Thursday, April 16, 2009
AG at the T.E.A. Party Rally in Worcester
(click for larger images)
After work on Wednesday, I left the cab lot, drove to the other end of Prescott Street, parked the car in WPI's Gateway Park area and walked on over to Lincoln Square to be a part of the Worcester, MA T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party Rally thing.
I'm not usually one for joining groups, following things blindly or taking marching orders from anyone. If anything, I'm independent to a fault. But I am definitely someone who believes in a smaller, less-intrusive government. I'd like to see tax money spent better than it is right now. I'd like our elected officials to REALLY work for US, their constituents. Hey, I have to live within a budget. There's no reason why our government can get away with NOT living within its means, just like I have to. And seeing what's happened in America since our recent President was elected, I would like to at least be a body in the crowd of people willing to gather together to take a stand, make a statement that they are not happy with the way things are going.
So... I walked to the rally armed with my sketchpad, pens and digital camera.
I stood in and around the gathering point in front of the now-defunct (and as we're told "condemned" as we weren't allowed to go on the steps of the massive structure) Worcester AUD(itorium) and I drew. I reported in picture / cartoon / illustration form what I saw, what I thought, what I felt. I wasn't a reporter in any strict sense of the word, but I was there not only to be present, but to record the event in my own unique way.
One guy came over to me and jokingly (?) said that he was pretty sure that I wasn't Homeland Security. A photographer of some sort, took lots of photos of me standing and drawing what I saw. HBML / Worcester creative person Jacob Berendes came over to me, said "hi" and commented on liking to see oldschool reporting going on at the gathering, meaning he liked seeing me drawing and writing in an actual sketchpad instead of texting on a Blackberry or video conferencing simulcasting bla-bla-bla-ing in some new fangled hi-tech way... For the most part, people let me be and I completed two full sketchpad pages of observations.
1) LOTS of signs. Some (most) made right there on the spot, hand-markered, staple-gunned onto wooden sticks. LOTS of great messages that weren't offensive, but direct and confrontational.
2) Cheesy patriotic music played from the speakers. Hokey stuff that may have meant something to the vox populi, but was just over the top sappy and heavy-handed in my book. Lots of neo-crap country music sounding stuff. And some dude sang that "Proud to Be An American" song and it was really nauseating these ears. I just don't go for all these songs that the hardcore followers / believers are nuts about and I'm not afraid to criticize them. The songs' messages may be what I'm thinking, but the songs just basically suck.
3) People walking around wearing goofy patriotic Colonial America hats, not to mention going the whole nine yards by dressing as Thomas Jefferson... please. Two kids in kilts and other Scottish gear, playing traditional Scottish music on drum & bagpipe. Please. Ugh. Good music, I guess, but seemed tacky. But then again, I'm just not into all the decoration, I'd rather they just get down to business with the speeches and such. Leave all the tackiness out.
4) Jordan Levy was doing a live broadcast at the rally. Reporters from the Worcester Telegram and from Charter TV Channel 3 were there. Maybe there was someone from Worcester Magazine, but who knows? Maybe I was there representing InCity Times, but I was really there just representing myself and doing some drawing for a possible upcoming InCity cartoon.
5) There was a wide range of people. All ages. Adults, kids, elderly, teen, etc.
6) No chaos. Very civil. No craziness. THIS should add legitimacy to this gathering and to the points that the people at this event are trying to convey.
I left before the event ended. It was nearly 5pm and I wanted to get home. I'd been working since quarter to six in the morning, was tired and was going out for a trivia night thing out in West Boylston. In other words, I have a life, but I didn't want the day to go by without being a part of what I think is an important event.
I've always used my cartoon art to express my opinions and to take stands on what I think are important issues. And this rally just reinforced in me that I have to continue to use my cartoon in print as my rallying pulpit.
(On a bitter note, it's too bad that Worcester Magazine's replacement for Action Geek is such a weak, meaningless little waste of time of a read. I've gotten comments from cab customers that they miss AG in WoMag and they all wonder why AG was replaced by whatever the new cartoon is called. Several have expressed that they just don't "get" what this new cartoon is even about or if it's supposed to be funny or even make sense. I reply that I really don't know, as I barely give WoMag a glance week after week. Maybe I'll look at it online, but that's usually a very quick visit, much like the paper is a very quick read.
If WoMag's intentions were to be "edgier" by adding this cartoon and shit-canning Action Geek, which actually stood for things, expressed strong opinions and wouldn't take any crap from people, then I'd have to say that WoMag has failed. If anything, WoMag is just as tame as ever, doesn't really challenge Worcester in the slightest and continues to just blend into the background. Oh well.
Action Geek cartoons can still be read in the pages of the InCity Times. Maybe eventually the publisher will learn how to post the cartoons herself on the ICT website, but until then, you can read them on MY website...)