This video really upsets me. I think EVERYONE involved, except for possibly the firefighters, looks bad.



http://bclu.org/20070511/

One thing that is very clear is that the bikes were in front of the vehicle, although no one threw their bikes under the car. It is not clear whether the man actually could see that the bikes were in front of his van, as the van is taller than the bicycles and the lower right corner is usually the hardest spot for a driver to see. There's one person who is visibly in front of the car when it started moving.

If he were trying to mow down the cyclists, that would obviously be wrong. However, it's possible he was panicked and felt a desperate need to get out of the situation. Obviously he had the bigger "weapon" but less people. Maybe he thought they would get out of the way in time.

Honestly, the thing that bothers me the most about this video is how the CMers cursed at the old man. The people who had their bikes squashed, and particularly the woman who almost had her foot run over, were quite justifiably freaked out. The yellers were understandably freaked out, too. That said, I think there are other ways to express alarm and demand him to stop than screaming "What's your fucking problem?" Notice how he didn't say "fuck" once. I feel like as soon as he heard people cursing, something that's not as acceptable in that generation, he felt hostile and defensive and unwilling to listen.

Particularly once the woman was out of harm's way and the car was stopped, the bikes were already as damaged as they were going to get. There was no reason someone couldn't have calmly explained to the couple that the bikes were stuck and they needed to back up. Surrounding them by a hostile mob was just not helping the situation, nor was the self-righteous confrontation.

Much is being made of the man's mind set, as some people insist he wasn't confused or panicked, that he was hostile and angry or calmly and maliciously trying to run people down. I honestly we can't tell or don't know from the video what he was thinking. I know people who get angry when freaked out, and I would say some of the CMers in this video expressed their panic and confusion through anger, too.

I honestly wonder how much of the CMers hostility toward the man came from the actual incident or the perception of him as "the enemy," the self-indulgent, bourgeoisie gas-guzzling global-warming-causing minivan driver who is hostile or thoughtless to cyclists or the road. I definitely feel like he was approached or confronted as "the enemy" and not as someone you were trying to persuade to join the cause. The truth of the matter is that he and his wife are not as able-bodied as the young cyclists, and would be much more restricted in their ability to get around if they didn't drive or ride in a car. I know that Critical Mass is designed to be a confrontational protest to stop cars from driving and give the roads the cyclists for a short period of time. And the cars should stop and let the cyclists have the road.

That said, if that was my grandmother, who gets confused sometimes, and she unintentionally ran over some bikes or even unintentionally hurt somebody badly - which would be a true tragedy – I would be extremely upset to see people yell at her like that. My grandma doesn't drive anymore, but you see my point. This gives activists, progressive, environmentalists and particularly bicycle activists a bad name, which is too bad because it hurts the cause and what you're trying to achieve.
firebreath613: (realshirley)
[livejournal.com profile] neutron_x, I think you'd appreciate this.

So my last day in NYC, I had meeting at the Conde Nast building in Times Square. I was a bit early, so I was walking around, and I noticed a bunch of cop cars parked on Broadway. I realized a live band was playing, right outside the Hard Rock Cafe, and it sounded like the cheesiest blues rock imaginable.

As I got closer, I realized it wasn't associated with the Hard Rock Cafe at all, but an all Navy cover band, playing outside the Armed Forces Recruitment Center, which apparently has a bunker under the median. This band, led by a woman, the members in their sailor blues, was totally butchering "I Feel Good."

THEN, and this is amazing part, the woman, who had been trying to pull a white-girl Aretha, explained that they were all offical Navy musicians, and they also have this band, blah blah blah ... and now, they're going to play a rockin' song.

They started playing "Holiday" by Green Day. My mouth fell open. Because for those of you who have been wisely ignoring mainstream radio or the latest Green Day records, "Holiday" is an anti-war anti-Bush song.

And they played it all, word-for-word. "Holiday" goes like this:


Hear the sound of the falling rain
Coming down like an armageddon flame (Hey!)
The shame, the ones who died without a name

Hear the dogs howling out of key
To a hymn called Faith and Misery (Hey!)
And bleed, the company lost the war today

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

Hear the drum pounding out of time
Another protestor has crossed the line (Hey!)
To find, the money's on the other side

Can I get another Amen? (Amen!)
There's a flag wrapped around a score of men (Hey!)
A gag, A plastic bag on a monument

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

hey!

3, 4!

The representative from California has the floor...

(At this point Navy lady took on a metal/hard-core punk growl)

Sieg Heil to the president gasman,
Bombs away is your punishment!
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
who criticize your government!
Bang bang goes the broken glass and,
Kill all the fags that don't agree!
Triumph by fire, setting fire
Is not a way that's meant for me
Just cause, just cause, because we're outlaws yeah!

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives

This is our lives on holiday


---------

I mean, what the hell? How how how can you sing that and not know what it means? I mean maybe the irony was missed, but I would think the Nazi reference SHOULD give it away.

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firebreath613

August 2010

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