We heard them at night from our hotel room at Copley Plaza, and if we pressed our faces against the window, we could see that they were carrying signs while heading down the relatively quiet Boston streets. Having lived so long in Las Vegas, the site of a protest march seemed unusual.
And so when the Culinary Union shut down the Strip last week with protesters sitting on the famously decorated Boulevard, it seemed the union was doing it wrong, that in the day of memes and dancing flash mobs, it might take more than adults blocking traffic to draw attention to their cause. After all, protesters camped on Wall Street for Occupy and others danced to the “Macarena” in New York’s Times Square to bring attention to violence against women. A year ago, Pussy Riot was all anyone could talk about.
But, as it turned out, in a town built on glamour, corporate one-upmanship and screaming LED screens, all it took for hundreds of news outlets, minor and major, to pay attention to workers wanting the Cosmopolitan to unionize was the act of protesters quietly sitting down, piercing the hubris of the artificial spectacle.