Thursday, July 12, 2007

War blues

I've been following, with half an eye, the annual war between sitters and standers at Ottawa's annual Bluesfest. Briefly, some people like to bring lawnchairs, and spend a comfortable day and evening; others, presumably younger, like to dance to the music. People behind the standers can't see unless they stand too; while standers get irritated that the best spots, close to the stage, are staked out by the sitters. When they move towards the stage, and attempt to penetrate the phalanx of lawnchairs, harsh words are exchanged, and skirmishes break out. Jonathan Swift once reported on a similar never-ending war.

In the letters columns and on the radio, partisans are heard on each side: "People need to sit! Standers are rude!" and "People like to stand and get into the music! These lawnchair folks are inconsiderate!"

Today the Bluesfest organizers announced that they were abandoning their solution, which had been to set aside a specific area for the lawnchairists. It appears that radical factions of lawnchairists were setting up their emplacements elsewhere in the crowd. Some brought space-occupying lawnchairs and then stood anyway. Meanwhile, militant standists were invading the designated territory of the lawnchairists. The organizers said that they simply didn't have the resources to send in a peacekeeping force. They would prefer that people just enjoy the music and behave with courtesy and respect--the "can't we all get along" approach.

In the meantime, we bloggers continue to offer our wisdom and analyses anent the Middle East, Afghanistan and so on, timorously avoiding more complex conflicts right here in our own backyard.

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