These guys don't care for activism, and they're taking to the streets to make sure everyone knows it.
The pack of students holding cardboard signs and marching down Locust Walk yesterday wasn't protesting genocide in Darfur or the war in Iraq - the students were just protesting the act of protesting.
Six students, led by Engineering junior Tal Raviv, began a ceremonious walk outside Huntsman Hall at noon and processed east toward College Green, where they chanted phrases like "No more protests!" and "Down with activism!"
Raviv said the group was a "very close-knit group of friends" trying to bring some humor to Penn's campus, which he described as "not funny enough."
Besides receiving befuddled gazes from onlookers, Raviv said the group was told to quiet down as they walked over the Compass, where Sociology professor Samuel Preston was delivering a 60-second lecture as part of a series organized by the School of Arts and Sciences.
"Some people don't get" our protest, Raviv said.
He first proposed the idea earlier this week on The Ironic Listserv, an e-mail forum for some of his friends that he manages.
In a copy of the e-mail obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Raviv asked his friends to "reply with Yeehaw in the subject line," produce a sign poking fun at current activist causes and bring "a guitar, drum, hippie garb, anything that would make this even more ridiculous" to the protest.
"Make love, don't think" and "Don't waste paper" were among the catchphrases that participants displayed on their signs.
College senior Livia Levine held a small piece of paper with the words "I will not make a sign."
Besides adding some humor to the campus, Raviv said he hopes his protest against activism will encourage other students to come up with similar creative ideas.
"Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm," said fellow participant and College senior Brian Cohen.
In the past, interested parties have discovered Raviv's listserv through word of mouth, he said.
But is his group an organized club?
"Not that you know of," Raviv said. "I've been doing stuff like this since middle school."
During his freshman year at Penn, Raviv and some friends decided that the Button outside Van Pelt Library strongly resembled a UFO fallen from the sky.
"We took big [green] K-Mart bouncy balls and put them all over the Button" to resemble aliens, he said. Twenty-four hours later, the fake aliens remained untouched and the group removed them.
Their actions are not always favorably received, however.
Earlier this year, Raviv and his friends covered the Benjamin Franklin statue outside College Hall with tinfoil and tied a kite to Franklin's hand to symbolize his famous experiment with lightning.
Soon after they finished, Raviv said, a campus security guard showed up and told them to remove their decorative additions to the statue.
Raviv said he hopes the things he and his friends do will "make people happier, more creative [and foster] a more humorous atmosphere."
Humor has "a lot of benefits in life," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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