March 12, 2016

At last night's canceled Trump rally, why did individual protesters, asked on camera what they were protesting, say "I choose not to answer"?

In the comments to the first post of the day, sane_voter said:
Lots of Mexican flags at the riot, with the folks holding them flipping the bird and shouting profanity. Just doing the jobs that many Americans won't do.
Original Mike said "I saw that" and added:
Fox had reporters going through the crowd later in the evening. When asked why they were protesting, several protesters said "I choose not to answer". WTF kind of protester is that?
I'm making a separate post out of that because I believe the question is easy to answer. I know the answer from thousands of history lessons and Hollywood movies, like that one where the child disperses a lynch mob by talking to one individual and calling him by name.



There are the things people do in groups, where the individual is merged with the feeling of the whole group, where the group activity deafens the individual's access to conscience...



... and the way the conscience can snap back when the individual is singled out, confronted squarely, and asked to speak — to bring forward thoughts from his own mind. In the movies, that individual stares silently, then turns and goes away. On television, with a microphone aimed at his face, he says: "I choose not to answer."

The greatest mob break-up in the history of cinema came, I believe, in the 1927 silent film "King of Kings," discussed a few years ago on this blog, here. The mob is about to stone a woman to death for the sin of adultery, and Jesus goes one by one to individuals and writes in the sand, for each, the name of a sin. Each individual, on seeing the name of his sin, turns and walks away.

71 comments:

tim in vermont said...

If they used the same words, it was planned in advance and you are reading too much into it, if they all said it in different ways? Maybe, but I doubt it. These are know nothings.

traditionalguy said...

What The Professor said. I call her Annie Get Your Gun. She always hits the bullseye.

David said...

Great eclectic example. It does presuppose a society in which people are aware of their own sin and error.

While Tim may be right about some, I think the woman in question--who had been standing there shouting obscenities before Roberts called her up--was feeling shame and regret.

Big Mike said...

Nice try, Althouse, but I agree with tim in vermont -- when all the people use the same words then they've been organized and coached by a third party. Who is this third party? MoveOn.org? BLM? Someone else hiding in the shadows? Trump needs to isolate a target and sue it. The legal discovery should be fascinating.

And yes, I took the phrase "isolate a target" from MoveOn's bible.

traditionalguy said...

Mister Cunningham looks like he is wondering if he can vote multiple times for George Wallace if he wears his hood to the polls each time.

That is not what Trump inspires. Trump supporters thinks faster than that Make rural Alabama great again.

David Begley said...

Well done Ann Althouse.

And no mob, no French Revolution.

The veneer of civilization is thin and even thinner with Twitter.

EDH said...

Althouse gives these protesters way too much credit as decent people.

Their silence was a tactic, a mask over the face, an assertion of prerogative, not a twinge of individual conscience.

rhhardin said...

I don't think they have a conscience problem.

It's an event for the media to show, not a protest.

Message: we can stop you.

Ann Althouse said...

I agree that if they all intoned the same words, they did not emerge as individuals.

More like people who'd been given legal advice.

rhhardin said...

Soap opera is veneer.

I just bailed out very early from 3 DVDs. One of them even offered "deleted scenes," which must have set a record for awfulness.

Awful movies only have a hope if they know it's awful.

It's the same in politics.

Unknown said...

I think you've all proven Prof. Althouse's point. The protesters were all instructed to decline to answer the question in the way they did to prevent the individual protesters to examine their reasons and prevent the mob from breaking up.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, in other words, organized and coached.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I'm with Tim. This refusing to answer goes back to the unions. They hire people to picket and tell them not to talk to the media. They don't want the day laborers to talk because they may say something embarrassing.

rhhardin said...

I see what Trump's counter should be.

Send in a mob of pickpockets.

Curious George said...

Christ it's simple. The were paid to go there, cause trouble, hold signs, chant words, give fingers. They weren't protesting anything. They were surrogates.

Ann Althouse said...

@Unknown

Very good reexamination of the point.

Ken B said...

I think unknown has Althouse's interpretation exactly backwards, but probably has the right idea. This is a tactic they were taught, which is intended to prevent any cracks in the mod developing.

traditionalguy said...

Miranda. warnings for Protestors. You have a right to remain silent. Whatever you say will be broadcast forever if it can fit into a false narrative. You can have a media lawyer provided for you by Acorn and a a check from George Soros if you perform like. A good WWF faked wrestling loser.

