The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental right of a free society. Protests have led to advancement in civil rights, the advancement of political causes and even the downfall of oppressive governments.
And sometimes one wonders what the big deal is.
We’re Uncomfortable with Being Uncomfortable!
In 2015 Williams College hosted a number of speakers to come as part of their “Uncomfortable Learning” series. The purpose of the series was to expose students to ideas that are different from what they may be accustomed to.
One of the speakers was Suzanne Venker, author of The Flipside of Feminism. The event was canceled, however, due to the number of protests from students who claimed that the topic made them “uncomfortable.”
Making a Mountain Out of a
Molehill Hedgehog Hill
Fans of “Sonic the Hedgehog” take their games seriously. When Sega’s “Sonic 4” hit the internet, fans were so displeased with what they saw that they started a protest by making this sobering announcement:
“Fans of the sonic series are like most sega fans, we want their old games brought back to the glory days when sega was pretty much the power in video games. Seeing the gameplay of sonic 4 has made many of us realize what we already knew, “Sonic 4″ will simply not be anywhere near as good as the original sonic games. Either way, We will decide to finally show sega what the fans truly want. A real sonic 4, as long as sonic 4 stays the way it is, we will not buy it, we will in fact buy sonic 1 on release in protest of sonic 4, till we end up with a re tool, or change, we want sonic in hd, not sonic RUSH HD. We will not buy a future sonic game, till we get a true successor to sonic 1/2”
In other words, “We’re so upset with Sega that we’ll let them know our displeasure by burdening them with a whole bunch of sales and cash.”
That sure showed them.
Burnt Up About Wage Inequality
Consider the Feminist Initiative (Feministisk Initiativ – Fi) protest in 2010. Swedish women were concerned about inequality in pay. They maintained that women, in total, were paid 70 billion kroner per year less than the total of their male counterparts. This equates to 100,000 kroner per minute (approximately $14,500 USD).
To drive home the fact that they were not making enough money, the demonstrators burned 100,000 kroner during the event.
I’m Upset But Don’t Have a Lot of Time to Protest
Fans of ABC’s FlashForward were distraught to learn that their favorite show had been canceled, and they wanted the network to know about it. On June 10, 2010, these concerned fans showed up in Burbank, California and simultaneously “blacked out” for two minutes and 17 seconds.
For those unfamiliar with FlashForward, the pilot episode’s plot centers around the world’s population falling unconscious for two minutes and 17 seconds. This time, people were less concerned about the possible end of the world and were more worked up about the end of their favorite television program.
Two minutes and 18 seconds after the protest started, it was over.
FlashForward was canceled anyway, despite the massive outcry.
Anti-War Protestors Have a Mouthful of Opposition
In 2003 protesters in San Francisco were sick of the war in Iraq — literally. Three hundred people gathered in opposition to US military involvement in Iraq and expressed their disapproval by having a “Vomit-In.” They blew their cookies all over the sidewalks and surrounding areas of the Federal Building.
Observers were left with no doubt about what the protesters thought — or what they had for breakfast that day.