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Barry Crimmins

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political satirist Barry Crimmins

Barry Crimmins Appears on The Keith Olbermann Show on MSNBC! Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Barry Crimmins Appears on The Keith Olbermann Show on MSNBC

OLBERMANN:  The evolution of political protest in this country might be summarized by a story from my alma mater.  In 1969, a group of students carrying submachine guns took over a main campus building at Cornell University, protesting racism, fascism, and the war in Vietnam.

In 1979, another group of students took over a main campus building demanding that they be given extensions on their own student loans.

Our number one story in the countdown, the protesters aint what they used to be, but the city of New Yorks plans to try to kill them with kindness marks some kind new high and low.  Be a nice little protester and well give you free Pokemon stuff.

When the Republicans convene 12 days hence, the city of New York will hand out these peaceful political activist buttons which entitle the bearer to discount tickets to the Broadway show Mama Mia and also that Pokemon store, and something at Applebees and the Museum of Sex.  As the mayor said, its no fun to protest on an  empty stomach.

And if the protesters get caught up in seeing the sights and they  forget to light a few trash cans on fire, well so be it.  Bad protesters get their buttons removed.

There is some hope for the protests.  As the mayor announced his plan, four women were arrested outside for trying to hang a 40 foot long protest banner out their hotel window.  Once theyre bailed out, of course, they can go to the Manneys Spoonbread or the Whitney Museum, but preferably not consecutively and not in that order.

Political satirist and Air America radio commentator Barry  Crimmins joins us now from New York.  His book, Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal due out next week.

Barry, good evening.

BARRY CRIMMINS, POLITICAL SATIRIST:  Thank you for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Have we come to this?  At long last, have we no shame? Are we now simply a country full of political protesters who can be bribed by $5 off admission to the Museum of Sex?

CRIMMINS:  Well, it doesnt even make sense who theyre bribing.  Theyre bribing a bunch of peace activists to be peaceful.  Its like giving somebody a deal on a hot dog at Yankee Stadium to root for Derek Jeter.  You know, in the meantime, youll have the Republicans at Madison Square Garden planning the next war.  And nobodys trying to bribe them to be peaceful.

OLBERMANN:  Its probable, though, isnt it, that some people will go along  with this, perhaps not part of the organized groups, and/or some of the stronger groups, and think that theyre actually protesting just because they have the button that says theyre protesters?

CRIMMINS:  Yes, I guess.  I mean, thats justI dont know. I mean, well first off, whosyoure going to come to New York.  Youre going to go to a big protest.  And what are you going to do? OK, but then lets hurry up and end the protest because we got to get to Applebees before it closes.

OLBERMANN:  To get the New York flavor.

CRIMMINS:  Yes, the real New York feel of things.  Were going to Applebees.  Thats the one place you want to cause a conflict.  Thats the one place youll find people from the Republican  convention, Applebees.  Come on.  People from Kansas.  Hey, this isnt the same.  Ours is in the middle of a big parking lot.

OLBERMANN:  Is there one most ridiculous part of this whole thing?  I mean, theres alsoIve left off two things here.  They can get free office products at Krols Stationers.  And theres also, if you protest within the rules, theres a free mug from the Gotham Comedy Club.

CRIMMINS:  Well, you know, thats great.  You know, thenand Im sure that the mug-throwing violent incident will mar.  I mean I got to tell you, I havent been to the Gotham Comedy Club, but Im guessing if I went there and they gave me a mug it would get hurled.

OLBERMANN:  Or perhaps it might get, you know, could get hurled by spectators, who have been known to do that periodically.

CRIMMINS:  Absolutely.

OLBERMANN:  But suddenly, I like this image.  What if everybody just threw these pins?


OLBERMANN:  You know?

CRIMMINS:  They had given them all sharp objects.  Actually, its not that good of an idea.  But yes, the whole thingthe  designated protest thing always annoyed me anyway.  Its like no, when Im upset, I tell you where to go.  You know, I just dont understand that.  And Bloomberg, I guess, is just trying to buy a bunch of protesters the way he bought the mayors office.

OLBERMANN:  Well, were not, I just want to make clear, were not advocating the violent overthrow of the government, just its  discomfort.

CRIMMINS:  Thatsyou know, protest, protest...

OLBERMANN:  Protest.

CRIMMINS:  ...and  peaceful protest.  But I mean, the vast majority of these people thatll be here are opposed to the war, for instance.  And I dont think theyre necessarilyyou know what?  If we want to try to bribe someone to keep the  protest down, maybe we could try theoh, I guess thats been done, though.

OLBERMANN:  Uh-oh  Barry, Im out of time.  Barry Crimmins, political satirist, Air America, on air American air guy, many thanks.

CRIMMINS:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Thats COUNTDOWN.  Thanks for being part of it.  Im Keith Olbermann.  You all get free discounts toI  dont know something.  Good night.  Good luck.  


updated: 15 years ago