Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pics from crashing the Netroots convention party

My friend Ralph Benko wrote a book on how to successfully use the new media for political activism, called The Webster's Dictionary, where he explains's methods. The Moveon gang was appreciative of his book, and he has remained on good terms with them. Ralph likes to point out that even though they're progressives, they're populists, and populists on the left and the right have values in common, even though they disagree on the means. He calls us "mortal frenemies."

While in Pittsburgh for the
Right Online conference this weekend, Ralph was invited by Moveon's Ilyse to their party at the Daily Kos Netroots convention. It was held outside in a yard next to the Andy Warhol museum to commemorate a new painting by Shepard Fairey, famous for his "Hope" picture of Obama done in faded red and black coloring and widely parodied by the right. Contrary to what I was expecting, I could detect no odor of marijuana and the party was relatively tame. There were very few older folks, most of the attendees were in their 20's and leaned more "geeky" than "hippy." But the contrast with the RightOnline convention was still there; you could get away with wearing a suit to a party at the RightOnline convention, but probably not to a Netroots party.

Two of's top players - Ilyse Hogue, Campaign Director (right) with Laura Dawn, Cultural Director

Ralph and Ilyse. Ralph actually looked more liberal than most of the attendees.

One of our peeps from Right Online, Elizabeth Terrell, who was handing out flyers outside for a screening of a movie exposing the global warming hype, "Not Evil Just Wrong"

These party attendees politely listen to her spiel

We asked this guy to give a shocked look when he read the flyer she was handing out

Note the upside down elephant on this guy's t-shirt

Doesn't he look suspiciously like Erik Telford, his counterpart on the right, who has been called the 2nd worst person in the world?

His reaction when he found out I was from the Right Online convention

With Shepard Farley. He was a really decent guy, and you have to admit he is talented.

I admit I like his artwork so much I used it on a photo of mine, even before I met him.

Ralph & Shepard

This guy on the left was great, he kept popping into my pictures. Turns out we actually had ONE thing in common, we're both deputy prosecutors. That was about it. He prosecutes gun crimes, which somehow did not surprise me.

Ilyse was the speaker and referenced the fact that this was the better convention in town, not Right Online. Shepard DJ'd for a good part of the night.

The best part of the evening came when Ralph approached a guy wearing a hat with donkeys on it who was promoting living on communes. Ralph asked him if the effort involved getting people organized, and the guy said yes. Ralph said that is where we differ, because we're from the Surrealist Party and we promote disorganization. Look where organization has gotten us. Too much power corrupts. The guy took it all in stride and we walked off.

The second best exchange of the night was when a guy walked up to us and said "You're evil." Ralph responded, "Yes I'm evil but your parties are better than those on the right." Think we won him over with flattery.

As nice as everyone was, I decided not to tell them I was the Right Online recipient of the Activist of the Year Award. I also decided it probably wasn't a good idea to dress up as Sarah Palin for the party, as much fun as it was dressing up as her for Halloween.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

you are very witty writer and always make chuckle. E-Wash