Mike the Mad Biologist

You might have heard that last weekend, Netroots Nation, a progressive organization, had its annual convention. Oddly, Right Online, a conservative organization, also its annual meeting–in the same hotel. So two Netroots Nation attendees decided to go undercover. Needless to say, comedy ensues. Here’s a taste:

I give Elon a once over. He could not be dressed more inappropriately for a giant Republican-o-rama. I think some sort of effort was made with a buttoned up black cardigan over a clean white t-shirt but still, having done some reconnaissance work walking around the public areas of the Right Online conference on my way to the convention center, I’d had a good look at the crowd. Not only was it extremely super-white but also much more conservatively dressed than Netroots Nation.

Elon’s jeans were less of a challenge than his bright red Illinois State baseball cap, sneakers, giant swinging silver wallet chain, and “stop bullying” purple plastic bracelet. It was extra-fly for NN11. The look screamed “hip hop boho NYC new media hippie”. On the escalator up, I suggested strenuously that Elon remove the bracelet and hide the chain. He resisted; I insisted: “You haven’t been over there.” I adjusted our cover story: I would be a local black conservative from Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s district in St Cloud Minnesota (about 65 miles away) — her extra-special invited guest — and Elon would be my recently graduated, troubled at-risk youth nephew who I was saving/exposing to the wonders of the GOP. I was relying on the tendency for some white folks to have trouble guessing black folks’ true ages.


Nervous, I joked about how Elon, who was attracting curious attention from the ladies and a positive appraising look from the young man behind the desk, was into “that hip hop”. The young man printing our badges chuckled and said: “That’s ok! I listen to some of that too…” (!) I wanted to say — then why are you a conservative but more about the strange cultural cognitive dissonance later. Then he handed us some packets.

As the kids say, read the whole thing.