Civil Liberties

San Francisco Wonders: How To Crush a Leaderless (And Silly) Resistance?

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The city of San Francisco, streets running white and violent with pillow feathers, vows to dim the "Flash Mob" phenomenon with the application of firm, persistent, and tenacious…permitting requirements.

These spontaneously and electronically organized bits of public whimsy are quite popular in San Francisco. But the latest large-scale one, the Valentine's Day pillow fight (with a top estimate of 3,000 fighters), led, the city complains, to enormous public and private costs in clogged drains and pumps and streets cemented with damp decaying feather bits.

[Dennis} Kern [director of operations for the Recreation and Park Department] said officials want the organizers of such events to follow standard procedure: apply for a permit, pay a use fee (at least $1,750 for the plaza) and supply security, portable toilets and cleanup crews.

But he acknowledged that such conformance would be contrary to the flash mob's decidedly decentralized, anti-bureaucratic principles. Kern said Rec and Park does not even know how to contact the pillow fight's anonymous organizers.

The Flash Mob revolution, having struck their confusing blow at whatever it is, have disappeared to where even the local media can't find them, absurdist fish swimming amongst a confused populace. San Francisco's war against them is apt to be long, though hopefully not bloody.

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  1. Doctorow’s Little Brother, anyone?
    Spontaneous LARPs shall be sqelched with batons.

  2. Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd

    Repeat until you stop using the term Flash Mob.

    That is all.

  3. Uh, can’t they just use littering laws against this type of thing?

  4. officials want the organizers of such events

    Heh.

    As usual, clueless on the whole concept.

    Kern said Rec and Park does not even know how to contact the pillow fight’s anonymous organizers.

    They arent anonymous, they are nonexistent.

  5. This is pretty funny. Good luck with your dumbass plan, Mr. Kern.

  6. Can anyone guess the Unintended Consequences to this?

  7. Quick, someone declare a war on pillows!

  8. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.

  9. Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd
    Flash Crowd

    Repeat until you stop using the term Flash Mob.

    That is all.

    Too friggin’ late, robc.
    Flash mob
    Flash Crowd

    Unlike twitter, flash mobs will culturally endure.

  10. San Francisco: assless chaps parade ok, provided you have city permit filled out in triplicate beforehand.

  11. You’re my boy, Blue

  12. San Francisco’s war against them is apt to be long, though hopefully not bloody.

    Awww c’mon. What do you have against a little entertainment?

  13. Kern said Rec and Park does not even know how to contact the pillow fight’s anonymous organizers.

    They arent anonymous, they are nonexistent.

    What, the idea for the pillow fight just sprung out of the ether? Obviously there are organizers. Organizing something like this is incredibly simple, but someone still does it.

    And while the amount of red tape might be very excessive, at root it’s not unreasonable (nor anti-libertarian) for the city to want the people who make this mess to pay for the cleanup.

  14. ck…GFY

  15. They can have my pillow when they pry it out of my cold dead feathery fingers

  16. ck…GFY

    Good for me? Why, thanks, DADIODADDY!

  17. Quick, someone declare a war on pillows!

    No war needed, just “commonsense regulation” will do nicely.

  18. Carrying a concealed pillow should be protected by the 2nd Amendment.

  19. I always suspected this site was infested with pillow nuts.

  20. There’s the mob, and then there’s the flash mob.

    “Lovely view you got there, Mrs. Sorenson. It’d be a shame for someone to come along and ruin it.”

  21. Can anyone guess the Unintended Consequences to this?

    An epidemic of pillow biting? It is San Fran, after all.

  22. What, the idea for the pillow fight just sprung out of the ether? Obviously there are organizers. Organizing something like this is incredibly simple, but someone still does it.

    Not necessarily. A “wouldnt it be funny if everyone showed up saturday at 5 at the park with pillows” post on some website doesnt qualify as organizing in my book.

    Plus, that isnt the way a true flash crowd works. They are generally due to a newsworthy event just causing too many people to show up to watch.

  23. Only bureaucrats are concerned about threats to bureaucracy from the irresponsible; the irony is in that irresponsible bureaucrats are a threat to all people, even the irresponsible perpetrators of mindless chaos.
    These two groups deserve each other but neither shall long persist should they sufficiently damage the host.
    Have a care.
    The garbage is getting old, even if it does come in nice cans.

  24. I’ve found the least fun man in the world in the comments of the SFGate article. I give you “filterfish”s take:

    These flashmobs are idiots. Notice how they can never get together for real political change. It’s always for something trivial (and often consumerist) like some mass silent iPod dance, or “freeze-in-place” prank. Big deal. And all these pillows and feathers. Did they even think of the poor dead birds whose feathers are still used to cushion our stupid heads, while we get our rocks off in some pseudo-anarchic way by beating each other with pillows? They think they’re liberated from the “man”, yet they are just consumerist tools. Get a life, you “flash-mobbers”! You don’t impress me. Organize against corporate America and do something serious. Probably the same people who go to Burning Man, another ridiculous event which makes Yuppies feel like they’re doing something, until they go back to work for the Machine. Just drink and do drugs like me; it’s more honest.

  25. This reminds me… when is the next Zombie Day? My brother zombied it up in New York a while back… seemed fun… Pillow fight seems more fun though.

    Clearly “filterfish” doesn’t understand what a flash mob is for. Least fun man ever.

  26. …gehfilterfish…

    nothing to add, just wanted to write that down and look at it…

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