Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bioskateboard protest.

A weird confluence of events has struck Philadelphia this week. Bio2005 is a biotechnology conference taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention center this week. Protestors have gathered to demonstrate against the medical and biological sciences that benefit their lives everyday.

The news on the local NPR station in Philadelphia has not actually covered any events of the conference which would be interesting, educational and informative and might allow us consumers out here to generate our own informed opinions about the value and safety of the various types of biotechnology discussed at the conference.

The coverage has been almost exclusively about the protests surrounding the conference, but also without a coherent message about what the protesters issues are. It is mostly a hodge podge of the regular disagreements. People afraid of that scary "genetical" engineering. In an exciting coincidence, on the same day, a bunch of skateboarders decided to protest their eviction from LOVE park and lack of progress on a skateboard park in Philadelphia to replace the previous illegal skateboarding location. The news reporting smoothly transitioned from bio-protester to skateboard protester with no clear distinction between the two. What is the protest about? Bio-skateboards?

Where is the bio-protesters marketing arm? Their protest has now been inextricably linked to skateboarders rights to skate. I am sure that the bio-protesters would protest the equivalence of their issues with the right to skateboard (When did everything become a right?). This lack of focus and professionalism can be a big problem: no clear message, no clear campaign, and a public relations disaster as bio-protesters and skateboarders converged on the same park on the same day. This would be dismissed as farcical in fiction, it achieves surrealism in real life.

Finally my sympathies go out to the fellow officers and families of the officer who was only trying to do his job and died of a heart attack between the protesting groups while trying to keep order. His death, though not caused by any of the events, Bio2005, bio-protesters or skateboarders, cast a pall on all of the activities. Yesterday was truly a strange day on the streets of Philadelphia, and true to form the local news couldn't quite get a coherent word out to describe it.

No comments: