There’s an old song, “Just Another Manic Monday.” The latest demonstration here in Raleigh was Just Another Moral Monday.
The demonstrations have already become old and tired. A bunch of people, most of them Boomers, march in to the Legislative Building. They are asked to disperse, some refuse, and are arrested.
One symptom of a tired event is the tired writing that accompanies it. To wit:
RALEIGH — Despite tornado warnings across the state, several thousand demonstrators gathered Monday under rainy skies to continue the weekly protests of the new policies and laws coming out of the General Assembly.
I’ve puttered around with newspaper work, and I’ve seen this kind of writing countless times. One of the lamest crutches a writer uses to try to inject some life into a story is, “Despite tornado warnings across the state … ” and “under rainy skies.”
The subliminal idea is that the demonstrators are so full of righteous indignation that they will risk their lives as a twister roars at them, or Superstorm Sandy inundates them. It’s a tired cliche in writing, and didn’t even apply.
Tornado warnings in the rest of the state are irrelevant to what happened in Raleigh yesterday. I was there. There was no threat of a tornado or thunderstorm. It was overcast. At one point it sprinkled a little. Anyone who can’t deal with some showers on a June day in North Carolina should move to Nevada or Arizona.
Plenty of people will go to a baseball game when it might rain. Are they passionate for justice? No, they just want to see the game.
The same often holds true for protest rallies. A demonstration is the kind of event that thrills liberals. Some folks found Moral Monday exciting or at least diverting.
Then, I doubt there were “several thousand demonstrators.” First, crowd sizes are notoriously hard to gauge. Most news organizations have stopped bothering trying to guess them. I would put the crowd size at 700 or 800 tops, but your guess is as good as mine.
And was everyone on the mall a “demonstrator”? How do we know? I was there; so were plenty of other media people and other curious folks with cameras. It’s hard to separate “demonstrator” from “curious on-looker” from “union hack.”
If the writing in that news account is stale and lifeless, so was the demonstration. The speakers dragged out the usual cliches, the crowd chanted the usual chants. “The people, united, can never be defeated,” yada, yada, yada.
Left behind were the real issues. But that wouldn’t have been very entertaining.