The Arab Street's Mohammed is mad role is already filled.

Curious George said...

"Unknown said...
I think you've all proven Prof. Althouse's point. The protesters were all instructed to decline to answer the question in the way they did to prevent the individual protesters to examine their reasons and prevent the mob from breaking up."

No. The point was to make it look like the protests were organic when they were not.

Horses. Not zebras.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

This crap is just starting. From NBC News:

Sanders' campaign was not involved with the protest, but some felt encouraged by the showing. If the candidate doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination, the anti-Trump showing in Chicago foreshadows a possible future avenue for his movement in the general election, in which Trump is the most likely Republican nominee.

Old Camera Guy said...

The "King of Kings" clip was neat, but it seems to me that they always cut out the last bit, where Jesus says, "Go and sin no more."

Who now will tell this mob the same?

Original Mike said...

I don't remember them having the same phrasing, but I was struck that within a short period of time and, therefore, in the same area of the crowd, protesters not wanting to explain why they were there. You'd expect a protester to want to voice his protest. One guy appeared to want to answer, then seemed to remember that he wasn't supposed to. I do think they were coached.

pm317 said...

Fox's John Roberts was no Jesus!

buwaya puti said...

Tim and Mike are correct.
Many were coached and I suspect paid.
This is a profession these days.

Charlie said...

You have chance to get a message to 20 million people and you clam up? I watched a few of those answers and it seemed clear they were clueless idiots.

pm317 said...

Paid protesters and of course, they didn't know what they were protesting against, other than Trump the villain. May be that was good enough reason for some. But I am surprised at the simplicity (and at the same time profound) of a guy who came to hear Trump who said they (protesters) should have just listened to what Trump had to say and then they could either agree with him or reinforce their own belief that they were right not to agree with him (still looking for that video). Of course, that is not how it works with paid protesters. So let us go after who is paying them and call them out, shall we? Notice how these mob owners (the angry old man, for instance) prey on the young and the gullible.

sunsong said...

I assume those clips are to help Trump supporters find their conscience...

jr565 said...

As everyone knows I am no Trump supporter. Ted Cruz and Rubio are acting like CUNTS blaming this on Trump. This was outside agitation from groups trying to disrupt events. They engaged in violence doing so.
It is part of a long history of the left stifling speech. And the media and now Republicans are going to say its Trumps doing? Go to hell.

Ken B said...

Jr565
I second that. I think Trump would be a poor choice, and a huge risk, but I would choose him over thuggery. Is that going to be our choice? Trump on one side, violence and intimidation is okay on the other?

pm317 said...

@jr565, good for you...

jr565 said...

In St Louis 32 people had to be arrested at a Trump event because they kept interupting him by agitating. How violent was that agiattion? the media never reports it, only says "Trump events are violent". that's because outside agitators are disrupting the events. Anarchy is generally violent.
We are simply not seeing this at Sanders events or Hillary Clinton events. Because republicans by and large, do not egnage in perment activism and use agit prop to disrupt events.

We all know though, that if Trump supporters acted in any way like the left does at almost any speech that a conservative gives, that they'd be demonized as the countries biggest facists.

AReasonableMan said...

I'm not sure we should be attempting to draw any moral or political lessons from crappy, sentimental Hollywood movies.

Ann Althouse said...

"The "King of Kings" clip was neat, but it seems to me that they always cut out the last bit, where Jesus says, "Go and sin no more.""

The YouTube version is crudely divided into sections, unfortunately.

amielalune said...

You're waaaay overthinking it, professor. She didn't want to say because she was being paid.

MayBee said...

Chicago always has union people and "community organizers" on hand to protest. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but the same people protesting McDonald's for minimum wage one morning last year became the Eric Garner protesters the same night.
So these people don't really know why they are protesting, they've just been recruited and probably paid.

pm317 said...

Check Drudge's headline. I think it is time for the GoP to stop their shenanigans against Trump. If anything bad happens to him, it is on them too. I just heard Hillary and the angry old man making political hay while their paid fuckers did what they were paid to do.

jr565 said...

Various groups already tweeted that it was an organized protest.
"People4Bernie: Remember the #TrumpRally wasn't just luck. It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work.
8:08 PM - 11 Mar 2016

Not just one group. Dozens of group. Thousands of people. Acting in a coordinated effort to attempt to shut down an event.

