Sunday, April 17, 2011
The above video is a time lapse of the protests against Gov. Walker that took place in Madison. It was made by Dusan Harminc, a Madison area Art Director who does motion graphics and interaction design (that's the artsy-fartsy term for interface design). Poking around his portfolio a bit shows that he has a strong graphics sense does very nice work in that area. The video above is a good example of that.
However, one thing struck me as I watched the above video, and is a weakness so glaring that it ultimately renders the video incoherent, is how it divorces the images from the context of the protest.
He fails completely to capture what the protest is about. In fact, by repeatedly injecting images of the young woman holding the "Tax the Rich" sign he actually hijacks the protest's message -- it is not longer an examination or promotion of a labor protest, instead it becomes a rather trite and shallow trifle that is of little interest or persuasion.
Now, I don't want to come across like I'm beating up on Dusan Harminc, I'm not. As I said, I think he has a strong graphic sense and I assume he was creating that video with an artist's eye and not a journalist's pen.
Rather, in terms of the protest's messaging, the problem lies with with the likes of Richard Trumka. I've pointed out before, that to inflate the number of protesters, the Unions had to bring in students and activists of all stripes. The problem with that is that Progressives are obsessed with their notion of narrative. If they can frame the story then they can control the debate. However, each activist group they bring into the mix inevitably adds their own tropes to the narrative.
In the case of the Madison protests this means the Union signal gradually gets subsumed by the static of all the other competing messages that all the other groups add to the protest.
The result is you end up with a beautifully done video that is completely off message. Instead of a message supporting the Union's cause you get a vapid sign with the shallow message to tax the rich. Ultimately, that is just a step away from the silliness of Rob Lewis, the socialist Noodles Restaurant employee who was outraged that the boss man made him cook dishes that appeared the menu.
I expect this sort of Progressive cacophony to continue. I also think it will continue to harm them.
This should be a warning to the Tea Party people. When they've focused on their core message of fiscal conservatism they've done well. However, veering too far into social conservative causes, or the isolationism of some libertarians, will dilute the effectiveness of the Tea Party message. Repeat it again and again: cut spending, limited government, cut spending, limited government, cut spending, limited government...