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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reality noticed

with John Butler of the John Butler Trio

One of my biggest bugbears, and those of my colleagues here at the ShadowLands, is when journalists report crowd numbers as being whatever the largest number is that they are told by event organisers. Another bugbear is when activists ignore other realities about the world around them.

So time for some rare credit giving. This year the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras reportedly attracted about 300,000 people. On the face of it, this is a dramatic decline compared to previous years when crowds were reported as 750,000.

In fact, while we would argue that 300,000 is perhaps still on the high side of reality, this number simply reflects an outbreak of honesty by event organisers.

What's more the theme of the event this year was injustice against the gay and lesbian communities in other countries. Organisers publicly condemned laws in the middle east as well as negative attitudes to gays and lesbians in countries such as Russia.

When will we ever hear the same thing from western feminists?

8 comments:

Boy on a bike said...

According to the Mardi Gras web site, the parade route is 2.4km long. Assuming people line both sides of the road for the entire route, we have 4.8km of roadside, or 4800 metres.

If each person takes up 1 metre of space, even at 300,000 spectators, you have people standing 62 deep.

It's been a few years since I went, and I watched from some very crowded spots, but the crowd was only 5 or 6 deep at most. At the start, the crowds were always quite thin - one deep.

Even allowing for people watching from buildings and grandstands, I think the crowd is still over-estimated by a factor of 3 or 4 at least.

blogstrop said...

Were the large papier mache heads this year those of high profile Islamic state leaders, or just more local politicians: Fred Nile again?
(yawn)

Pogria said...

Mardi Gras is so lame these days. I first went to Mardis Gras in the early 80's, a couple or three years after it started.
It was a hoot in those days. Basically, just a big street party. People even brought boom boxes along so that those of us that wanted to, literally did, start "dancin' in the street".
We'd actually join in the parade and dance and jump up and down with everybody else, climb onto the floats etc. In the early years they used to hand out Minties to we spectators. That was good. Then, one year, they started handing out condoms, mmm, not too bad, Minties were easier to chew!

Then, one year, there was all this bloody plastic tape down each side of the road. WTF!!!. So, we just ripped it all down.
Unfortunately, next year they erected those metal barriers and became VERY snotty about crowd control. I stopped going after that.

It really was just a fun street party. Then, of course, it became a business and went completely down the tube after that.

Also, they became very militant. After it started to receive a lot of International attention, they stopped the straights from joining their gay friends in the actual parade. Hey, we thought we were being supportive! meh.

Margo's Maid said...

I dare say you're all spot on here, as BOAB says, I think the numbers are still way over the odds, but at least they are not taking us all for complete idiots.

As 'strop says, I think I caught a Pope float, but the mad mullahs were noticeably absent.

And as Pogs says, I think some of the novelty is wearing off and they may need to get back to their...ahem...roots.

Margo's Maid said...

I dare say you're all spot on here, as BOAB says, I think the numbers are still way over the odds, but at least they are not taking us all for complete idiots.

As 'strop says, I think I caught a Pope float, but the mad mullahs were noticeably absent.

And as Pogs says, I think some of the novelty is wearing off and they may need to get back to their...ahem...roots.

Anonymous said...

Pogs, you paint the evolutionary rainbow perfectly from fun event to militant, serious, we're gay and we've arrived, only poofs allowed. And now the numbers decline. That's the classic product life cycle for everything else in life. Now they'll have to think of the future and reinvent themselves.

I've asked elsewhere was Christine Dixon/Nixon there as a float on her own? Don't know yet. Mehaul.

Boy on a bike said...

I asked a poof at work one year if he was going to the parade. The look he gave me was choice - he tilted his head down and looked over his reading glasses at me and sneered, "Associate with those drug-fucked ferals? What do you take me for?"

He ordered all his clothes from London. Beautiful suits, tailored shirts, handmade shoes. Beau Brumell to a tee. Always immaculate.

All I can say is that he was straighter than me, in that I was down there like a shot, associating with the drug-fucked ferals like there was no tomorrow.

As for Nixon getting her own float, I don't think you can take an over-width semi down Oxford St.

Pogria said...

Hi Mehaul,

Bike Boy's answered your question perfectly.

That Nixon Barge don't float.