A Spoonful of Shuger

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 08:10:51 EST

Moronic Dirtballs and Vegan Dykes united in a noble effort to . . . wait, I
lost my train of thought.


today's papers

Brainless in Seattle

By Scott Shuger

Everybody leads with yesterday's Seattle street clashes between
protesters and police that delayed the opening of the WTO summit
and resulted in an all-night curfew and the calling-out of some
unarmed National Guard units to keep the peace for President
Clinton's arrival early Wednesday morning. The fronts all feature
photos of the cops firing tear gas and pepper spray on protesters,
reminding the reader of the authorities' central PR problem in such
situations: regardless of the merits, there's no way to look good
when you're armored from head to toe and shooting stuff at folks
who are unarmored and unarmed.

The coverage explains that what the WP calls a "guerrilla army of
anti-trade protesters" (anti-trade?) started massing early in the
day, prompting the lock-down of the main hotels in downtown Seattle
housing WTO delegates, and of the convention center where the
meetings were supposed to be held. Stores and restaurants then shut
down and then protesters filled the streets. The papers say that
most of the protest was nonviolent noncompliance, but also pass
along eyewitness accounts of destruction of property, including
that Seattle sacrilege, the looting and vandalizing of a Starbucks.
(USAT shows a moronic dirtball doing just that.) It's reported that
much of the violence was committed by people in black clothes and
ski masks.

The papers grapple with the sheer diversity of the protesters:
people dressed as pigs, turtles, clowns, Superman, vegetables, fish
and butterflies, says the WP. The LAT spots Earth First! members
chaining themselves together and women calling themselves "Vegan
Dykes" marching topless. Also present were some top leaders of U.S.
labor, a Sierra Club honcho, and a leading Chinese dissident. The
only common thread seemed to be, as the NYT puts it, the view that
the WTO is a "handmaiden of corporate interests whose rulings
undermine health, labor and environmental protections around the
world." Frances Fukuyama, in the WSJ, and Thomas Friedman, in the
NYT, have columns today ridiculing this view.

The WTO protests are undoubtedly an important, perhaps even
watershed, event, but the LAT overshoots when it states: "Not since
the days of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement has the
entire downtown core of a major American city been seized by a
popular political uprising...." Well, no...actually there was this
thing called the L.A. riots. Remember, LAT?--your building got