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1, 2, 3, 4! Protesting is such a bore!

February 5, 2011

The 1960’s registered the carbon copy by which all following decades’  protests were patterned.  Although most of the ones that followed were not able to find worthy enough cause to sustain similar passion, they all look and sound pretty similar.  Key components of a protest are masses of scary or odd looking people, hurriedly made signs, a PA system or megaphone, and of course the most important component of a protest is the chant. 

There are two you can choose from:

There is “Hey, hey!  Ho, ho!” and then you get to make up a sentence that ends in a long “o” sound (Ex: Hey, hey! Ho, ho!  George Bush has got to go!).

Or you can use “1, 2, 3, 4” and then fill in a sentence that ends in a rhyme for “four,” (Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4!  We don’t want your fucking war!)  On this one you have an opportunity to say a little more because it can be followed up with, “5, 6, 7, 8” and then you get to insert a second point with a nice “eight” rhyme at the end.   

How it has come to pass that through decades of generations, giving us such great lyricists as the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle, Bernie Taupin, Marvin Gay, Michael Jackson and the marvelously gifted Taylor Swift, we have not been able to come up with anything new, is very stange.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  The other day I was watching the protesting in Egypt on the news, and I heard even them using those same standard two in English.  

There is something, about these chants, besides their lack of originality, that has always troubled me.  Why would you waste a minimum of four syllables on something as irrelevant to your primary message as counting?  Every time I hear these cheers I get a little mad at the guy leading it.  The organizer must have known there was going to be some chanting.  Why not  spend a couple of minutes on a decent rhyme while writing up the signs the night before?  Most of the time, I just want to give them all a redo, much like I help homeless people by creating colorful PowerPoint “Will work for food” themed signs and trade them out for their awful cardboard ones. 

Here’s what I mean: 

Instead of wasting that first line, I would have advised something like: His brain’s like jello.  Now George Bush has got to go!

How about this one?

Now wouldn’t the ironic racism of the protesters be better served this way?  Hoodies are for Winter, bro.  Racist crackers got to go! 

And what about the counting one? 

How about something like:  A body count is not a score, we don’t want your fucking war!  Sealing all our soldiers’ fate, let’s turn the war against the state! 

Look how much more that says.  And how are we supposed to take angry protesters seriously when they’re out there counting like a delinquent kindergarten class?  Remember protesters, the chant is the part of the event that goes on YouTube.  It’s the sound bite the news plays once an hour for 24 hours the next day.  

Now let’s get out there in this new decade and really do some protesting!

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