If there talking points about how they wont say why they are protesting are similar, it only highlights that this is a coordinated attempt to STIFLE speech.

Seriously, if there was a bernie event where it was shut down becuase of a riot outside or becuase people were intimidated when they tried walking in and a group called People4Trump bragged about how they shut the event down, woudn't garage mahal be saying it was a perfect example of how the Trump people were a bunch of brownshirts?

I have no expecation that the left, who are career agitators who do this routinely wouldn't engage in this sort of behavior. But Cruz and Rubio need to not side with black lives matter crowd while htey shut down events. Even if they want Trump to go down.

If cruz wins the primary, the same crowd that has been targetting Trump are suddenly going to notice what a racist sexist homophobe Cruz is and sudddenly start disrupting HIS events.
Because THAT IS WHAT THEY DO.

jr565 said...

ugh, I hate to have to defend Trump. But, give me a break...

MayBee said...

I also can't believe people are blaming Trump.

Yes, he has been feisty at his rallies. But I remember when the press tried to say Sarah Palin was courting violence at her VP rallies. Remember that? And there was too much anger at Mitt Romney rallies.

The left does violent protests. They did it at the 1968 Democratic conventions. They did it as "anti-globalization" activists during Bush 43 and Clinton, they did it with GWB starting at his inauguration. They were violent during Occupy Wall Sstreet, and Ferguson. Now against Trump. This is what they do.

MayBee said...

Isn't Bernie calling for A Revolution?

buck said...

It's evidence that the protest/riot was planned and the participants were given talking points. Trump will use this to his advantage.

Qwinn said...

Amielalune nailed it. I can't believe it's not utterly obvious to everyone.

"I choose not to answer" = "I'm here because George Soros pays me $12 per hour to show up to these things regularly."

pm317 said...

@MayBee, I have been saying this since yesterday.. Somebody put it in print that he is calling for a revolution from his minions.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Enough. Trump's not to blame for this one.

I loathe the man and what he stands for but this is not on him.

This is, in large part, the professional left protesters doing this. It's not spontaneous, it's a deliberate effort to disrupt things they don't like.

Trump's movement is labeled fascist; so what is this movement if not red fascism.

The hypocrisy of the left commentators here - those condemning the Tea Party and other movements - while defending this is stunning. Although not surprising.

pm317 said...

Althouse, beautiful post, the more I think about it.

Amadeus 48 said...

I am re-posting this because I think it explains what was going on. The protesters were told to say this so they wouldn't get into a discussion with a reporter at a Trump rally about the fact that they are really part of a movement to take down the mayor of Chicago and the State's Attorney (Anita Alvarez), both of whom are Democrats and to discredit street patrols by the Chicago Police:

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. By their fruits ye shall know them.

This disruptive event is street theater staged by a coalition of far-left groups--the Chicago Teachers' Union, MoveOn, various illegal immigrant rights groups, various paid agitators for BLM and Occupy Wall Street. They have been doing things like this since Rahm was re-elected and continued his fight with the Teachers' Union. These groups are demonstrating their power by disrupting various activities of normal citizens who are largely exempt from their goals and concerns. This rally disruption is all a piece with the Black Friday shutdown of Michigan Avenue, the subsequent periodic disruptions of traffic during the morning and evening commute, and the use of the Laquan McDonald tape as a club to beat the mayor, the police and the state's attorney.

The real goal is to lower morale in the institutions that have historically maintained order and to seize power in Chicago--to defang the police, to chase out or emasculate the mayor, to replace the Cook County State's Attorney with a compliant tool of the left wing of the Democrat party in next week's primary. The disruption of the Trump rally is to warn the assembled Trumpian populists that they have no power over normal life (i.e., normal opposition political activity) in the city, and that they had better stay out.

This is the fruit of 80 years of one-party mis-rule in this city. But what is going to happen here is not going to make the city better. It is going to make Chicago like Detroit.

n.n said...

Solidarity. Ironically, in defense of the State-established church or government. As the Occupy protestors before them. Separation of church and state is an inside joke told by the establishment of a replacement orthodoxy.

traditionalguy said...

Interestingly, the moment of clarity has finally happened for many befuddled Cruz supporters. The veil has fallen off their faces and he is toast now, in Texas too.

