Friday, February 3, 2017


Chicks Up Front!

In my youth, the blood was up on college campuses. Demonstrations were the routine. The horrible Vietnam War was the usual target but student righteous indignation spilled into subsidiary causes as well. The Russians had a field day infiltrating and influencing colleges and activists.

The typical demonstration was organized from some intense and concerned center, the gravity of enthusiasm and righteousness attracted the well meaning, then those looking for trouble, then the curious and, finally, those looking for girls to meet. Orders were written, meetings set, compromises agreed upon, more meetings and gradually the event was set in motion. The party element of the demonstration was usually maintained as long as the event stayed a march. When it became a confrontation, things got a lot dicier. (The end of this period occurred when the demonstrators ran into a National Guard unit in Ohio that had, for some reason, been issued real bullets in real guns, some 18 year old guards got frightened and shot several students to death.)

Generally these marches, when confronted by formal authority, degenerated to taunting and shouting, as if the law officers had anything to do with what the students were protesting. But one technique was always used; when the group of revolutionary thinkers ran into an obstruction, the call echoed throughout the crowd: "Chicks up front!" This battle tactic rested on the firm belief--later disproved at Kent State--that young women at the head of the demonstration would sooth the savage breast of the law and defuse any potential violence on the law's part, despite the obnoxious behavior of the demonstrators. This would probably be considered sexist and insulting now. It was, however, generally successful. The girls saw themselves as facilitators, calming the situation with their superior social sense and a little saucy sensuality. When the cry "Chicks up front" arose, everyone knew things were about to defuse and get better.

Melania up front!

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