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November 01 2010

Funniest Signs at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Over the weekend, at the big rally on the mall in Washington DC - a Whedon reference! Now if only we could get it on the ballot...

I understand there was a Dr. Horrible there who carried the sign "I have a Phd in Horribleness".
Here's Dr. Horrible. I didn't see any of these there! But there was no shortage of great geeky signs.
Did JMo go to the rally?
Ok, I don't get the sign. Who is Juan Williams, and why should she scare him at airports?

On the other hand...scroll down a bit and read the comments. Someone said it was a "pleasant, congenital" group. Apparently, these people were born nice.

And...I'm totally out of the loop - what was the point of this rally?
I will absolutely vote for any politician who promises to do this. (That's the bring back Firefly of course.)

Multiple times.

[ edited by barboo on 2010-12-16 18:41 ]
originally, I hear, Glen(n?) Beck had a huge rally - so people started trying to get Jon Stewart to have a rally, but he didn't have a point to promulgate, and then I guess he thought of EVERYONE STOP SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER! which, to me, seems something worthy of rallying for. (I wasn't there, but...)
ShadowQuest you seem to be seeing a different sign than the rest of us. The one you should be seeing says "President Obama, I implore you to bring back Firefly."

Juan Williams is the NPR reporter who was recently fired after making remarks on Fox news about fearing people in Muslim garb at airports.

[ edited by barboo on 2010-11-01 16:52 ]
The point of the rally was to make fun of how U.S. media cover politics in a polarizing and fear-inducing fashion. Dr. Horrible was very fitting in that context, so I'm bummed I didn't run into him.
My coworker was there and said there was also a "Bring back Firefly" sign. Which, after a little googling, seems to be this one.
So many hilarious sighns.
Does anyone have a copy of the "Glenn Beck cancelled Firefly" sign? I've heard rumors of its existence...
Its a sad commentary about the left when it's best proponents are a couple of clowns...and then there's Colbert and Stewart.
Here's a video explaining what it was all about.

PS: It's well worth watching in full.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-11-01 18:40 ]
@Peanut: it's also a sad commentary about the *right* when you hear "sanity" and automatically assume "left" ;)
Did they get a decent turn-out in the end ? Been watching the build-up for weeks on TDS and secretly dreading about 300 people turning up.

As an outsider looking in BTW, I reckon this is maybe the worthiest single cause in America today.

(and Dr H fits both restoring sanity and(/or ;) fear so he really is a great choice)
It's a sad commentary that all the conversation I see about it in the days after are the usual easy jabs at each other's expense. This wasn't a rally for the left. The crowd was very moderate and enthusiastically joining in a huge act of satire making fun of the usual partisan rallies on both sides. I think the point has to a large extent been missed in the coverage of the event. Which sadly makes sense, since cable news media in particular got skewered pretty deftly. The video gossi linked to is a serious summary of the purpose.

It was one of the geekier crowds I've ever seen, judging by the references on people's signs. Turnout was something above 200,000. Public transit was unfortunately overwhelmed.
Saje, their planning application was for 60k, and MTV estimate about a quarter of million people turned up (including some Whedonverse people). Unsurprisingly, a lot of people towards the back couldn't hear a thing.

Ultimately, this was a rally against screaming short insults at each other. We're human beings. We help each other. Get over it and get on with it.
There are (naturally) disagreements about how many people showed up, but here's a street shot from the Washington Post reader photos - it looks pre-tty ginormous.

Here's a transcript (and vid) of Jon Stewart's closing speech.

"The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems and illuminate problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous-flaming-ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." - Jon Stewart, Rally to Restore Sanity, October 30th 2010
It WAS ginormous. My son and I went. The Huffington Post supplied free buses from NYC and last I heard about 14,000 people took advantage of it. We spent all day standing in packed spaces or riding on buses without getting to hear or see anything on stage...and it was still worth it. As a fellow my son made friends with on the buss said, "You have to come to represent."

