Monday, February 01, 2010

The Perfect Swarm

The Unforgiving Scrum 2
Whew! Here I was wondering how I was gonna describe what it was like to cover the opening of the International Civil Rights Museum and damn if I didn't capture the feeling in a single frame. How'd that happen? Oh yeah, I clubbed an old lady in the face to protect my portion of the swarm. Okay, not really - but had this long-awaited ribbon cutting lasted more than twelve seconds, Granny would have gone DOWN. Scrums are dumb that way. One moment you're leaning against a tripod spreading lies and the next you're planting an elbow in the chest of your closest competitor. Take the above photo for example: half a minute before I snapped it these combatants were engaged in idle chit-chat. But let Jesse Jackson and pals grab a pair of giant scissors and shit goes all slow-mo like those scenes from The Matrix. I myself was holding up a wall across the street when I saw the distant nucleus form. With the kind of fluid motion reserved only for 43 year olds, I lunged toward the doorway - just as hundreds of spectators did the same. It was only my sensible shoes and utter lack of shame that enabled me to get within arms' length of the history being made outside the old Woolworth's building....

International Civil Rights MuseumAs fascinating as the sight of grown men hacking away at a red ribbon is, my eye was drawn to the rabid pack of lenses to my immediate left. Though I knew many faces in the crowd, their identities blurred as they formed an impenetrable wall. That's when the good folk behind me decided no damn cameraman was block their entrance to the new museum. What followed was a flurry of flashes and press passes, thanks to some caffeinated activists, six saints in the making and a few confirmed assholes. Luckily I was able to hold my ground, but only because I learned how to mosh in Hollywood - where grown women willed themselves into seizures every time Simon Cowell passed gas (which was often!). Yes, compared to an American Idol audition, today's collision of lenses and citizens was incredibly chill - and it featured a lot less body glitter!

International Civil Rights MuseumMe - I'm just glad it's over. The International Civil Rights Museum - located in the very same five and dime where four black college kids changed the world by demanding service and respect - is long overdue. Regional media outlets have been planning for months how best to cover today's dedication. Most went with total team smotherage - as a result I saw a lot of friends today. And though I never did get to go inside the museum, I hope to do so soon in the company of my kids - preferably on a day I don't have to body-check some senior citizen to get near the door. Now, that would be civil!


David Hoggard said...

Did my segment make the cut? Missed the broadcast.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Glad I wasn't there.