If there’s one thing we are going to need in the modern era, it is a term to describe these new, asinine forms of protest currently being used to further political and ideological goals. This type is different from terrorism in that the acts aren’t violent and sometimes not even unlawful. For lack of a better
imagination term, I will dub such acts as “churlism.”
These tactics are designed to draw attention to a cause simply by being the biggest prick imaginable and getting a sufficient number of other pricks to go along with it to piss people off on a grand enough scale to accomplish your goals. Case in point: blocking bridges and freeway overpasses with human prick barricades. I think it was the Occupy Movement that really pioneered this one. Do you really want to strike a blow for your cause, deal out economic hardship on individual Americans, tie up police resources, and make everyone hate your cause as they become more aware of it? Keep them from getting to and from work.
Churlists like the Westboro Baptist Church mastered this years ago with their funeral protests and Anonymous loves to show how cyber-churlism can punish bad actors beyond simple Internet insults. In fact, churlists can often best terrorists, as Anonymous has recently proven against the KKK (an organization that has itself become more churlish with each passing decade). Hell, Obama has even practiced a rare form of state-sponsored churlism for years now by mocking invited guests at public events (Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, the entire Supreme Court, etc), laughing at commuters when his motorcades cause traffic gridlock, or golfing just to show how little he cares about his critics’ views on his lack of action on foreign or domestic policy. And all of those crass people get away with it and even do succeed at getting their message across. So we know it works.
My own viewpoint is that incredibly crass acts like blockading traffic and taking over public parks are inconvenient, but they are far preferable to destruction of property, assault, and other nasty acts that asshats with no purpose for breathing other than their pet causes do when they don’t think they’re being listened to.
Now, I’m not saying that I want to be vexed in my daily life. Far from it. Also, recognize that churlism is different from civil disobedience, which is generally pretty focused on specific people and circumstances. Churlism is utterly random and basically has a way of pissing off people who even hear that it’s being done. Even people who agree with with the Ferguson protestors hate the thought of being caught in a traffic jam while police kick street people and privileged young white hipsters off of a freeway ramp. On the other hand, they like the thought of other people being inconvenienced, because fuck you, whitey.
What I am saying is that I find protest techniques such as these to be potentially highly effective, more so than anything we’ve seen before. In a society as passive-aggressive and disconnected as ours, it simply has to work. Also, I think a good distinction is needed to protect civil liberties by properly differentiating asshole protest activities from extreme or dangerous ones.
Some of my proposed churlist tactics:
1. Fart-Ins. Exactly what you think it means.
2. Sidewalk Jamming. Police can clear you off of a street, but what can they do if you’re just walking on the sidewalk reeeeeeeeeeeallllllllly fucking slowly?
3. Urinal Funnel. I have to explain this one. Some guy at my workplace figured out how to remove the urinal pad and roll it up into a cone. He’d then set it back in the drain so that when the automatic flush engaged, the water would spray back toward the person who had just pissed in it. The guy is a genius, but he lacks the vision to fulfill the destiny of a great cause.
What do you think of such protest tactics? Fair or over the line?