01 November 2020

0 i should be writing about the protest fence

because there's an abstract due for a blog on popular memory and protest, and i'mma propose an article on the lafayette square fence. but the thing is that writing about the protest fence means:

(1) writing-- which my teaching brain seldom allows and about which my pandemic brain has proven especially unforgiving. 

(2) remembering-- all of the the things. 

    (A) the heat hanging in the room, the leftover birthday cake in the freezer, the new cat asleep on the chair, the whirring of the helicopters as they sat lowlowlow in the air three blocks over. 

    (B) the live footage on cnn. 

       (i) the attorney general surveying the field.

       (ii) the protesters moving back. 

       (iii) the military advancing.

       (iv) the screams.

       (v) the gas. 

       (vi) the message to garebear and debo.*

*the historical record has been altered by my accidental own liking of this my message when i went back to take this screenshot [insert eyeroll here].

                (a) i was referring to the state-sanctioned gassing of protesters. 

                (b) garebear was talking about preparing cat food. 

        (vii) the helicopters.

                (a) so like the helicopters in london after london bridge. 

                (b) so like the helicopters in london after grenfell.

(3) for weeks now, i've been bracing for

        (i) tuesday's helicopters.          

        (ii) wednesday's helicopters.

        (iii) thursday's helicopters.

        (iv) friday's helicopters.

        (v) saturday's helicopters.

        (vi) sunday's helicopters. 

        (vii) etc.

        (viii) etc., etc.

(4) the protest fence was vandalized last monday night. apparently by people celebrating the seating of amy coney barrett on the supreme court. the other day, the washington post published a piece on the woman who has been curating the fence all this year. 

    (i) i'm pretty sure this is the woman who was down there when i went this morning to take pictures of the reconstructed protest. 

    (2) i wonder if she's sleeping there now. 

    (3) i circled back, after taking my pictures, and walked by again and i want to say something, to ask if it was her, but i turned right at the first crosswalk instead of the second and walked home. 

        (a) because i didn't know what to say. 

        (b) because i didn't know how to thank her for what she'd done. 

        (c) because i knew she'd not done it for me. 

(5) look at how thoroughly i've fucked up this outline. 

(6) in november 2005, just before thanksgiving, i think, donovan and i went to new york to see u2. somehow, we wound up down by the WTC site. i was trying to explain this to my father today. i was describing how there were photographs and signs affixed to the fencing. and he said, well, yeah, because people were trying to find their people, and i said, no, no, this was years later, 2005, this their memorial. and he just looked at me kind of funny, maybe because it didn't square with the general sense of aftermath. 

    (A) af·ter·math /ˈaftərˌmaTH/ noun: the consequences or aftereffects of a significant unpleasant event.

    (b) expected duration: approximately 1 month after the unpleasantness. 

(7) i think the fence interests me because it is a national expression at a local level. 

    (a) but also because it has lasted far longer than most people probably realize. 

        (i) ya'll prolly think the fence is gone-- much less the photographs of people murdered by police.  

        (B) let us all renew our faith in the power of page protectors to withstand the elements. 

(8) this has no ending, so i will simply say that, in today's sermon, janelle monáe was twice referred to as a "modern day prophet."


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