Thursday, July 09, 2009

Video Terror

Vox Pop, the cafe and bookstore where I used to work, has been getting some good press lately. Having re-opened a few weeks ago after remodeling, restructuring, and a hefty dose of investment from the local community, VP has once again captured the media spotlight. But the biggest publicity, and the most sympathy, has come from the theft of their Statue of Liberty replica. A rally was held and a reward offered after the seven foot statue was taken in June, and it made the local Brooklyn papers and a lot of blogs.

Well now the fate of the statue has been learned. As covered in the Daily News, the statue was decapitated in a "Death to America" video now on You Tube. Tonight at eight VP will be covered on CNN.

They say no publicity is bad publicity, and this actually helps Vox Pop, which had a not entirely deserved anti-American revolutionary image under founder Sander Hicks. Suddenly Vox Pop, which has always stood for a very lefty, almost Marxist brand of liberty, is now seen as a victim of anti-American protest and terror. I mean, lets face it: from a Marxist point of view the message of the video "We don't want your freedom" "Death to America" is pretty standard. And if, indeed, private property=theft, as many Marxists proclaim, then stealing the statue wasn't theft at all, because Vox Pop's ownership of it was part of a capitalistic structure designed to oppress the masses--or something like that. Anyway, the destruction of bourgeois symbols in an effort to tear the mask off of the hipocracy of the state certainly furthers the cause of revolution and should be embraced by the proletariat.

Shouldn't it?

Well, VP is a corporation. It is liberal but not really leftist. They believe in social justice but not really in revolution. It tries to be a business with a conscience, but it is still a business. And it's always a bit different when its your property being vandalized in the name of the people.

Vox Pop, while it's long struggled and while I've had my own issues with them, is a great place. Although seen as being part of the gentrification of Cortelyou Road, VP was on the early edge of that movement, and they are now an integral part of the community. Although some locals resent them, they are in fact one of the most community conscious business in the city, and also one of the coolest cafes in the world. And they deserve a break. And they deserve not to have their stuff messed with.

Just sayin'.


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