When it comes to protests, there’s always one thing that’ll keep you (and your mob) from succeeding in making the United States aware of your cause – protesting the news corporations. Over the past two (or so) weeks, there’ve been protesters in the streets of New York City in areas on and around Wall Street, this gathering named “Occupy Wallstreet” and called for all the way back in the July issue of Adbusters (an anti-consumerist magazine that I just so happen to have a copy of right here) and encouraged by the hackers at Anonymous soon afterword. These protests have been going on since the 17th of September, 2011, and continue to this day where one of the most important factors has come into play: branding.
It was October 1st when the photo you see above was taken by Adrian Kinloch and posted up on Flickr under Creative Commons reserve – the person you see in the photo is being called a 13 year old (even though she’s clearly 18 or older) and has in several cases (see: YouTube) been said to have been brutally ripped from the crowd and thrown in handcuffs. What’s really happening here, as you can see, is that she’s being peacefully taken (and isn’t that sad about it!) as the rest of the protesters stay protesting behind the police line.
This all happened yesterday on the Brooklyn Bridge where protesters from the Occupy Wallstreet gathering stopped all traffic on the bridge as a single unit crowd. You can see a video of her arrest (please excuse the yelling) on YouTube – not that I’ve changed the title so that the video does not get pulled as is sure to happen with the original. Two people get arrested at the same time, the girl in the green hat being arrested quite peacefully, the other – not so much.
This story is sure to spread far and wide. It’s not just because the girl appears young, and it’s not just because this is part of the Occupy Wallstreet protest – in fact its in spite of that. It’s because of three names:
1. the Brooklyn Bridge
3. Invader Zim – and GIR
The first I’m sure you understand, that’s where the incident took place, and it’s one of the most famous bridges in the world. Two, she’s wearing a Canon camera strap. I’m not sure at the moment what camera she actually has, but the fact that she’s got a potentially rather expensive camera around her neck is rather significant to the future legend of this person and this incident. Third, the green hat – this hat is a bit of branded clothing from the Invader Zim television show, the character its portraying being named GIR. Once this incident began to spread across the internet, one of the videos was seen by the creator of that television show Jhonen Vasquez, who let known his opinion on the matter on his own personal cartoon blog:
“When I first saw this picture I thought “GOOD! It’s about time the law did something about people who wear GIR hats!”, but then quickly realized this was a girl protesting as part of Occupy Wall Street.
Suddenly this girl, in my mind, was the most badass GIR hat wearer I had ever seen, existing in a Mad Max style world where she was simply wandering this fucked over wasteland, wearing whatever she found on corpses (a GIR hat in this case), just struggling to survive.
And yet, despite having to fight and claw a living out of a blasted nothingness, she still finds a spark inside to fight against what she thinks is wrong about the hell she lives in.
I imagine that shortly after that frame of video, she let out a monstrous battle-cry like Lord Humongous and head butted that officer, leaving a GIR-faced bruise on his terrified face.
GIR-hatted protester girl, this can of Dinky-Di’s for you.” – Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim
Now there’s a whole new situation here. Because this young lady brought both cartoons and tech into the situation in such a simple one-off happening, a whole mass of additional readers will know of the protests as a whole. You probably wont read about this on every blog, as some are, indeed, owned by the same groups the protesters are protesting, but here you go, have a look. What a simple situation, catalyst for greater understanding.
I should also mention here that, though I and we have our own opinions about the protests, it’s not my intent with this post to take a side one way or another. If that’s what you want, you can head to my Google+ page if you want to see that action.