Have you ever visited a culture entirety different than your own (or even moderately different, like you’re from New York and you visit Kentucky, or you’re from Belgium and you visit Italy)? You will see things …. things people do differently, right away. Then you leave and you figure these things are what ‘they’ … the people in that culture do. And you are probably right most of the time.

But one or two of your observations might have been spurious. You observe an outlier … an odd behavior, an odd person, whatever. In fact, I think that this happens far more often than people think. And to some extent it might be happening in bizarro form right now in Saint Paul. With you. (If you have been paying any attention to the RNC, that is.)

OK, I’m going to show you a bit of video from the vicinity of the RNC in Saint Paul. What you see is a phalanx of Riot Police and a phalanx of Anarchists. The riot police approach the anarchists. One of the anarchists, a girl in a sun dress and backpack, approaches the riot police and says something, then returns to her group. Then a guy in a bike accidentally gets in the middle of it all and apologizes. The Riot Police are not entirely sure of what to do.

What I want to tell you is this: The Anarchists … they are all from Minneapolis. Indeed, this group of kids looks like my class last time I taught my Gender and Race class. They’re smart kids … they all got “A’s” for Anarchy!

But they are kids from Minneapolis who got together in a big group in Saint Paul. Gasp! That’s why the riot police are there. This is normal! This is not because the RNC is in Saint Paul… whenever a bunch of kids from Uptown/Whittier (the cool neighborhoods in Minneapolis) get together in a group this large (any group more than 25 or so) in Saint Paul, the Riot Police form a line in front of them.

And some guy in a bike comes along and apologizes.


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    September 2, 2008

    I had to watch it twice. I thought I knew the young woman in the sundress. Her mannerisms aren’t quite right though.

    I love that the guy on the bike apologizes to the protesters. “Sorry, didn’t mean to keep you from getting arrested. Carry on.”

  2. #2 Ana
    September 2, 2008

    Yeah…was this from this morning? I heard that a group of rowdy anarchists were arrested there today (about a block away from my place), without a struggle, and this “could you all just…” seems to fit the bill. Except for the rowdy part. And the anarchy part. Really. I didn’t see the bags of feces here either.
    You can catch a glimpse of the moving billboard (the use of which was challenged back and forth in court running up to the convention) in the background of this video too – one of my more favorite protest efforts. There are chairs set out for passersby too, if you’re in the area, I recommend them.

  3. #3 John Monfries
    September 2, 2008

    sorry to be a pedant but you mean “phalanx”, I think.

    I refrain from the obvious jokes.

  4. #4 tresmal
    September 2, 2008

    That’s phalanx not pharynx.

  5. #5 greg laden
    September 2, 2008

    Ana: You seem to know a lot about what was going on there. Like maybe you were there…. and not just watching from the window.

  6. #6 Analiese
    September 2, 2008

    Analiese is not talking about national security matters while investigations are still underway and charges have yet to be filed and sundresses washed and worn (but will be posting pictures on her facebook page in the coming week). BTW – LOTS of sirens and choppers right now! Gotta go!

  7. #7 Todd
    September 2, 2008

    The anarchists need calvary wing to attack the left flank of the riot police. They’d crumble like dominoes.

  8. #8 df
    September 2, 2008

    @Todd: You mean a cavalry wing. The RNC has the Calvary wing.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    September 3, 2008

    nobody can spel on this thred