“There’s battle lines being drawn, Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong, Young people speaking their minds, Getting so much résistance from behind” – For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield/Steven Stills, 1967
There it was, a sign, as seen on the EPIX film Laurel Canyon shown on the Apple TV’s Pay Channel. The large sign in black and white lettering stuck to a wall spelled out Police Brutality. It was on Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The time frame was 1967.
Nearly 3,000 youths flooded to a bar’s closing “funeral” which necessitated the call for the LAPD to appear in riot gear. Upon seeing this, Steven Stills, returned to his home in Topanga (Laurel Canyon) and penned the lyrics in 15 minutes for this Buffalo Springfield classic.
For generations it was wrongly attributed as a Vietnam War protest anthem when indeed it was about kids celebrating the closing of a favorite neighborhood restaurant bar and their date with the LAPD – thus their Police Brutality sign.
We could use Stills now to pen some more lyrics – bars, restaurants they all could use the help.
So how do we put all this together, building a bridge connecting the last four months to the next four. Well, the “Project” tried to layout the sequence as follows: .
Phase 1 – the cause and affect impacting the restaurant service industry resulting from a collision between cancelled sports, racism, police brutality and a pandemic.
Phase 2 – Sir Isaac’s Newton’s laws redrafted by a 21st century hypothesis, a Law of Organic Viral Resonance – a tongue and cheek interpretation “a la Issac Newton” of a revolving digital universe to understand the gravity of messaging actions resonance in unexpected ways, the reactions.
Phase 3 – a forward outlook for the 2020 sports world’s between June and November as all try to avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phase 4 – The Denouement attempts to bridge the first 3 blogs all together. Trying to make sense of the madness during a pandemic while we sit with masks on at an outdoor bar having apps and drinks. Dare you to drive up for a curbside pickup/order! Does truth reflect the white light of day through Newton’s prism? Please pass the Uncle Ben’s rice.
Images, whether planned or not where graphically showered upon a viewing public beginning in March 2020.
No historic precedent could come as close to displaying the madness Isaac Newton spoke of as did the March to June 2020 period. Perhaps looking back now at the late 1960’s we can find some visual or sound haptic points of comparison. No wonder those rock period classic songs still resonant today, it called out for change.
Starting with worldwide hero public health and medical care workers clamoring for personnel protection equipment to dead bodies stacked in “reefer” vans outside of hospitals and grave sites viewed from satellites it was a frightening visual start to Spring 2020.
Those early pandemic images from all over the world seemed to pale in comparison to empty grocery shelves devoid of paper and sanitary products. Supply Chain Madness.
Helicopter video coverage of cars that stretched miles awaiting food distribution centers for food packets in the US were disturbing and reminiscent of food lines of the Great Depression.
Businesses with closed signs and hockey puck charts depicting states progress to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. Or how about those Wall Street charts showing the “off the cliff dramatic drop” in the stock market.
With those scary moments came the opposing (action and reaction) of positive images of surviving and finding a new world of Zoom conferencing, sitting at home with the kids, serenades across Italy for the health care workers, Nurses as Heroes, people staying home to bang on pans from apartment balcony complexes high above the streets in NYC to honor first responders, the sharing and volunteering to help neighbors and those in need.
Masked restaurant owners and chefs like Chef Jose Andres were cooking and delivering food for hospital workers anywhere and everywhere.
Pick out an image from above, a written newspaper article or tv field broadcast and they would all follow a Law of Organic Viral Resonance. It stuck hard.
There it was a chaotic action, and in most cases, an unexpected turn of events, reaction. Despite the human toll of events people looked to resonant with a positive response. #AllinitTogether.
Professional sports, owners, players, fans were hoping for the best in March and April for a quick turnaround to their seasons. However, public health issues were still up at the plate and pointing to the pitcher to “Play ball” is something that would have to wait.
To date, government public officials, lead by a Vice Presidential Task Force have been nearly publicly silenced for 50 days in contrast to the earlier pandemic days.
Then in May 2020 there was the knee.
A black man restrained by a white police officer, knee to the man’s neck. He died.
It was videographed on a cellphone, then distributed. Peaceful protests, chaos, looting and civil disobedience resulted. Many called out for Justice as a revamped Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement had a new martyr and diversity in the streets.
The BLM movement in May also added two additional martyrs, one a result of a no knock police action break in, and the other a black man hunted down and killed while jogging. All were videoed.
117,000 COVID-19 pandemic deaths aside, people were angry and walking in protest closely in our American streets. Was it selfish, or selfless acts of those participants? Or was it an outlet for pandemic related stress? Only time will tell if these actions across the nation contributes to a second wave.
“Paranoia strike deep, Into your life it will creep, It starts when you’re always afraid, Step out of line, the man come and take you away” Steven Stills – 1967, For What it’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield.
June 1 brought the BLM protest close to the White House, as situated in Lafayette Park and the surrounding Square. Leadership reactions to the bunker mentality claims occurring within the White House and unrest in the District over the prior weekend laid the groundwork for what happened next on the evening of June 1.
