Saturday, October 10, 2015 WXPort
 Hot TixBand GuideMP3 StudioBest Music PollSummer GuideThe Best
 DNC Daily Updates   l   DNC Guide   l   DNC Events Listings
Stuff at Night
The Providence Phoenix
The Portland Phoenix
FNX Radio Network
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

What if the media went to report a riot, but the rioters never showed up?


THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- I’m here in Copley Square, says a female NECN reporter to the camera around 9:45 a.m. on John Kerry’s nomination day. And this appears to be protest central today. You can hear the drums beating behind me.

The drums she’s talking about are buckets. There are four of them. Only four. Just four. They’re upside down and hanging around the necks of four young anarchists cloaked in bandannas. To their right, a bespectacled fella with skinned elbows and a long slick of stringy hair waggles a black banner with a red anarchy symbol. To their left, an undernourished kid cloaked in a black cloth shakes a plastic juice bottle rigged to shake like a maraca. Thump Thump. Waggle waggle. Shake Shake. Although a coordinated ride of about 100 bike activists left here at 8:30 a.m. and then passed through 30 minutes ago, it’s this six-person display of thumping, waggling, and shaking is what’s causing the NECN reporter to call Copley Square "protest central" right now.

Thump Thump. Waggle waggle. Shake Shake.

And that’s been the protest story so far — city council meetings are more suspenseful. Yes, there have been a smattering of anti-war/anti-DNC/anti-abortion/end-all-occupations/protest-the-protest zone/anti-prisoner-abuse/anti-Patriot-Act/anti-bioterror demonstrations around the city over the last few days. And with all due respect to each individual cause — not to undermine each protests’ importance or suggest that they’re all the same — but there’re an entire staff of reporters looking for stories, given that the last DNC saw a rock-throwing-rubber-bullet riot after a Rage Against the Machine concert. And so it’s been funny to watch them all standing around, waiting for something to happen. A month or two ago, WHDH news anchor Phil Lipof was reporting sensational stories like, "Is Boston ready for riots?" This morning, he found himself interviewing a bike activist who apparently didn’t want to be on camera, so she started picking her nose feverishly.

And yesterday, there was supposed to be a protest of 50 delegates at 3 p.m. in the "Free Speech Zone." A slew of journalists and photographers had already gathered in the corral, waiting for them to show. Born-again Christians ranted into the microphone; a fathers’ rights advocate rambled on about "the system." The media waited and waited. A reporter from the Hartford Courant who’d told everyone at a Bl(A)ck Tea Society meeting he was reading Norman Mailer’s coverage of the violent 1968 Democratic National Covention was now listening to a Christian girl with a pierced face. "Some people think that because I’m a sinner, I can’t know Jesus," she lamented. "They think, ‘I smoke cigarettes, so I can’t talk to God." He looked very bored.

And so far, since there’s been no arrests, nothing going on, every action holds monumental importance. Every sign holds the meaning of 50; every dollop of spit hucked on the sidewalk becomes an affront to the DNC. Like yesterday afternoon, when a linebacker-sized policeman chatted with a little boy, five photographers pounced. What a photo op! What a symbol for how good and restrained the Boston cops have been!

Soon afterward, someone asked a NECN cameraman what he was doing. "Waiting for the shit to hit the fan," he said laughing.

So is today the day?

Issue Date: July 29, 2004
Back to the DNC '04 table of contents
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

about the phoenix |  advertising info |  Webmaster |  work for us
Copyright © 2005 Phoenix Media/Communications Group