April 21st, 2002


Has your Cheese Found Jesus?

Ugh. It's been a busy week. I worked too much. My teeth still hurt. I meant to write more on the phone-week theme but had no time. I like the idea of theme weeks though and I will entertain suggestions.

Oh well. I might as well share my weird work interaction of the week.

Customer: Is their any cheese that's particularly Christian?
Me: Uh, in what way?

Customer: You know, cheese that is used in Christain celebrations.
Me: Well, it's not really my area of expertise. But we sell a lot of Stilton at x-mas time. I think it's an English tradition.

Customer (unhappy look on face): I don't know. . .
Me: What are you using it for?

Customer: We're having a Christain celebration.
Me: Hmmmm. Well you could also go the cheese-similar-to-the-type-being-ma de-around-the-supposed-time-of-Christ route. For instance Feta, or real simple fresh cheese.

Customer: I'll just take the St. Andre. That sounds religious.ˇ

2000 or 200,000?

There was a huge anti-war/end the occupation demonstration yesterday. I had to work (selling Christian cheese – see below) so I missed it. Plus I often find big weekend demos a little depressing rather than energizing.

But I watched the TV news coverage when I got home. The SFPD is continuing their policy of not announcing crowd estimates from demos anymore. One of the striking features of SF demos is that the police used to give pretty accurate numbers unlike cops elsewhere. That all ended during the Gulf War when, like everywhere else, the police started halving the real numbers and day-long marches became "traffic disturbances"*

It’s hard not to believe in conspiracies when the police say it was "One of the biggest demonstrations in two decades" and the news only shows individuals and small groups as their visuals. Like they couldn’t get an aerial shot of the crowd stretching from Dolores Park to Civic Center? And what does "one of the biggest demos" mean? 1984 Democratic Convention, 1989 AIDS Conference, 1991 Gulf War, 1998 Bosnia and 2001 Free Mumia are the biggest I can remember and those ranged from 10,000-150,000. Like there aren’t people who could look at the aerial shot, that they don’t have, and figure out how many people are in the crowd.

It’s just another way to "report" the news without giving any real information. I mean I can’t blame the media for interviewing obvious wingnuts "speaking for Mother Earth because she doesn’t have a voice" because really, that’s our fault on some level. But not reporting whether a march was 2000 or 200,000 seems a little beyond the usual journalistic malpractice.

The one good part of the coverage was that they interviewed the mother of the woman I bought my car from. She’s a little hippie-ish and could have come off badly with a mean editor, but she gave an impassioned speech about being a child of holocaust survivors and the need to end the occupation.

*During the first week of the Gulf War there were at least two demos a day: one at noon and one at dark. If you missed the beginning you could find the march by calling the police. "Hello. Sorry to bother you but I have to get to the airport for an important business meeting. Are there any streets I should avoid?"
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