Kinbote (kinbote) wrote,
Kinbote
kinbote

Irony Spirals Out Of Control

Code Pink NYC is planning to protest at a nuke plant on December 10. Here's the key sentence from their press release:

"The Billionaires for Bush are expected to defend Entergy's honor, and disrupt our event, but we plan to trick them into receiving our Citizens Badge of Shame Awards."


My head spins from the layered reversals.

But I kind of wonder whether the irony of the Shame Award plus the irony of Billionaires for Bush sort of cancel each other out when they meet... Doesn't the publicity point of the Shame Award lie in the impossible task of trying to access the Big Baddies to award it to them? Doesn't the potency of Billionaires for Bush come from their interactions with actual Bush supporters, whom they are able to undermine by being near or among them?

I think what I'm getting at is: giving a Shame Award is a confrontational act, and the Billionaires for Bush are confrontational too, though with a bit more finesse. But when they only confront each other, doesn't that fall flat? That's pretty artificial conflict. It's a different thing: it's theater.

But I like street theater. A lot. It can be great stuff. So what's my beef?

Maybe it's that presenting a Shame Award is a device designed for a situation where the presenters want to communicate but only control half of the script. Given those constraints, it's a pretty effective device. But it seems to me that so much more can be communicated when in control of the full script. In such circumstances, a mere Shame Award seems a blunt device.

And... okay, I think this is it: there's a lot of power in showing the Powerbroker Bastards in the dastardly act of evading accountability. This is why the Badge of Shame works; is this not why "Roger and Me" works as well? The narrative is unresolved, and Evasion IS the story. If the proxies for the Big Baddies (ie, Billionaires for Bush) do accept the Badge in the end here, doesn't the power of narrative endings trump whatever evasion element came before?

Btw, none of this should be construed as actual objection to Code Pink and BfB doing their thing. This is just the sort of reflective pondering that tends to accompany story development for the street theater group I'm in. Our development process is pretty slow, but our ideas and symbols are pretty satisfyingly lined up when we're done.
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