Those 9/11 conspiracy theorists may be annoying, but they're darn good at getting people's attention. At this point I've seen them all over the place --- on TV, heckling Bill Maher or Stephen Colbert, or picketing really random events. The first time I visited the World Trade Center site, there was a huge phalanx of them chanting and yelling incomprehensible slogans from across the street. I've always resented them for using a tragedy to advance their own agenda, and I've never much patience for unnecessary yelling.
But their online video awareness campaign is also perversely fun to watch. And now they've posted a weirdly fascinating and tremendously awkward video of themselves harassing David Frum at an LA book fair. Frum, the notorious conservative, recently blogged about the experience in the National Review, and thanks to Youtube (and Radar) the video has made its way online. It's a excruciating to watch Frum squirm (and, it should be noted, yell out expletives) as the heckler stands near his book signing table and starts spewing jargon.
Frum is a journalist, and a former foreign policy advisor to the Rudy Giuliani campaign who's recently accused conservative opponents of the Iraq war of being outdated "paleoconservatives," and, as a speechwriter for the Bush administration, allegedly coined the term "Axis of evil." He's not the kind of guy that usually garners much sympathy from me. But watching the video, I almost want to feel sorry for him.
Radar recently had a great article about the group responsible for video, a small organization called We Are Change. It's the brainchild of a 20-year-old from Brooklyn, and it's got a surprisingly small membership (500) given their extensive cultural presence. The piece also delves into the bizarre story behind the group's founding and its gradual ascent to media visibility -- using videotaped stunts to publicize their cause. Even though their message is mildly unhinged, to say the least, other groups may want to take a look at what's made their publicity strategy so successful.