Monday, April 19, 2010

Protesting with Style and Grace

To protest whaever annoys us is a right dear to Americans: we have opinions on just about anything. Oops, I'm remiss a little: my thinking hasn't clarified on Free Silver or on Statehood for the Florida Parishes, despite the best efforts by the Times-Picyaune, the Good Sisters, a motely crew of professors both of the academic and the musical sort, as well as the habituees of coffee shops.

People protest in various ways: with boycotts, with marches, with sit-ins or lie ins, with placards and signs and picket lines. Lately there's been the use of nudity as a shock tactic in protest. And, unfortunately, it's been overdone. I can see the temptation: to be able to flaunt one's buff body openly while simultaneously gaining a frisson of righteousness on the side: now that's a two-fer for you!

Alas, buffness is not often evident. Au contraire! One of the recent Yahoo! news pictures astounds the gentle reader with the dubious pleasure of hairy heinies mounted on bicycles. Now is that what a gentle lady wishes to see in her e-mail portal on an otherwise nondescript Friday morning? I think not. Non cogito, ergo non sum. Je ne pense pas, donc je ne suis pas. Ahhhh!

I think the socially correct and considerate protester should endeavor to protest in the most polite manner, so that when she appears in the moment of arrest on the 6 P.M. news her family and neighbors are edified. They should say upon watching: "Ahhhh . . . . the Boudreaux; they reared the children well." There are things to consider:

1. Proper clothing. Nudity is so outré. I recommend wearing designer clothes as an ideal. Versace, perhaps. Or maybe Ralph Lauren. Liz Claiborne has a number of garments that make a stunning look for the elegant protestor. One's lingerie should match, just on principle. This ensures that one is properly grounded.

2. Proper accessories. Think understated elegance. Maybe a nice necklace or gold chain and tiny earrings. No hoop earrings: they are too blatant! Message t-shirts are to be avoided. Navels are not to be flaunted. Consider what message you wish to send: "I've got an innie!" or "I am a conspicuous consumer with no taste; as evident by my buying junk jewelery for my belly button."

3. Proper courtesy. Thank people when you should, and say "please." It is considered mannerly to prepare a complimentary box of cookies for the arresting officer if you expect arrest. However, avoid the stereotype implied in the gift of doughnuts.

4. Proper graphics: Any signs that are use should use lettering that is legible, consistent, and pleasingly congruent with the background.

5. Proper means of protest: Yelling, blocking the right of way, and cursing mark one as unfit for polite discourse. Instead, edifying ways such as having violins on the street or even a string quartet might enhance the prevailing mood and elevate the experience.

6. Proper attitude: Be unfailingly friendly and charming. Treat your act of protest as if it is a possible imposition or inconvenience to others. Smile a lot. Say, "Have a nice day" and "Take care, y'all."

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