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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How Not to Organize a Protest

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 1:51 PM

As last week's protest revealed, if you're gonna protest cruelty to animals, it's always best to bring some naked ladies
On a blistery cold Thursday afternoon last week, 18 people stood freezing outside the Lerner Research Center in anticipation of yet another PETA protest -- this one against the Cleveland Clinic for allowing a dog to be killed in a sales demonstration. Of the 18 people there, however, 18 were members of the media and zero were actual PETA members. Finally, 15 minutes after the start of the scheduled protest, Dr. Steve Kaufman arrived, ready to hold the PETA torch. "Why are you here?" one media personality asked him. "I fancy myself extremely photogenic," the bald opthalmologist joked. "I don't think you'll have a choice," another television reporter muttered, looking around at the lack of attendees. Soon after, group leader D.S. Resch arrived wearing a ski suit, a fake suede jacket, and heavy boots. "Sorry, parking problems," he said. Can you tell us what's going to happen here? a reporter asked. Resch nodded, and hoisted up a sign reading "Cleveland Clinic's Death of a Salesdog." He explained that another PETA member would don a dog suit as a way of illustrating this point. Only problem: No one actually knew where the dog-dressing member was. No worries, though. Another protestor had arrived. Thank God! thought the media people. Someone else to talk to! Only it turned out that the protestor was actually protesting PETA. The organization is "very hypocritical," said Bob Bushok, holding up a sign that read petakillsanimals.com. "They're protesting the killing of a dog, when they actually kill 90% of their own animals." Huh. That doesn't make very good TV. few of the TV reporters turned away. Finally, the dog-suit donning member arrived, explaing that she too had trouble parking. Putting a furry, Snoopy-looking costume on over her jacket, the woman looked much more like a Dsney World character greeting her fans than a mad protestor. Nonetheless, the 18 media members silently cheered her arrival, as it meant they could all get their visuals and go home. Indeed, after all the footage was shot, the media quickly dispersed, leaving the three protestors to their very cold selves. "Now who wants to go to KFC for some tasty chicken wings?" one of the camera men called out. — Rebecca Meiser
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