February 20, 2003

It's All In The Numbers

I meant to post this yesterday, but better late than never! (Link via Cold Fury)

From Ken Layne

Anyway, the central theme of all protests is, "Look how many of us there are! We've gotta be right!"

So I'm going to be mean now. Here's the sort of "Perspective Buddy" I'd let loose on people who called the newspaper Monday morning, demanding to know why their "Dogs Are People Too" rally at the Glenwood Mall didn't make the front page:

The numbers are always hazy, of course. Organizers say 375,000 protested in New York City. The police say 100,000. Let’s split the difference and say 262,500. In San Francisco, the second-biggest gathering (maybe), organizers say 250,000 and non-organizers say 150,000. Fine: 200,000. Numbers are much smaller for the rest of the country. Some good-sized cities had 500 protesters. Los Angeles had “thousands.” Let’s be generous and say a million people - hell, let’s make it 1.5 million - protested this weekend across the United States. (And maybe 100,000 total marched in favor of action in Iraq, but we’ll leave them out of it for now.)

* Without any publicity at all, about 50 million Americans showed up on Sunday to support the Christian god, Jesus, at church services across the nation.

* An estimated 30 million bought something to eat at McDonald’s. (The global total is 46 million customers per day.)

* Meanwhile, some 6 million showed up to support a blind lawyer superhero - and they paid about $8 each! The Top 12 weekend movies attracted around 15 million paying souls.

* Some 4 million went to the mountains to ski or snowboard.

* More than 200,000 people showed up for the Daytona race on Sunday, despite the rain. (29 million watched it on teevee.)

The car race and the war protest in New York had about the same turnout. I’d say the protest got more news coverage than Daytona, but that’s okay. If nobody went to the car race, that would be big news. If 1.5 million people protest the U.S. position on Iraq, that’s more worthy of coverage than 50 million people going to church, because the latter happens every week. But still, we’re talking about half a percent of the U.S. population - and that’s using the very generous numbers - attending rallies around the country. Impressive, sure, but “Daredevil” beat that by nearly 5 million people.

Or, to be a bit cruel, the protests attracted about as many people this weekend as the movie “Kangaroo Jack.” I’m sorry, but it’s true.

Posted by Ithildin at February 20, 2003 7:23 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE