I just walked over in front of the main admin building (Allen) here at Duke.
There is a protest. Students Against Sweatshops is protesting the fact that a subcontractor employs people from a firm that has (allegedly; I am willing to believe it) abused union organizers.
The SAS activists have wrapped parts of the building in aluminum paper. The symbolism? They want to "foil" Duke's complicity in this heinous labor abuse.
The company in question, Angelica's Coporation, is guilty of trying to run a business (laundry) where margins are REALLY thin....what am I trying to say.....foil thin? They have been charged with some safety violations, including (this is from the Duke students' literature) "allowing 200 lb bags of dirty laundry to fall 15 ft onto workers."
1. Does it really matter that the laundry was "dirty"? Or is the idea of actual work so repugnant to the students that the real protest is the fact that anyone has to handle dirty laundry at all?
2. Foil: WTF? I mean, you had all sorts of "Duke's dirty laundry," or union-bashing, to work with. Instead, they wear foil hats and hand out Hershey's kisses (wrapped in foil, doncha know).
3. Billy Joel? When I walked by, Billy Joel's famous nonprotest song, "We Didn't Light the Fire", was playing. Seemed too perfect. Some lyrics, for the "we are so bored, we'll protest anything, just so we feel better ourselves, and even if there is no purpose or impact" generation:
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...
(maybe they got the idea to use the song here?!?)