Sunday, August 7, 2016

Demonstrate - It's Your Right and Everyone's Watching

       The past month seems to have fast-forwarded itself, propelled by the very energy of its events.  The world stage was brimming with combustible and powerful sparks of conflicts, high emotions, tragedy, confusion - the stuff of an action-packed inferno.  Our nation's performance, a real page-turner, was dominated by the antics at two major political party conventions.  A gripping narrative, it was enhanced by the desultory alteration of genre.  Fiction and non, its cast of characters and their roles vied for audience acclamation with events and plot.
       Adding to this olio was the orchestration of riveting - though not always cogent - demonstrations and their demonstrators (ranging from pith to pit) ever integral to the calliope.  At times passionate; at others impassive; their constant could be noted as "show-stopping".  But the price of lingering was too often the missing of an important beat, so the show and its observers had to slog on.       One wonders, with idle curiosity (as the interest of energy conservation precludes the use of any more rigorous modifier), what compels these outbursts?
       Well, the wronged clearly need and are entitled to justice.  And righting a weong to selfis either innate or mastered as an art form at a very early stage of development.  Its beginnings are instinctual.  Show me a baby cub who won't reflexively claw and snarl at his perceived aggressor as he smugly culls the last of the honey from his sticky fur follicles from the remains of little cubby's smoothly retrieved sweet delicacy jar, carelessly tossed by some sated slob and I'll show you a Momma bear who has some serious street-talkin' to do with her 'taken' little urchin.  (This is the Mamma who used to run with The Porridge Boys so our little cub has to honor his Mamma's moniker.)
       The 'Conspiracy Crowds', who've been harboring - sub rosa suspicion and grudges now strongly sense a stimulus - a word, expression of opinion, an innocent reply which could have menacing overtones, a deviation from formerly-held ideas regarding problem-solving, issue priorities, tie color, hem length - and fertilize and cultivate it to full fruition. They turn what may have been just a hint of sub rosa doubts into a full-cast, symphonically performed production of The Little Shop of Horrors.  In that 'Faustian' classic about a flower shop owner trying to make ends meet in New York's Skid Row (in our scenario, to win a presidential election, if you will - or not) into: "The real focus, here, folks, is Audrey." 
       (In Little Shop, Seymour, an employee who craves fame, buys a plant, names her Audrey, and gathers the duped hordes into the shop to watch Audrey perform tricks NO plant could ever do.  Seymour, at whose command she seems to perform, becomes famous and the shop thrives.  Not so the townfolk as, in truth, Audrey does Seymour's bidding ONLY IF FED HUMAN BLOOD.  We needn't go into the workings of the 'donor program', but you've most likely imagined it wasn't pretty.)
       Suffice it to say regarding 'demonstrators', there does exist a small (it is hoped) type of warped people who will stop at nothing to ensure that the main, largest follow-spot is always attached to their cause - anti- everybody, everything associated with the 'other' candidate.  Like so many demonstrators, they don't really have a cause - beyond demonstration.
     lieved in, bought Audrey.  Obviously, the downside to all of this is a willingness to follow the best enticer - with passion.  Capitalizing on this, "Evil" lures the 'Don't-know-what-it-is-but-I'm-for-it' crowd into chaos and destruction.  Seymour's 'cause' wrought havoc.  He believed in, bought Audrey.  Faust bought damnation from Mephistopheles when he sold his soul to him.
       Moral: Even if the rewards sound endless AND are on sale, they are NEVER  worth the true cost.  I was lucky.  I just got grounded.  But I was 17 and had a brother 5 years older than I, so my folks had been through the drill.
       I was a senior in High School, had been accepted to Georgetown, my grades were sterling so I risked the tarnish and joined a merry little band of afternoon class-cutters who spent afternoons in the Village - often at the Cafe Wha? where we saw and heard Carly Simon, Woody Allen and even Joan Baez (You can Google her).  And one Sunday, Joan was staging a protest under the Village Arch.  WOW!  My best friend and I, having told our parents we were going up to the Cloisters to listen to Gregorian Chant music, hot- footed it to the Village where a crowd had gathered on this beaytiful, sunny day.
       AND THERE SHE WAS.  JOAN BAEZ PLUS GUITAR and several hundred young people, arms locked, Chiclet smiles glinting.  We lucked out and edged  into the throng - arms entwined with JOAN'S as we gleefully chanted:
(Think "Glory, glory, Halleluiah!)  "If the cops get in our way, we're gonna roll right over them, roll right over. . . .")  And it was.  Over, that is when the Six o'Clock News came on and I sat next to my parents as they watched this bawdy DEMONSTRATION and there's never a blackout when you need one.
And no, I still don't know what I was demonstrating - save ignorance.
Later, Lorane. . . . .
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