Robert Cormack

2 years ago · 3 min. reading time · ~10 ·

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The Protesters Danced In The Mud.

The Protesters Danced In The Mud.

When you start dispersing crowds with James Blunt songs, it makes you wonder if the world is funny or fucked.

Give me a shout if this doesn’t work.” James Blunt

I’ll be honest, I’ve been in a slump ever since the war in Ukraine started. I can’t seem to be, well, funny. Obviously, wars aren’t meant to be funny, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try.

Most journalists don’t even bother. They figure people just want facts. Then protests start, and journalists find themselves wondering what they said that the got everyone so upset.

Needless to say, you have to choose your words carefully in this business. Protesters, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as restricted. At one pro-choice rally in Washington D.C., a woman held up a sign saying, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a senator.”

Two other quips that caught my attention were “Think outside my box,” and “Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries.”

Clever missives like this have actually become mainstays at pro-choice rallies. Two other quips that caught my attention were “Think outside my box,” and “Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s good to see wit replacing sanctimony, and it’s not just the participants getting in on the act. Occasionally, governments display a rare sense of humour, like in Wellington, NZ, where authorities came up with an ingenious plan to disperse anti-government protesters.

After days of trying to reason with 3,000 activists, speaker of the House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, played a very loud fifteen-minute loop of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” and “Macarena” by Los del Rio.

The protesters, with an equally loud sound system, played back Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Not to be outdone, Mallard hit the crowd with Matt Mulholland’s version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” (a truly awful song to begin with), and some tunes from the animated movie Frozen (equally awful).

The protesters danced in the mud.

At this point, both sides seemed to be at a stalemate, until English musician, James Blunt contacted Mallard, offering up his own catalogue.

On the fifth day, after 120 protesters were arrested, the crowd was suddenly bombarded with Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.”

Mallard wrote back, saying, “@JamesBlunt we’ll take you up on your very kind offer. My only doubt is whether it is fair to our @NZpolice officers, but I think they’ll be able to cope.”

On the fifth day, after 120 protesters were arrested, the crowd was suddenly bombarded with Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.”

Usually this would send even hardened demonstrators packing.

Not Wellingtonians.

“The silly beggars are singing along,” one official said.

Opposition lawmakers pounced, accusing Mallard of a “failed ploy” — and a childish one at that. “It certainly wouldn’t be tactics and methodologies we would endorse,” one member said.

Well, that was funny in itself, since none of the opposition had a better idea. James Blunt didn’t, either. If you can’t clear a crowd with “You’re Beautiful,” you might as well give up and save koalas or something.

He responded by saying he’d be out soon with his “Greatest Hit” album. This, no doubt, made Wellingtonians very happy.

The fact that the crowd didn’t disperse made James Blunt very happy. He responded by saying he’d be out soon with his “Greatest Hit” album.

This, no doubt, made Wellingtonians very happy.

They’re a sentimental lot, even if it means listening to one of the worst songs in history. But that’s the thing about protests these days. They never fail to make us wonder if the world is funny or fucked.

I felt this during The Freedom Convoy in Ottawa. Some of the participants ended up in inflatable hot tubs, drinking and having a grand old time. One trucker from British Columbia left, started going the wrong way, then came back and got in the hot tub again.

And let’s not kid ourselves. What we’re witnessing now isn’t exclusive or revolutionary. If anything, we’re playing catch up. Down in Mexico, back in 2017, angry mobs used giant slingshots to hurl 1,000 dirty diapers at the offices of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling party.

“We’re giving the PRI back all the shit they’ve given the government and the country with their corruption and impunity,” one person said.

 

Well, up here in the north, we don’t “air our dirty diapers” like the Mexicans, but you’ve got to hand it to them. One thousand dirty diapers is a lot of shit raining down on anybody — even if they are corrupt.

It was probably no picnic for officials in Belgium, either, when farmers shot milk cannons at the parliament buildings to protest food prices.

Again, it not only reflects the frustration of the people, it also shows how inventive citizens can be when the government isn’t.

Politics is a staid business. Even politicians who want to get things done find themselves waiting years for anything to pass. Eventually they disappear, like so many protesters, and we’re left wondering who won.

Certainly in Wellington, New Zealand, it was James Blunt.

I just hope “You’re Beautiful” never becomes an anthem.

If it does, I definitely will start throwing soiled diapers at someone.

Maybe not James Blunt. But certainly someone.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, blogger and author of “You Can Lead A Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive).”

Comments

Robert Cormack

2 years ago #6

Jim Murray

2 years ago #5

For somebody who has been in a slump, I laughed quite a bit at this, despite the borrowed humour. We're all feeling pretty glum. I'm thinking seriously about writing an assassination story. Trouble is I can't decide who will be the target. There are so fucking many of them.

Robert Cormack

2 years ago #4

Robert Cormack

2 years ago #3

Ken Boddie

2 years ago #2

As you know, Rob, it takes a pretty astute mind to make good protest jokes about war, or any other reasons to grumble. I guess what you’re saying is, if you can’t be sharp, try Blunt. 😂🤣😂

John Rylance

2 years ago #1

I enjoyed this.

The bit about the hot tub, reminded me of the Ronnie Corbett story of the man who died in a vat of wine. He got out three times to go to the toilet.

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