IMO the key was Dr Carson so clearly stating yesterday that Trump is spiritually attuned to Carson's sincere Christianity...I.e. Sanders has seen up close that Cruz has been a Big Fat Texas Fake.

Rob McLean said...

Isn't Bernie calling for A Revolution?

Well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan.

pm317 said...

He has outsourced the plan.

MayBee said...

Amadeus- exactly.

I've always disliked Rahm Emmanuel, but moving here has turned me into his biggest fan. Just because of who is against him.

MayBee said...

Rob McLean-
Don't you know that you can count me out

Fabi said...

jr565@12:05 -- Bravo!

MayBee said...

Calls for Violence at McCain/Palin Rallies go too far! You Tube

MayBee said...

Rage Rising in McCain crowds!!!

MayBee said...

People are yelling Kill Him!

MayBee said...

People have short memories and that's how the media gets to keep using the same playbook.

Fernandinande said...

"I choose not to answer"

Sounds better than "I dunno, but they paid me $10 to get in the way."

Birkel said...

No fan of Trump here, either. The Chicago protest was decidedly not Trump's fault. Anybody blaming Trump for these disturbances is full of shit.

However, the battery of the Breitbart reporter is a completely different matter.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Big Mike:
Insty has some twitters from an outfit called "People for Bernie" or People4Bernie where they claim responsibility for organizing it, and congratulate the "thousands" of participants.

cf said...

Yes, ann, lovely exploration, . . . And also: "Because my union said so," is not allowed to be mentioned.

Smilin' Jack said...

Jesus goes one by one to individuals and writes in the said, for each, the name of a sin.

"Writes in the said," huh? Look, I know it's just a typo, and this is just a blog, and you're not getting paid or anything. But if you're trying to make a point, it might help to not post gibberish, especially about Jesus. A little proofreading before posting could save you from an eternity in Hell.

YoungHegelian said...

I choose not to answer.

Yeah, just like the Hollywood commies called before Congress. You know why they invoked the Fifth? Because the Central Committee of the CPUSA had told them all to.

Do you really think the clowns who organize these protests don't know this?

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, & by the way, since every time some asshole racist says something nice about Trump, he's supposed to grovel about it, how about Bernie & Hillary denouncing these clowns.

If you need some information on ANSWER, take a gander at this, written by that running dog lackey of American imperialism, David Corn, late of that ultra-right fascist rag, The Nation, & now licking the boots of international finance capital at Mother Jones. **


**Yes, this is sarcasm.

C R Krieger said...

The Gospel from this Sunday. Woman taken in Adultry. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Regards — Cliff

Qwinn said...

traditionalguy:

"Interestingly, the moment of clarity has finally happened for many befuddled Cruz supporters. The veil has fallen off their faces and he is toast now, in Texas too."


Today's Wyoming primary results:

Cruz 66.3%
Mario 19.5%
Trump 7.2%

First primary where any Republican candidate got a majority (Puerto Rico doesn't count). And Trump didn't even make double digits.

Yeah, Cruz is toast, alright. You're as insightful as ever, traditionalguy.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Qwinn

And how many hours has it been since Cruz jumped the shark and exposed himself by joining forces with the Soros and Clinton cabal?

Come tell me about Ted's sheep's clothing schtik next month.

Michael K said...

"I would choose him over thuggery. Is that going to be our choice? Trump on one side, violence and intimidation is okay on the other?"

Rubio seems to doubt he would do the same.

Amadeus48 has it pretty well nailed. Chicago is going to blow up soon. Emmanuel is trying to hold the lid on but I doubt he will be able to do so for long. The next mayor will take his cues from Coleman Young and tell whites to get out of "his city." The black commenters on HuffPo are already bringing up the temerity of Trump to hold a rally in "Their city." They see no irony at all.

I've been trying to get my sister to move out of Chicago for several years. He grandchildren are there but houses will be worthless in the city before too long. It will be a black ruin surrounded by integrated suburbs, just like Detroit. The neighborhood I grew up in is already a wreck. It was one of the nicest areas of the city in the 1940s and 50s.

mikee said...

Future prosecution will not have the protesters explaining in their own words that they purposefull & violently infringed the rights of the Trump rally attendees.

Althouse is a lawyer. Would she not suggest to a client of hers to keep their traps shut if filmed performing a crime?

Char Char Binks said...

They chose not to answer because they didn't know.