Monday, November 5, 2007

Picket Etiquette

Having never walked in a picket line before I wasn't sure what to expect. Do you shuffle back and forth just holding your sign? The answer is -- yes! The techniques for walking in a picket line are actually as self explanatory as you might imagine. One foot in front of the other, until you reach the point where you turn 'round, and there you have it. As we were picketing in front of a "Gate" also known in the rest of the world as a "driveway" cars would periodically pass through. There was a congenial security guard present, who patiently signaled for us to stop when there was a car. I found a strange satisfaction in making eye direct contact at the driver who was crossing the picket line -- and watched as they casually adjusted their radio or played with their cell phone. Anything to avoid looking at me and the other picketers. Other folks in the picket line employed this method too, and I was amused to find that the fancier the car that was being driven, the greater degree of the stink eye it would receive. So if you were in a Saab you got a mildly cold look, but if you were stylin' in a Benz, you'd get a reproachful glare.



***
The two most important duties you have as a picketer are to move your sign and chant. I found the "pumping" method to yield the most satisfactory result -- by which I raised my arm up and down in quick bursts, making my sign bounce jauntily. It was also decidedly better than waving it, which could get cumbersome particularly when a gale of any force cames blowing through. As for chanting -- well, that didn't really happen, at least not in a group sense. Though amiable enough, many of the picketers were more reserved and withdrawn (there's a shocker, it's a God damned writer's strike) and any discussion of chanting only provoked silence and/or nervous laughter. The staff members of the Writer's Guild distributed handouts with chants on them, in the hopes that it would spark some -- well -- chanting. Most of them were pretty standard -- just typical union/labor stuff.

This one was my favorite though...

Network bosses, rich and rude
We don't like your attitude

Call me a cynic, but there was just something a little bit silly about this one -- maybe because it was just a statement of facts rather than a cry for action. It's like "Yes, and...?"

Also, I was a fan of:

Hey, hey, ho, ho
Union busting has to go!
Hey, hey, ho ho
Where did all the money go?

Particularly it's the last phrase on that one that gets me. Maybe because it gets my mind going on how to finish out those thoughts...

Hey, hey, ho ho
To a bunch of coke on their expense accounts, yo!


***

Though there was no group chanting -- there was one picketer who became quite outspoken. In an effort to dissuade people from crossing the picket line, she would yell out pointedly to drivers and pedestrians that they should not cross the line, because according to her: "God loves writers." and "Daddy was a union man." There was something awesome about this old school labor attitude, though after awhile it did become a little grating.

Tomorrow I'm going to work on my sign pumping technique some more....

8 comments:

Dr. Frame said...

Please, please take a picture of the piece of paper with the chants on it (or type them all up). I'd love to see them.

Also, you really need an organizer with a bullhorn if you hope to get any real chanting going. Maybe you should bring your own bullhorn?

Kalinda said...

Yeah -- we're not allowed to bring a megaphone because of neighborhood noise conduct codes, but we can bring an "old school" basic cone to amplify our voices. We do have some organizers but I think they are spread thin over other studio locations...

RumorsDaily said...

Ha, aren't there only like six or seven strike locations? Hopefully you'll have an organizer at your next protest.

Seriously, though, let's see that chantsheet!

Kalinda said...

No, there are way more than that! There's like 15 or 16!

Kalinda said...

Chant sheet forthcoming...

RumorsDaily said...

Would you agree than an alternate (and perhaps better) title for this posting could have been "Picketiquette"?

Kalinda said...

Yes -- but my mushy brain is not witty at the moment. If I change it now will you be annoyed as I am stealing your thunder?

RumorsDaily said...

Yeah, I was just kidding. Besides, you're on strike, you have no obligation to be clever at the moment. If anything, we should be giving you a hard time if you're too witty.