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15 December 1999

Bender: What an awful dream! 1s and 0s everywhere! [shudder] ...and I thought I saw a 2...
Fry: It was just a dream, Bender. There's no such thing as 2.
-- Futurama

If you're hungry for more accounts of Seattle from people who were actually there and aren't part of news organizations owned by multinational corporations, this is a good collection of stuff (particularly the last message in the article, about a post-incident public hearing):

  • Seattle [Red Rock Eater, seen on rc3]
    [A] WTO comment forum sponsored by the Seattle City Council ... lasted EIGHT SOLID HOURS, and still hundreds were not able to give their testimony, limited to three minutes per person. One hundred fifty people spoke, 148 speaking against the actions of the police, and 2 speaking in favor. The 148 people provided the most riveting and disturbing testimony I've ever heard...

    3. Testimony of 2 miscarriages caused by unprovoked police violence, including one physical assault and another from gas and pepper spray.

    4. Incredibly disturbing video of huddled protestors in the fetal position being attacked by numerous police officers with batons, one pulling a protesters head back in order to spray pepper spray directly in his eye...

    Even more disturbing is the media coverage. KIRO TV took the single police officer who showed up and led with the story that in an eight hour meeting of "outrage over the handling of the WTO [!]," a police officer "asked for compassion from the crowd".

Followup from a Seattle newspaper on last night's second public hearing regarding the WTO incident:

  • Hundreds again turn out to blame the police [Seattle-PI]
    "I want to know who was responsible for pushing the protesters up on Capitol Hill twice, and tear-gassing innocent bystanders -- people coming out of bookstores, changing their tires, leading their lives," said Jamie Lutton, the owner of Twice Told Tales bookstore on Capitol Hill. "Find out for me what man or woman thought that was a good idea . . . and I want their metaphorical head."

    Rudy McCoy grew frustrated as he waited to be the 196th speaker. He said more people would have come forward to support the police, but are afraid. "There's a lot of other people I've talked to who believe the police should have restored order," he said, "but they're afraid if they came down here, they'd be shouted down or even attacked."

From the sound of it (and from many, many independent accounts), what many of the police were doing was not 'restoring order'.

Here's an account of the same meeting from the other Seattle paper:

  • Anger erupts again over WTO as hundreds tell their stories [Seattle Times]
    Several speakers identified themselves as revolutionaries and called for nothing less than insurrection. Others held more mainstream political views, but felt the same anger. "From my observations, it seemed to me that there was a coordinated strategy on the part of police to use violence . . . against absolutely peaceful protesters," said Mike Andrew of Capitol Hill. "And I'm not even a revolutionary. I'm just a plain old social democrat."

    Many wanted to rebut what they felt were lies told by police or the media. "I heard police claim there were no injuries," said Paul Marini, his left arm in a sling. "But they broke my arm."

    At least two citizens who braved the often raucous crowds shared a different view of the protests. "I'm not for the WTO. I'm not for any side at all," said Kathleen Dunne, a Metro bus driver. "I saw a lot of ugly things that protesters did." She said she saw an officer get kicked in the face, hot chili thrown at a bus driver, and protesters rocking and urinating on a bus. Meanwhile, thousands of passengers were inconvenienced. "There's blame on all sides," she said.

You know, if not for the Web, I don't think I'd know anything about what really happened in Seattle. It's certainly never been my habit to go out of my way to get other cities' newspapers, but here I can read multiple local news sources from dozens of major cities around the world. It's commonplace now, sure, but sometimes it's worth re-noting the newness and wonder of it all.

Back to more trivial matters: Futurama will apparently be moving from its ideal spot right after the Simpsons on Sunday nights:

  • 'Futurama' Shock [Entertainment Weekly, seen on Pith and Vinegar]
    After being off the air for four weeks [starting Jan. 9], "Futurama" will return Sunday, Feb. 6, at 7:00 p.m. [Eastern] -- the show's third time slot in less than a year.

Bah, I say. And Bah again.

This Sunday's episode (Nixon, Election 3000, Bender as a head) was particularly good.

Anybody out there singing Handel's Messiah this season? It would probably be a bad idea to sing these words instead (some R-rated):

  • Alternative "Messiah" texts
    For he shall surely buy, [And He shall purify...]
    For he shall surely buy, -- a ton of Levi's;
    That he may offer unto the horde
    an offering of "righteous" dress.

    O thou, that sellest good siding to Brian...

    Honolulu! Honululu!
    For I would rather be on vacation


I'm stating the obvious here, but Taco Bell's 'chalupa' ads make no sense from a traditional marketing message standpoint.

Why do the bystanders (and dog) want the main character to drop it? Is it spoiled? Poisoned? Rigged to explode? Won't that make people want to avoid chalupas? Wouldn't it make more marketing sense to have people seeking out the chalupa, struggling to obtain one? Only in the guy-hanging-from-a-rope ad does dropping it make any sense.

I guess they're going for the ironic Sprite-ad style:

"We know you know we want you to eat chalupas, so we won't bother communicating that...we just want the name stuck in your head."


This Pointless Media Moment brought to you by Cool Ranch Soda.

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