Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bandwagon Bandit

I think what will most amuse anthroplogists of the future is bandwagonism, our inability to think for ourselves.

Once upon a time we had great myths that told us what to think and how to act. Sadly, with the death of religion, those days are gone for ohsomanyofus.

Fortunately, we have marketing gurus and celebrity spokespersons standing in where priests once stood, telling us what to covet and how to buy it.

Oh but my precious activist community is not immune to bandwagonism. We've never met a petition we could resist, no matter how vague or void of fact. Sign, click, forward it on, baby. Next thing you know you have a whole new kind of myth circulating the internet in perpetuity, no matter how many websites are created to debunk such urban legends.

What's specifically bothering me right now is a group I've always supported, Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC). They're on a rampage because a bike lane is being reduced by 10 inches. They have a petition going. They have almost 800 signatures. What the petition fails to mention is that the bike lane is, apparently, being reduced to prevent potential harm to mature trees in the area. One local paper said 227 of them - although that's in dispute.

It has been rightly pointed out that no one ever talked about reducing the width of the car lanes to help the trees. Some also say that the lane width would not have impacted the trees. I don't know if that's true, to be honest. But I know the petition makes no mention of such things. Apparently they wanted to keep it simple. Or maybe they were afraid to slow down that bandwagon with too much thinking.


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