Taking Sides

…So much of the criticism of the people covering Ferguson in Ferguson is dead reminiscent of the complaints lodged against people like Michael Herr and Neil Sheehan in Vietnam, and against the reporters who went South to cover the Civil Rights Movement — that they were “taking sides,” or “getting in the way,” or, even, “becoming the story.” Let us be completely clear. The reporters whose professionalism so concerns Dylan Byers are “part of the story” because the police made them “part of the story.” Forever now, as regards the events in Ferguson, Missouri, there will be those who were there, and those who were not, and the first group deserves better than being heckled by peanut galleries in ivory towers.

Taking Sides

Outside Agitators

The latest meme surrounding the events in Ferguson, Missouri, has to do with outside agitators: they seem to be the current root of all e-vil. To wit:

Antonio French, a local alderman who has joined the nightly marches, warned of a new dynamic after Sunday night’s chaos. “There is a small group of people who cannot be defined as protestors/demonstrators. They are more like fighters/rebels/insurgents,” he tweeted.

But what, exactly, comprises these outside agitators? We already know about Amnesty International, the crème de la crème of outside agitators, so let’s take a look at the rest, shall we?

But the perception that they are among the visitors has shifted some scrutiny from police to the eclectic clusters of civil rights activists, anarchists, nihilists, socialists, hipsters, artists, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.

You’re kidding, right – nihilists? And hipsters?! Do these hipsters have nasty, big, pointy teeth? Run away, run away!!!

But you know who da po-lice should ultimately fear? Us Buddhists: “thass right – we be laying some heavy zen koans on your ass, mess up yo mind, you point those guns at us...” 1

Mo-ther fucker! 2

outside agitators

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Don’t think I’ve ever seen more that 2 Buddhists in the same place. Outside of Naropa, that is.
  2. If you are old enough this echoes of 1963 when outside agitators seemingly took over the whole country. They conveniently disappeared afterward, not to be heard from again…until Ferguson!