Are your loved ones suffering from protest withdrawal? Try these thoughtful gifts.
The Battle for Seattle's smoke has cleared, helicopters no longer hover over your apartment building, your tears have stopped running, and, darn it, you're bored. You find yourself pining away for the glory days of sign-carrying and rubber bullet- ducking. Of course, your street action had little to do with the WTO, let alone corporate fat cats or the cops. You only wanted to have fun. As you said: "I'm sorry, officer, but the newspaper box just looked like it belonged in Washington Mutual's front window." And you know what? The cops, the fat cats, and the WTO don't blame you. In a capitalist society the consumer is supposed to have fun—so long as somebody is making money. And to prove there's no hard feelings, the folks in the retail shops you defaced are offering some new products that'll insure you never forget the good ol' WTO days:
DIY PROTEST KIT ($49.99): Fun for the whole free-thinking family! Get little Bobby brainstorming on that "Death to the WTO" sign with the black, brown, blood red, war green, or sabotage blue permanent markers (orange, yellow, and pink don't show up well on television cameras). Susie Anne will have a blast assembling the four-foot-tall skeleton puppet, the bulletproof sea turtle outfit, or the inflatable pig with dollar signs for eyes. Meanwhile, tell hubby to slap some paint on that 12-foot-wide banner (hunched-over Third World worker, bloody anvil, and dead dolphin stencils included). You can work on sorting the colored bandannas (grass green for granola protests, midnight black for angry marches), bottled water, and bags of trail mix while you nurse baby Ch鮠Available at: Restoration Hardware.
"EVERYBODY IN CAMOUFLAGE" ($8.99-$39.50): Like myself, you're probably already bored to tears (pun intended) with the Gap's "Everybody in Gas Masks" and "Everybody Walk Don't Run" campaigns. (How many times can you watch that choreographed commercial with the Gap supermodels strutting their stuff to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It"?) This new campaign's more tasteful and translates well into an array of camouflage V-neck sweaters, khakis, socks, and even underwear. Available at: the Gap. NOTE: For cheap camouflage vests go to Old Navy; for camouflage cashmere sweaters go to Banana Republic. For you higher-brow shoppers, Joan and David is offering an elegant and oh-so-subtle camouflage silk slip, perfect for those Four Seasons cocktail parties with Third World-country delegates.
STARBUCKS' INDESTRUCTIBLE KITCHEN GEAR ($5.99-$49.99): The situation: Some crazy girl wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a bandanna covering her mouth breaks into your home and begins screaming expletives against corporate America as she chucks your toaster oven out the window. What to buy for such a scenario? A rubber-coated toaster, of course. Complete with the Starbucks mermaid logo, this white and green invincible machine will happily bounce down any street (Pine or otherwise) without a scratch—or coming to ruin in the rain. Other kitchen gear includes rubber bags to protect those Colombian-roast coffee beans, rubber coffee mugs, rubber bowls, and rubber more. Only available at: Starbucks, but Seattle's Best Coffee is hot on their heels.
CAPITOL HILL LIFE ACCESSORIES ($1.99-$89.50): Oftentimes eclectic, eccentric, artistic, or downright freaky, Capitol Hill folks are a particular lot with particular needs. And Capitol Hill merchants now understand that patchouli-scented kitty litter, diet chocolate soda, and boxed Indian lentils are no longer enough for the hip Hillsters. That's why you'll find the shelves of this neighborhood's stores stocked with air traffic-proof ear plugs, mace for that unwanted storm trooper who comes crashing through the living room window, gas masks (ranging from China White to Lavender and only available in Norm Stamper Gas Mask-Approved Zones on Norm Stamper Gas Mask-Approved Days), water balloons, and tacks large enough to puncture the tire of any Washington State Patrol car. Available at: Fred Meyer, Quality Food Center.
"WTO DAYS: THE ALBUM" ($13.99): As you listen to David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," you can muse upon meeting Yanovich, your very own black-eyed Eastern-European version of a prince, during a sit-in that blossomed into a beautiful long-distance relationship. Thanks to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "My Posse's on Broadway," you'll never forget Candy and Doris, those zany drag queens who flung burning bras into the bonfire outside Seattle Central Community College. You'll say "son-of-a-gun" whenever you hear Weird Al Yankovic's "Smells Like Eugene Spirit," and recall the black-clad anarchist who ruined your brand new Minolta with a coat of red spray paint. Other tracks to rally around: Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," Eddie Vedder's take on "The Unknown Soldier," and Murder City Devils' hip-hop-meets-rawk interpretation of "The Roof Is on Fire." Available at: Pottery Barn, amazon.com.
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE ($.75): These pictures are screaming for a personal word or two. Some ideas: "Nobody's perfect" for the shot of the Nike-wearing terrorist scrawling the "F-word" on NikeTown's front door; "Wish you were here" for the picture of a lonely Bill Clinton breaking stale focaccia bread with two frazzled delegates in the otherwise empty dining room of the Westin Hotel; "Go Mariners!" for the shot of a protester lobbing a tear gas canister over a National Guard wall; "Sleepless in Seattle" for the photo of a riot patrol-pursued man jogging past the post-curfew Pike Place Market. Available at: the Space Needle, Sea-Tac Airport, various non-boarded-up drugstores.