The FUCK YOU Movement

Even if you had not just spent a week on a remote farm in Peru with no access to media, then stayed up all night, then travelled for twenty hours zonked on Xanax and arrived in New York at two a.m. unable to sleep until the following night, you might find the Republican National Convention totally surreal. It’s like, what if New York was a police state overrun by even more fat white tourists with stupid hair and name tags, and walking around the city suddenly became as hard as driving in it? It’s like, what if you lived in a bizzarre kind of Alice-In-Wonderland double-speak world where you can exercise your right to free speech, as long as you do it in a tiny cage conveniently located where none of the people you’re speaking to can see or hear you?

Most New Yorkers in their right minds have fled, but SuperLefty is proud to be back in New York in the most unenviable dog days of late August/early September, at the most unenviable moment of the Invasion of the Moron Puppeteers of Evil, to defend her beloved city from these demented, fascist interlopers. She is braving not only demented fascists and their fashion faux pas, but the revolting canyons of midtown, in order to do her part to speak truth to power.

The truth we speak is simple. To the delegates and fundraisers of the Republican National Convention, we say: “FUCK YOU.”

No, really. For two days Rebecca and I have been showing up at various convention events and prowling the streets outside Madison Square Garden, sneaking past the barricades to unroll a giant FUCK YOU sign in the faces of Republicans. We are the FUCK YOU movement.

The FUCK YOU movement is simple. There are no meetings, no mass emails, no websites, no t-shirts. There are no permits, no chants, no tactics. We have a big, rolled-up sign. We avoid the little animal pens they’ve set up for the protestors and sashay right down gauntlets of Republicans lining up for fundraising dinners at Tavern on the Green, a giant FUCK YOU with legs.

We also each have two little paddles we picked up from someone giving out free promotional CNN materials. (Strangely, this person is not asked by the police to “move along” from her spot on the sidewalk. Apparently only people with signs that express actual opinions, instead of the name of television stations, are hazardously blocking the sidewalk.) On the blank side of these paddles, we have each written “FUCK” and “YOU.”

The paddles are a quicker draw than the giant sign. They are more useful for giving the FUCK YOU to Republicans on the move. This is easy to do. We walk downtown on Seventh Avenue as they approach the Garden. We wait for clots of them to gather at the intersections. We spot them, passes swinging from their necks, guffawing about their sick, evil Republican plans to wage endless war, control our wombs, kill and starve many of the nonwhite people of the world, and eventually get us all killed. As they approach, we give them the double FUCK YOU. We hold it above our heads, because we are short and many of them are freakishly tall from drinking their bizzarro hormone-laden heartland milk, or eating babies, or whatever it is they do.

The look on their faces when they get the FUCK YOU is priceless. FUCK YOU is not what they are expecting. Especially not from two short girls in sundresses who look like they might still be in high school.

There are several reactions we normally get. Men between twenty and fifty tend to make innuendoes and jokes of the “Would you really?”/”Anytime, baby!” genre. Middle-aged women who have probably absorbed some weird brand of patriotic conservative Christianity drawl, “Well I looooove you!” Less sunny middle-aged to older-ish men and women say things to the effect of, “Oh, that’s nice. Nice language. Veeery nice. Your mothers must be very proud of you.” To this we say, “You think this SIGN is obscene? Your WAR is obscene. Your GREED is obscene. Your LIES are obscene. Your HATE is obscene. Your PARTY is obscene.” We also point out that “Cheney said it on the Senate floor!”

Many of the demented fascists appear to have a sense of humor, and gleefully photograph us, a souvenir of their political moment in craaaazy New York City. Only one guy actually said, “Fuck you, too, ladies.” There is a lot of sneering, a lot of uneasy chuckling, a fair amount of nose wrinkling and speeding up of steps. Nobody likes to be followed down the street by a sign that says FUCK YOU. But the best part is the bewildered expression that crosses their faces before they decide how they’re going to react. Chanting, inscensed liberals safely barricaded across the street they were expecting, and can ignore. A “FUCK YOU” right in their face is a delicious surprise to deliver. It actually affects them in an unpleasant way. It gets to them. After all these years of them getting to me, and getting to me, and getting to me, I am finally getting to them!

