Monday, November 29, 2004

Arrested for Nothing

In a news item that could only be considered weird, if it wasn’t for the reaction that it caused; three women, dressed up as marketers for “Nothing”, were arrested at their local shopping mall. Apparently in America, if you ‘ain’t shopping at Xmas time, you are asking for trouble.

The local rent-a-cops—seriously lacking in any measure of humor—got freaked out and called for state police backup. In the course of the exchange, the three women, all sisters, were handcuffed and taken to the state police barracks for processing.

One of the sisters, Anna White, had the following thoughts on the entire affair, which were posted at Atrios’ site, Eschaton.

“Our small action and the drastic response to it raises a variety of important questions and issues, such as: What is so very dangerous about a humorous promotion of purchasing NOTHING? In an era of declining public spaces and the rise of malls as the new "town centers" (and many actually naming themselves such), should not "freedom of speech" extend to these quasi-public commercial spaces? Why are taxpayer-funded state police protecting private commercial interests from citizens' free speech? How much longer can the devastating environmental and social impact of voracious American-style consumerism be ignored?”

White raises some pertinent questions that ought to be answered, but probably won’t. Americans want their freedom, as long as it doesn’t cost too much. And please, don’t you dare to encroach upon their right to consume a little more junk made in third world countries by exploited workers. That would be so gauche and anti-American. Good lord! That might even be communist!!

What this little episode illustrates loudly and clearly for me is this; you can get away with many things in America including murder, if you are the government. But if you are a member of the hoi polloi, don’t ever fuck with capitalism and commerce, or you’ll probably end up in the klink.

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