Rochester, New York, USA
August 06
Genesee Community College
I moved from Boston to Rochester, NY in 2004. I teach composition at a local community college. More at: www.rmgosselin.wordpress.com www.oneoclocktable.com


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APRIL 10, 2010 12:02AM

Attention: Ugly People May Not Carry Signs

Rate: 3 Flag

I'm always delighted to stumble across explicit directives designed to help certain groups get their message across. It's like finding some secret orders left in a desk drawer: fun to read, not too far removed from what we English teachers do in the classroom, and a hell of a good way to sharpen your critical thinking skills.

The following trunkated text is from a document called Signs of Success, written by Morton C. Blackwell, and published by Blackwell's Leadership Institute, which "identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media." I couldn't help thinking of the signage and tactics of some recent conservative activists. Perhaps they need to read Blackwell's playbook more than anyone.

The ellipses show where I left stuff out. The entire document, along with some nice photographs of attractive youngsters holding signs with such slogans as, "WEAKNESS KILLS," can be read here.




Carried by the right people

Signs carried by photogenic people get more favorable attention and more news coverage. You don't have to be beautiful or handsome, although that can help.

If you're a student, dress like a student but nicely enough that your grandmother would be happy to see you photographed looking like that. Signs carried by weird looking people can't do their cause much good.


Carried responsibly

When you carry a sign, even a strongly worded sign, be of good cheer. Keep a pleasant expression on your face. In some cases it helps to wave to passersby.

Your cause isn’t helped by news photos of an effectively worded sign carried by someone with a scowl or yelling angrily. If you decide to yell, yell as nobly as you can.

If your sign’s wording is cute, carry it with a constant, genuine smile. If your sign is seriously critical, you should keep a serious expression on your face, but don’t look like you’ve lost your temper and are irresponsible.

Demonstrators on the left often want to terrorize people. They sometimes deliberately use violence, a frightening appearance, and viciously or obscenely worded signs. Their obscenity and profanity don’t win them new friends.

The news media frequently let the left get away with really bad behavior.


Even when your presence is greeted with belligerence, don't respond rudely. A calm response such as "Thank you for your interest" can put an obnoxious leftist in his place, not inflame the situation, and show that your side is the responsible one.


Carried prudently

Lefitsts often try to intimidate their opponents. Your good signs may cause them to target you.


Of course, any violence is uncivilized and despicable. Remember, you are the responsible good guys.



© Copyright 2005
The Leadership Institute Steven P.J. Wood Building 1101 N. Highland Street Arlington, Virginia 22201 800.827.5323 www.leadershipinstitute.org


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Is that why Up With People signed on as the official mascot of the Tea Party?
There's something about carrying a sign "responsibly" that undercuts the whole idea of civil disobedience. I'm just saying.
Exactly. It all feels a bit too cold & calculated. I also like: "If you decide to yell, yell as nobly as you can." What do you suppose that would look like?