Weeks ago, when the Charleston City Paper got wind of a report that a group of protestors were going to shutdown the Ravenel Bridge during rush hour, our fellow brothers and sisters in the local media scoffed. Hell, some of them even openly doubted our report.
Their reasoning: they didn’t know about it so therefore it was not true.
And then when the actual protesters failed to do what they claimed they were going to do, you could practically hear the grumbles deep inside the dark media conglomerate dungeons — “See, I told you the City Paper was trying to pull one over on us. That Chris Haire, he’s a joker.”
But as much as I personally like a good hoax, I would never do that to our fair readers. More importantly, I would never doubt another media organization’s reportage simply because they knew something we didn’t. I mean, I would never say the Post and Courier allegedly received a Pulitzer Prize because I didn’t happen to be at the award’s ceremony. And I sure as hell wouldn’t say that one of our local television stations ran a report on an apparent double-bicycle kick soccer goal simply because I couldn’t verify the origin of the video. We’re all in this together. If we don’t join forces, those talk radio assholes just might win.
We later learned that the City Paper‘s report forced the would-be Ravenel Bridge protestors to change their plans. We also learned that the very news organizations that openly doubted our coverage had in fact received the very same email threat. Ruh roh.
So it’s with some joy that I’m proud to report that yesterday there was apparently some sort of protest on the Ravenel Bridge apparently involving the very same crew of protesters that apparently sent us that previous email threat, according to the Post and Courier, ABC News 4, and several others. I’ve been unable to confirm these reports, and the attempts I’ve made to confirm these reports have gone unanswered. Even if I do manage to get some sort of confirmation, I’ll probably have to get confirmation confirming my confirmation. Oh the trials and tribulations of a desk jockey reporter.
Anyhow, in the event that the Mt. Pleasant lane on the Ravenel Bridge was indeed blocked off yesterday by a group of protestors who’ve somehow managed to turn the Walter Scott murder into a gay rights issue, I’ve hastily prepared a list of rules that will help them bring attention to this little known tragedy which received nationwide coverage.
As someone who has been repeatedly asked by street preachers, door knockers, and mega-church cuties if I know who Jesus is — but who still doesn’t have a clue what that dude did — I’m well aware that these protestors are facing an uphill battle. Consider this my part in helping them out:
Protest Pro-Tip No. 1: Inconvenience the powers that be not the general public. You are trying to embarrass officials into action.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 2: Don’t mix messages. Mother Earth may need saving, but her plight doesn’t have dick to do with drone strikes.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 3: Your courageousness is in direct proportion to the number of you who are willing to either go to jail or get beaten.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 4: Size matters. A handful of protesters actually does harm to the cause. Go big or go home.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 5: Don’t ever let anybody see you cry.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 6: If you’re going to occupy something, there are no lunch breaks.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 7: Be aware the true motivations of your fellow protesters and exploit it. (Note: Some do it for the lulz, some to get laid, some for nostalgia.)
Protest Pro-Tip No. 8: If a member has been involved in a protest involving more than two issues in last year, stay away. They are weekend worriers.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 9: While being sincere is important, a well-crafted joke or gag can twist the knife in a way that tears cannot.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 10: You must have a job. If you do not, you cannot have the respect of the masses. Sacrifice = respect.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 11: Do not begin with a capitulation. Your demands must by definition be excessive. Or else compromise will neuter them.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 12: Accept the fact that you will never get your way and your cause will fail. It always does.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 13: Goad officers who are threatening you, not those just doing their job.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 14: Never tell anyone they’re being filmed. It’s the equivalent of threatening to sue them before they act.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 15: Smile. And admit that you’re having the time of your life. If protesting wasn’t fun, then nobody would do it.
Protest Pro-Tip No. 16: Isn’t living in Mt. Pleasant punishment enough?