A certain group of relatively-tough, mainly-white, guys in uniforms who bear a fair degree of authority, are mostly listened-to, sometimes respected, and whose decisions are accurate around 86% of the time, are now wearing the fashion of protest. A single, white, elastic band encircles the wrist. It’s what this bunch of formerly morbidly-obese males chose to show the world instead of eating more ice cream. “Hey, stop abusing us!” Don’t try to deny or hide it. You, Mr. Baseball Umpire, are outed. You have drawn a line in the sand and stated, “No mas. We will be abused no more.” The reason why is simple. The reason why. Because ballplayers, managers, fans of all flavors, and others of such ilk are abusive, malevolent douchebags who have nothing better to do than deride these poor, poor arbiters. They hurl expletives at them and publicly shame them by shouting sayings such as, “Hey Ump, get a new pair of glasses, ya blind turd,” or simply, “Fuck you, ump!”
This piece, though, is not about baseball. It is nothing if it is not about the fashion of protest. After getting a good look at the raw spiffiness and simplicity of the single white elastic band the umps have chosen to wear in protest, and especially after his patented power nap, FS is thinking there have to be other fashionistas of activism; can’t be just a bunch of fat guys in funny suits sporting a schoolboy cap that have designed some protest regalia as kick-ass as a white wristband. And…here…we…go.
First and foremost, we acknowledge the Guy Fawkes mask, brilliantly employed in the classic, protest-for-human rights film, ‘V for Vendetta.’ It’s the hands-down winner overall. Reduced to mere banality through repetition, the mask mostly triggers the observer to quit protesting, and beat feet back to a comfortable living room where he stares at the wall-mounted 60” Vizio HDX Monitor upon which the film is coincidentally flickering.
Another fave in this category is rooted in our very own happy, gay, and free land…
sometimes all of these occur at once. How cool it is to watch 6 or 7 LGBTers in full flight, smiling and racing down a sun-dappled street in Anytown, USA during a Pride Parade, securely wrapped in the full regalia of a long, wide, fluttering rainbow flag. Nothing like it, I say. I also say, watch out for that group of fat, mean-spirited white men lurking at the corner, spitting out venom with their chew, as their sweat-soaked hands begin to lose grip on that splintered piece of 2x4 they’re holding.
More frivolity, eh? Let’s travel down South, por favor. If you don’t think Argentinian housewives are some group of tough bitches you don’t know international protesting. Apparently, when this group of matronly madpersons gets –well – mad, they don’t don a silly, plastic, bearded mask, or a club, or wave some sissy flag…no! None of that shit for them. The housewives of Buenos Aires are hard-core. To prove they are protesters and housewives, they make their stand (somewhere far from the action; preferably within steps of their finely manicured homes) and begin clanging the shit out of pots and pans. Lids too. This is not a group to be ignored. They look angry and, if you look closely, some of them are packing…some type of picnic fork with those cracked, plastic handles. You know which ones.
Finally, on choosing my personal paragon of couture vis à vis activism, I am left with a
seeming conundrum. Go with the very fashionable mode of skulking around robed in a hoodie, an item originally made popular by clothes companies apparently using some forethought, given it occasionally rains. It became protest-worthy when an African American teen was gunned down and murdered by a self-appointed white vigilante. Too dangerous. Then, choose the Asian/Mockingjay way. This is a simple, effective,
communication where the protestor faces the object of derision and basically offers him/her/it the ‘ole three-finger salute. Seen recently in Seoul and in multiplexes near you, this method of protest worked well for scores of angry men and women who, in holding the three-finger salute high sent their message: “We don’t’ want another fucking shopping mall.” As a believer in Eastern Philosophy and tent-pole productions, FS will tell you this finger thing is the attractive alternative. I encourage you to remember there is beauty and contentment in a life lived in balance. Let the middle finger be the ‘middle way.’ And, you will find enlightenment.