The Coultergeist

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Apr 20 2010

Location: 

Milwaukee WI

In 2010, the College Republicans used tens of thousands of dollars from student fees to bring Ann Coulter to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In order to attend, students had to e-mail the College Republicans (allowing them to deny tickets to known activists), and authorities also implemented an unannounced dress code at the door.
A metal detector was installed at the entrance, and police, in very large numbers (complete with SWAT-style vans), effectively occupied an entire floor of the UWM student union.

Rather than engage Coulter on her terms, feeding her self-important paranoia and allowing her to ostracize activists in front of a large crowd of her (almost entirely non-student) supporters, members of Act Everywhere, Students for a Democratic Society, and others instead chose a less traditional method of protest -- one that allowed them to have a fun night and still make their point.

With little more than some makeup, spaghetti noodles, red-dyed corn syrup, and a boombox, a campus courtyard was instantly transformed into a zombie protest (and a human dance party). Angered that Coulter had come to town to turn brains into mush with her vitriol, a coalition of Milwaukee area zombies issued media releases and attempted to enter the lecture to protest this waste of (perfectly good, delicious) brains.

The action did not disrupt Coulter's hate speech. Nor did it convince any Coulter supporters to embrace progressive values. Both are worthwhile goals in general, but they were deemed impossible in this case.

What the event did accomplish was a hilarious and bizarre disruption of the lecture's news coverage. Some media sources included comments from zombie spokespersons ("Coulter destroys brains with her awful racist rhetoric," "She has diminished people's brains into...a goo," etc.). Even better, other outlets included visual imagery without explanation, forcing the viewing public to make their own sense of the alternating zombie and lecture footage.

Posted by Dawson Barrett on