All this time, I have been wanting to get up in the face of these motherfuckers and say FUCK YOU, but they are usually on T.V., or in Washington, or in parts of the country not accessible by New York City mass transit. I was recently in a foreign country, and I met some amazing people there. It made me think about how you should say what you really feel to people you might never see again. It’s nice to be able to implement that right here at home. I estimate that I have said FUCK YOU to hundreds of Republicans from all over the United States. Thank you, Republicans, for coming to New York and vilely explointing tragedies that have occured here, tragedies I witnessed with my own eyes that will haunt me forever. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to personally say FUCK YOU to many of you, right to your multitude of smug, doughy, rich, white, ignorant, racist, cigar-smoking, lipstick-feathered faces.

I can imagine certain criticisms of the FUCK YOU movement. Some of the other protestors have accused us of playing into the Republicans’ hands, of giving them ammo for their perceptons of liberals as derranged or intolerant. To this I say, (surprise!) FUCK IT. Democrats and liberals are always so fucking worried someone is going to think they are angry or crazy. Newsflash: your enemies already think you are angry and crazy. They should think you are angry and crazy, because you should be angry and crazy. If you get angry and crazy enough you might actually accomplish something. I don’t understand why the left is preoccupied with the right thinking they are extreme–the right long ago stopped worrying about being perceived as extreme and just started being extreme, with woefully successful results. That is one of the many ways the Democrats are failing me, and failing this country. They don’t understand that to unseat Bush would almost constitute a revolution (Kerry’s inadequecies as an alternative notwithstanding), and a revolution requires the careful direction of justified rage.

The Republicans, the government and the police of New York City, however, understand this perfectly. The barricades, police presence and multitudes of arrests are perversely encouraging. However few people show up to protest a Republican fundraising event, how ever hastily lettered their oak tag signs, however heartbreakingly ragtag their chants, however typo-laden their pamphlets, the Republicans, the government and the police are actually scared of us. Their extreme efforts to neutralize these protests are the very proof we need that protest is still worthwhile.

This is why I want to sieze the few moments of the attention I can get not to implore these people to fund health care (they won’t) or respect my right to choose (they never have and never will) or admit that their war is based on lies (they know it and they don’t care), but to sneer in the face of their supposed power.

I refuse to stand on a corner with a pamphlet full of carefully worded talking points. I refuse to letter a sign with some convoluted message about an issue. This convention is not really about issues. It’s about this adminstration and this party saying a big “FUCK YOU” to the city, the country and the entire world. It doesn’t get any more FUCK YOU than exploiting an atrocity in the city where it occured, standing up in the middle of a war of false premises and real deaths to claim you are on a mission from God or endangering our lives and claiming to protect them. The Republicans say FUCK YOU to us all every day. I’m rubber, you’re glue, my sign is me saying “everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

Others might say this is not a very peaceful, loving message. It’s not very MLK, Jr., it’s not very Mahatma. I save my peace and love for my brothers and sisters. To my enemies, I say, FUCK YOU. I don’t think of it as spreading bad vibes. Rather, I think of it as returning these bad vibes to their rightful owners.

The most interesting part of protesting is the encounters with the police. The places we’ve gone to have had a maybe ten-to-one ratio of cops to protesters. Their mantra is “keep it moving” or “get in the pen.”

Most of the cops are around our age. Some of them say they sympathize with the message. Some of them say, “Ladies, I respect your right to free speech.” But all of them agree, we have to “keep moving.” It’s for our safety, they claim. What if someone in the crowd throws a bottle? (There is no crowd.) What if someone “gets violent?” (Later on tonight, I saw some photographs of people getting violent. They were cops, not protesters. Besides the real violence is being plotted right inside Madison Square Garden.) I point out that the pens they shepard us into are often out of view of the hotels and restaurants the Republicans are going to. They can’t see us and they can’t hear us. “I don’t make the rules, lady, but they’re for your safety,” say the police. “Get in the pen!”

But you can’t pen up the FUCK YOU movement. You can’t disperse it. It’s too swift and too strong. The FUCK YOU movement doesn’t get in the pen. It walks down the street, blending in, waiting for the right moment to give each and every Republican his or her own personal dose of the movement’s message:


One Response to “The FUCK YOU Movement”
  1. Capitola says:

    Hi Emily–

    Found your blog via The Liquid List and cracked up reading The FUCK YOU Movement post. I had a hard time deciding which graphs to blog. Great stuff!

    Sorry you and your fine City are having to endure the Repugnant National Concoction. I feel and share your pain, even 3000 miles away.

    Keep up the good fight. Take care and stay safe.

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