It included a plan for a permanent razor barbed wire fence around the White House. Image-in that.
The Park and Square is juxtaposition to the White House parcel of land and all within the boundary of the Federal District of Washington DC. This district is by design federal property, though many restaurants, businesses and hotels reside within those confines.
“There’s something happening here, But what it is ain’t exactly clear, There’s a man with a gun over there, A-telling me, I got to beware” – Steven Stills, For What It’s Worth.
And “it” was not exactly clear.
For those attuned to the events unfolding on that evening the world would see on video tape the Attorney General of the US within Lafayette Square talking and possibly directing Justice Department subordinates who commanded positioned armed federal policing officers, (including US Border Guards, US Park Police, Bureau of Prison guards, DC National Guard and associated local law enforcement from Arlington VA) into a “plow the road” action to clear the square. Forget about erecting a fence that evening – somebody had something else in mind.
Around 6:40P photographers caught the peaceful protestors being forced out of the Square by federal police officers using force, tear gas and pepper spray. Eventually, no one is expected to take the blame for that order to advance.
The park now vacated of protestors but not of press pool photographers was there for a 7:05P stroll by the US President flanked along the way by centurion federal officers. He was accompanied by an entourage of family members; public service executives and the White House press corps. They headed for the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Someday, and not in this present time, historians will weigh what were the most important historical resonant images of that photo opportunity before a charred St. John’s adjacent to Lafayette Square. And subsequently what was the lasting effects of those images.
Hopefully, the press and historians will still be free and not have a crafted story rewritten for them of these events.
Will the image be one of the President holding a bible upside down for the cameras or will be it those taken by the press corps of the entourage parade heading across Lafayette Square?
Now apply that tongue in cheek Law of Organic Viral Resonance to the action and reaction to those images. The bible holding image was planned well in advance and the visual effects of the preceding “plow the road” use of force to clear the square was not. The later “plow the road” images and stroll of the entourage to the church were strictly organic for the White House Press Corps photographers to capture. That they did.
Was it a bad implementation strategy or a timing failure of under recognizing the gravity of the situation? What would Forest Gump say?
Eventually in the days following that photo op in Lafayette Square, the US Attorney General tried to walk back and deny his involvement in the parks’ clearing.
A Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff general apologized for his appearance with the entourage (rejecting a view suggesting military complicity). The Secretary of the Defense Department walked back his participation in the photo op suggesting he was unaware of the intent of his boss and went further by removing federal troops from the DMV area (reducing the so-called dominated city “battlescape”). It was an action not supported by the White House which places him on a crash course towards the exit door. Any bets?
Seems like a few of the “affects” of the Law of Organic Viral Resonance are in play here.
Then former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generals and former Secretaries of Defense all within 48 hours of those photo ops publicly condemned the actions which suppressed First Amendment rights of the protestors at Lafayette Square. An unexpected consequence?
How about the DC’s 16th Street which leads up to the square officially being painted in huge caution yellow lettering by the District of Columbia spelling out Black Lives Matter?
16th Street is beyond symbolic. It is the street in DC that has the most churches of many faiths located all along it broad thoroughfare from Lafayette Square to the Maryland state line. It evenly divides/bisects the District in half.
In days that would follow, lost cause monuments would topple from major boulevard parks located in Alexandria to Richmond Virginia and over to Albuquerque, NM.
City fathers and state governments across the south would take it upon themselves to quickly remove these statues whether or not the public discussion of their continued display or existence had been finalized. The memory of Charlottesville, VA 2017, racial injustice raged fresh upon public officials minds as their remedial actions slowly dragged on – so people now stepped into the void.
Look at Albuquerque, NM and that monument to Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate toppled in mid June. Newspapers reported the existence of a “civilian guard” and a “lone” agitator menacing the protestors that resulted in injuries and arrests. Consequences of action and reaction.
All this was happening while yet another restaurant, a fast food restaurant, was burned by protestors in Atlanta GA because a black man was dead by police officer actions in that restaurant’s parking lot. Again, all caught on multiple videos.
It was a fatal turn of events for that man who fell asleep in his car, perhaps intoxicated in that Wendy’s drive up window line. Whatever the truth of that Atlanta evenings’ event was, it will eventually be uncovered. As will all the other preceding events.
Cue the Food Industry titans for a reaction.
MARS Inc., is one of the world’s wealthiest privately held family firms who own among other things the M&M brand. They announced on June 17 that they are evaluating changes to their Uncle Ben’s rice brand. This follows on the heels of Quaker Oats retiring its 140 year old Aunt Jemima brand and logo. Mrs Butterworth, well she’s gone too Oh, and as a sidebar Lady Antebellum is now Lady A.
Makes you wonder why it took them this long to change.
“We better stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.” – Steven Stills, For What’s It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield.
Or better yet, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) said ….
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
The Denouement is build more bridges … then order out more.