Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sanity Signs: Zero Spelling Errors

Correctly spelled sign, marker on corrugated cardboard
I just got back from the Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear). With apologies to Stephen Colbert, I'm much more a supporter of the sanity side. I love satire, but can't sustain it to its Swiftian ends. It hurts too much.

Cooperate and nobody gets hurt, 11x17 laser print
This is my sign. I think it wasn't too clever, since hardly anyone took my picture, but I liked it. (This line was borrowed from a Linden Hills Co-op T-shirt.)

My general thoughts on the event are that it was very well-written and super-organized. I was close to tears several times (yah, I'm a big baby [boomer] that way... Yusuf/Cat Stevens' appearance really got me, as did John Stewart's closing speech).

If there had been only 150,000 people attending, it would have been perfect, but there were at least 215,000 in the immediate vicinity (counted by the same guy who counted the Glenn Beck and inauguration crowds), and it doesn't seem as though the organizers, the Park Police or the city of Washington thought that many would show up.

Keep in mind, that number doesn't include the many, many people who never got down to the Mall at all. My unscientific guess -- based on the people I talked to while walking around in the hours afterward or whom I personally know were there and tried to attend -- is that there was at least a 1:1 ratio between people in the immediate vicinity and those who were in the surrounding area but never made it near the grass to be counted. Students who came by bus from St. Louis who arrived at 2:15 and couldn't get close, folks who never left the Gallery Place metro stop, friends from Philadelphia who watched on a T.V. in a sports bar five or six blocks away. It was pandemonium in D.C.

If you've got three hours to spend, I recommend watching the show online. Even the music is generally worth listening too, including Kid Rock, believe it or not.

These photos are primarily from just one area of the mall, about one-eighth of the official, permitted area. A few were taken after leaving the rally, walking toward Capitol Hill.

60ish white man holding a tiny sign that says This is what the silent majority looks like
Joshua Green from the Atlantic seems to think the crowd was mostly 20-30-something hipsters, but I'd say the crowd near me was at least 30 percent over 40, with many over 50. What I saw the fewest of were teenagers and preteens.

Elderly woman in wheelchair surrounded by other people over 50
This woman had on a name tag saying she's 88 years old.

The percentage of clever signs was damn high. (Mark Twain says to substitute the word "damn" every time you're inclined to use the word "very.") Many of them were about Christine O'Donnell or tea partiers, but I have declined to show those because they get a bit repetitive.

I'm a Mama Berenstain Bear, colored marker on white poster board

I'm so angry I could vote, black marker on yellow poster board

Why don't we all just take a nap, color ink jet printout

Moderation or death (or cake), marker and collage on poster board
A couple of other signs I saw but couldn't get a picture of said:

  • Dare to be diffident
  • You either support false dichotomies or you're against us
  • If we don't have something nice to say, why do we keep saying it?
Give us back the colonies, we'll give you health care - with Union Jack, color ink jet printout
Fight apathy with irony, black marker on white poster board

Jesus, protect us from your fanclub, black and blue marker on white poster board with yellow highlighting

We have everything to fear and fear itself, black marker on white poster board
I loved looking across the crowd on the Jumbotron shots and seeing all different types of signs, rather than a sea of identical, printed placards, as we see too often at conventions or rallies. Even when it's a cause I agree with, it's distressing to see sincere sentiment appear to be manufactured.

Some were quotes from the past:

Anger is not an argument, Daniel Webster, black marker on yellow poster board

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed - Michael Pritchard, printed laserprinted type pasted to white poster board
A few signs were subtle, and a number verged on DaDaism.

The word FACTS inside a heart shape, black marker on white poster board

Could you restore my hair, too? black marker on white poster board
Some folks wore preprinted shirts or other garb. While these weren't original creations, I hadn't seen them before:

Green t-shirt with white letters, reading SCIENCE It works, bitches

Knit cap with the word HATE embroidered on the edge. The E is crossed out with red, so it now reads HAT

Dark t-shirt with white letters reading Don't make me use my librarian voice
There were a number of signs specifically aimed at Fox News:

Think outside the Fox, red and blue marker on white foamcore board

Sheperd Fairey-style illustration of Glenn Beck with text, CHANGE the channel
Plus the one I saw but couldn't shoot, which said "More Sanity, Less Hannity."

And finally, a sign that wasn't trying to be clever, but that expressed one of the things I most hoped to help amplify by being part of the rally:

All Americans are REAL Americans, black, red and blue marker on white poster board

6 comments:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Fun to read! Thanks for going and for posting these.

Michael Leddy said...

I like your sign, DN3. It has the asset of understatement. I am hoping that the silent majority noted on another sign in your post makes itself heard quite clearly on Tuesday.

CCMA said...

Yea, you! Great observations.

said...

i made the dare to be diffident sign!
was hoping someone would take a pic of it, damn.

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow! What a great collection of sane signs and such fun to read!
I wish I could have gone. Thanks for sharing!

Daughter Number Three said...

Dear diffident sign maker: I wanted to get a shot of your sign, but I think I saw at some distance over the heads of the crowd and couldn't get it before it got blocked.