The crowd was in good spirits, responsible, patient and friendly. The signs were fun, though I did not see any of the Whedonverse ones. We did hear somebody talking about Dr. Horrible on the HuffPost bus line at 5:30 in the morning though, so I figured we were among friends. ;-)

I can't get the link from earlier in the thread, so I'll just say for those others that are not able to see it that the rally was about lessening the amount of fear mongering and vilifying of opponents (my words) on both sides of all the issues. Examples were given from both the right and the left. It was about inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Jon Stewart had used phases like "take it down a notch for America" and "the million moderate march". It was about respecting people with different views and talking about it rather than shouting about it.

My son and I found it very worth our while, even though we missed the Whedon-centric signs, galldarnit. ;-)
Yeah, I went too, and it was PACKED. The Metro was incredibly crowded, I didn't think that many people could even fit in one space! One woman actually passed out, which was awful. Because it was so crowded we actually ended up getting there when there was only 1/2 hour left of the rally, but we couldn't hear very much anyway. What was fun was the signs and the costumes. I missed all the Whedonverse references, unfortunately, but all the major Internet memes were well-represented. It was like a giant gathering of the Internet all in one place, and a lot of fun to just people-watch. It was definitely worth going.
If the Metros were that crowded, it was definitely more than the 60,000 that USA Today originally reported. I went to a demo in D.C. many years ago where the estimates were between 250,000 and 400,000 were there - and that packed the Metro and many of the streets so you couldn't get anywhere for hours - and you were lucky if you heard any of the speeches. It sounds (and looks, judging by the photos) like it was a lot bigger than the hot or iced beverage festivities rally that sparked all this (and got a lot more media coverage).
Saje, their planning application was for 60k, and MTV estimate about a quarter of million people turned up (including some Whedonverse people).

Excellent. That's pretty healthy for a rally the aim of which was, in a sense, not attracting a lot of the people who usually go to rallies.

"What do we want ?
People to be a bit less strident !
When do we... Sorry, didn't mean to come on so strong"


(huge fan of Jon Stewart. Sometimes his audience I find slightly annoying - like when Obama was on I kind of wanted them to STFU and let the two of them really get into it - but Stewart himself usually does a bang-up job)
The number of people who showed up for the Rally is still being debated, but WMATA/Metro reported that they had about 825,000 rides on Saturday, breaking a 19-year record for Saturday ridership. The average Saturday ridership is about 350,000. (That's why the trains were so full; Metro didn't adjust schedules or train lengths to accommodate.)

Los Angeles Times estimated about 215,000 people showed up. But as far as I could tell, no Buffy and no Captain Hammer. Somehow, I can't imagine this being Captain Hammer's sort of crowd.
Brilliant, adding that to my favourits
Most estimates are saying 215,000-250,000. I actually went to a satellite rally here in Denver which was pretty fun. My favorite signs were "Don't Panic" and "What would the Founding Fathers Say? "Whoa, Airplanes!""

[ edited by E-Rawk on 2010-11-02 05:50 ]
I would love to know if any of the crowd were waving "Down With This Sort Of Thing" placards from Father Ted.
Or "Careful Now" ;).

That'd be a moderately geeky reference over here, in the US it'd really separate the geek from the chaff (for those that're wondering BTW, linkage).
I envy you lucky guys who were there. I'm far more politically cynical than Jon Stewart, but I love him none the less.

I saw the Dr. Horrible sign and was going to post a link to it here, but I lost the link, should have known someone else would pick it up and post it. Glad there were more Whedonverse signs in the mix, as well.

Probably my favorite sign was "I See Smart People". :_)

Now comes the serious part, voting.
I saw a "A Baby Ate My Dingo" sign!
Hard to tell but i'd bet that's more likely a reference to the real life inspiration for the name "Dingoes Ate My Baby" (but flipped for hilarity, in the spirit of "man bites dog") rather than the band itself. Or I suppose it could be a (flipped) reference to the band by someone that isn't aware of what the band name was referring to. References are funny that way, twisty turny.
It really would be a good idea if all the sane Americans could get out and vote today. I've been watching some of the campaign ads today and the level of insanity is both hilarious and terrifying.
Yeah, next time we get het up about negative campaigning over here they should just screen a couple of the US adverts (not saying I liked it last election or that I don't wish it'd stop, just saying it'd lend some perspective to the debate). Mind boggling.
Sure, you say that now, Saje, but when the demon sheep come for your tax dollars... wait, what?
OK, that one is more a public service announcement cos demon sheep are an ever present threat and only Communist Al Quaeda Viagra peddling paedophile supporters would disagree. You guys should set up some kind of detention centre to save the American public - particularly American public children - from them (if we're batting around names, I vote Lambtanamo).
Lambtanamo! Seconded!

