Thursday, July 26, 2007

Crazy Fringe or Rotten Core? You Make the Call

Earlier this week, Powerliner John Hineraker asked rhetorically "isn't it a bad thing for a political movement if its core members are, in large part, stark, raving mad?" Well, generally yes, but . . .

The occasion was his comment on a protest at a Hillary Clinton event in San Francisco by an anti-war group called Breasts not Bombs. As you might guess, this is a group of anti-war activists, mostly women, who protest with public displays of nudity. (If you are thinking of clicking through that link, NSFW. If you are thinking of clicking through for all the wrong reasons, don't. Just sayin'.) So he refers to the protest and drops these questions about the core members of the movement -- presumably the anti-war movement, not the clothing-optional movement -- being crazy.

This is so typical of how the right finds the most extreme instances of left-wing silliness and sprays that same gloss on everyone who disagrees with the administration about anything that I couldn't let this one pass. Hinderacker's post is too target-rich.

First off, I'm not sure I'd go with crazy here. These folks may be crazy, but the particular protest isn't. I'd give it an A for attention-getting -- which is the point -- though it would get a D-minus for actually persuading people. Still, flawed tactics don't equate to crazy.

Still, I'd concede, perhaps daffy. But the daffy Breasts not Bombs protesters hardly constitute the "core of the movement." The movement, last I checked, includes some 66% of Americans. BnB meanwhile is the very definition of a fringe group. San Francisco is the home of the group, yet they pulled together only three protesters (judging from the photos) for the protest at Clinton HQ. A high profile event like that and they manage a mere six breasts. More generally, this protest is the first I've heard of the group, and I read pretty widely about the anti-war movement.

While I concede our daffy fringe, I find it far more disturbing when a conservative mainstay flogs long-discredited Vince Foster conspiracy theories. Isn't it a bad thing for a movement if one of its most visible spokespeople is either persistently dishonest or pathologically paranoid?


sab said...

I lived in the San Francisco area (east bay side) from about 1986-1996. The bare-breasted protesters were around then, protesting some other cause that I can't even remember(possibly PETAish issues.) As I remember, I kind of supported their cause but thought their approach was beyond ridiculous.I had a retail business that happened to have them baring themselves and banging their drums on the sidewalk out front. Everyone just shrugged it off as life in northern California. Just be advised that these folks were in their late thirties then(1991), so you might not want to link through to their pictures now.