calling something an incident makes it seem more or less significant than it really is, and - having learned of it third or fourth hand - I don't know if what happened is less or more significant than it seems.) Apparently some students in ski-masks, invoking comrades in Greece and at the University of California, tried to climb the scaffolding on 65 Fifth Ave and ran through some classes at Parsons. Two were rather brutally arrested by the NYPD (neither turned out to be a New School student).

I wasn't there. But it does seem likely, a colleague who's been in touch with the disaffected students' groups told me, that beneath their balaclavas the protesters were mainly straight white men. Recalling her days as a campus protester (for feminist, queer and antiglobalist causes), she expressed concern at the way in which the disaffected straight white man had become the image of protest at the New School.

For my part, I couldn't suppress the thought that disaffected straight white men are also the fan-base of Sarah Palin. I'm not suggesting any parity here (as someone inspired by the rhetorical moves of the Comité Invisible might). Just sayin'.

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