RECAP: On Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 nearly 20 improveratti showed up at 5:15pm in Harvard Square under the threat of rain with homemade signs and the opinion people should keep their opinions to themselves. In our April Fool's performance we would be portraying the radical members of a fake political action committee called Citizens Against Protests, Rallies, & Expression; That's C.A.P.E.R. for short. Get it?! Caper!
C.A.P.E.R decided to hold a protest in a spot known for protests. Nearly every issue has been protested on Harvard Square- except one. Protests. Yes- we protested protests.
AgentEm developed some chants for our rally to cry out to the passing public at rush hour- here are a few of them:
- No Assembly Required!
- We Want Quiet, not a Riot!
- No Cause is Good Cause!
- No One Cares What You Think!
- We're NOT Gonna PROTEST!
- No Change to Spare!
- Silence not Stridence!
- Decide to be Satisfied!
- Expression is Depression!
- Public Scenes are a Waste of Time!
People immediately took notice of the chanters and shot us many bewildered looks. A lot of people laughed- a lot of people just walked on by as though we didn't exist. "Another protest", they probably thought.
A couple of us walked around the square to collect signatures. Signatures for a ballot to ban public signature collecting. We actually collected over an entire page's worth! Most people laughed as they signed our ridiculous, self defeating petition. A couple were not comfortable with such radical ideas.
One woman approached the group, "What are you protesting? ...you're protesting protesting?"
Woman: "You're protesting protesting?"
Woman: "I don't get it."
James: "Well, we're also collecting signatures-"
Woman: "But I don't get it so..."
James: "We're trying to get some legislation passed that will make protesting and rallying illegal..."
Woman: "But you're protesting this- with that law you wouldn't be able to do this."
James: "That doesn't make any sense."
Woman: "You're protesting right now! You're protesting protesting. I don't understand."
James: [motions to the protesters now shouting "protesters suck!"] "See, this is really annoying, and we feel this shouldn't be allowed."
Woman: "Oh, I think I get it- you are trying to ban protesting by showing how annoying protesting is..."
James: "Well not just protesting- other kinds of expression as well- I mean if I don't agree with someone else's opinion I shouldn't have to listen to it- so we'd like to make it illegal to talk in public as well."
James: [shows woman petition to ban public signature collecting] "Will you sign our petition?"
James: [glum] "Ok..."
Woman: "I don't understand- you're protesting protesting- but you're protesting!"
James: "...yeah but it's different..."
Woman: "It's not different! You're protesting protesting by protesting! I don't get it!"
James: "Well ok..."
Woman: [sympathetic] "I just don't understand- I'm just trying to understand."
James: "You don't have to agree with our cause..."
Woman: "So you're protesting protests- is it all protests? Even this one?"
James: "You wanna join?"
Woman: "Yes- can I have a sign?"
The patient good sport took a sign, waved it around, and led a wave of chants much to our delight. She then confided, "This is the biggest oxymoron I've ever participated in!"