Aw, I miss this place. My computer and I are having a difficult time in our relationship, but I think we've decided not to break up. Only whedonesque can really patch things up between us. And Jon Stewart. And Demon sheep.
never thought I'd see a Father Ted reference here! awesome! Wish I could have gone to the rally, but finances and distance impeded.
I have found the different perceptions on the rally interesting. People who were there all seem to have enjoyed the energy in the crowd and agree to having a great time. (Me too.) But everybody seems to have seen different proportions of signs. I saw mostly silly or take a breath type signs by individuals, with a couple of small campaigns by organized groups like "Be reasonable, be vegan" or "The elephant in the room, What really happened 9/11" on the outskirts. My son said that on the outskirts he saw a lot of different kinds of right wing signs. (We were standing next to each other the entire day, go figure.) Blogs say they saw a lot of nasty left wing signs on the outskirts. It seems like it is all about where you were, which signs you read, and perhaps how you interpreted them.

As far as the numbers, there were lots of people leaving as we got there, and I keep hearing that even people not on the Huffpost buses who came from the NYC area did not get there until 1:30 or later because of traffic. I'm thinking that there may have been even more than the estimates over the course of the rally, with people coming and going throughout trying to manage the transportation. I've been in some huge crowds in NYC, and this one was big.
Folk have a habit of seeing what they want to see IMO (literally, often it's not even a conscious choice). Apropos was 'The Daily Show' episode immediately after the rally where Obama continues his (IMO slightly laboured by now but that's by the by) car in a ditch metaphor and mentions how the Republicans are welcome in the car but they have to "sit in back". To me (and most people watching i'd bet) he's clearly saying they can come along but not in the driving seat (i.e. not in power, not holding the reins) and yet Fox "News" immediately saw it as a reference to sitting in the back of the bus, a la Rosa Parks.

Not saying it's true in that specific instance BTW (because I believe many of the commentators on Fox News know exactly what they're doing when they "misunderstand" something like that) but at least some of the time when that happens it's a genuinely held belief, it really is just that what you see (nevermind how you see it) is framed by what you expect and want to see.

never thought I'd see a Father Ted reference here!

Not for the first time either hopitopia. Among us lurk some Teddites. What can I say, we contain multitudes ... cos, y'know, there's more than one of us ;).
It really would be a good idea if all the sane Americans could get out and vote today."

Well, I voted. I'm not sure how much sanity I added to to the exercise though. Why, oh why am I doing NaNoWriMo again? *bangs forehead in an attempt to cram in basic fluid dynamics, 19th C speech patterns, and samurai tactics*

But at least the library levy passed. Yea!

ETF: spelling

[ edited by BreathesStory on 2010-11-03 14:06 ]
Yep, good news, we can't have libraries succumbing to flooding and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.

... what ?
Jon Stewart could have done something very different for this rally, and the fact that he focused so seriously on "taking it down a notch" just raises my high estimation for him even higher. He is America's wise fool.

Thanks for posting those ads Notaviking. I hadn't seen any (seems like all I do these days is work), and the demon sheep-guy was mind-bogglingly hilarious. I guess it was supposed to be funny, but wow... hard to believe that was a real ad. I also love the Alabama agricultural commissioner ad.
As a Californian I can vouch for the authenticity of the demon sheep ad.
Arianna wouldn't send me a bus, so I enjoyed the rally via the interwebs.
Aside from Jon Stewart, my favorite segment was Mythbusters' large-sample experimentation with The Wave and Local Earthquake.
One of my favorite crowd vignettes was a group of self-identified Muslims twirling a jump-rope: "Have Fun With Muslims."
A high-angle camera view showed a vast crowd.
"A significant crowd won't show up for a rally about moderation... BUSTED !" ;)
I was reading a friend's Jewish Newsletter (I know, weird) last night and there was a story about jewish groups at the Rally. It ended with the comment by one representative who had been at the rally saying that she wished she had seen the muslim jump-ropers so they could have joined in with them. I wished they had too.

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