Regarding the disruption of Julius Caesar on Broadway by right-wingers Laura Loomer and Jack Posobiec: I don’t agree with what they did. (They objected to the fact that the play “had been politically altered to feature the assassination of U.S. President Donald Trump.”) I think the disruption was silly and immature. But the reaction of some people–even people I normally agree with–has me shaking my head.
Point one: Loomer and Posobiec performed their act in front of what had to be a hostile crowd, unlike SJWs who interrupt speakers in universities, speakers who are the unpopular (and therefore more vulnerable) individuals.
Point two: They had no weapons other than themselves and their voices. Compare this to the violent eruptions happening on campuses everywhere. (Berkeley, for example.)
Point three: What they did was disruptive, obviously, but it wasn’t dangerous in any way, making it difficult for me to understand the hysteria.
Point four: I was asked by someone who disagreed with me how I would feel if I were interrupted by protesters. Here’s my answer:
1) Days after the Columbine shooting, a young man dressed in a black trench coat walked into my classroom (in an isolated annex of my college). He stood in front of the class and laughed maniacally for 30 seconds before running off. That was disturbing, given the direct connection his clothing made to the tragedy.
2) I experienced a school shooting in 2006. I was not near the action, but evacuated a classroom and was outside on the crowded grounds of the college when shots were fired. I witnessed what can only be described as massive pandemonium, a situation that could have easily triggered a stampede. It was prevented only because it was hard to tell where the shots were coming from–no one knew where to run.
3) A few years ago, student protesters in Montreal were disrupting classes wearing black balaclavas, demanding that their universities cede to their demands. The balaclavas were frightening to students living in Montreal, a city that has seen three school shootings since the early 90s. Apart from regular, working Montrealers, whose children were affected and whose commutes were disrupted by students clogging highway ramps, very few people condemned these tactics (although I did so on this blog).
So yes, in conclusion, I do think I could handle a public disruption. However, what I object to, where Loomer and Posobiec are concerned, is the hysteria around their non-threatening behaviour. What they did was simply silly, and to put it into the same category as Berkeley or other protests seems to me a gross and deliberate overstatement.
Besides, the disruption will generate free publicity for the company mounting the play. I wonder if we’ll hear complaints about that?