Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The WTO Rumpus & Belltown

I was walking around yesterday when I came upon 6th & Stewart, the furthest reaches of Belltown. I remembered that for a time, this was the most famous Starbucks in the world:

That's right, this is the one that got looted. Back then, it looked more like this:

So for a moment or two, this obscure corner of Belltown was on the world stage.

For the record, I did try to find photos of the actual retards who did the looting, but for some reason, none were to be found. In case you don't recall the so-called "Battle in Seattle," here's a short, concise summary: Everybody was a dick.

From the cops... the protesters... Bill Clinton... the delegates... the mayor of Seattle:

That's the wuss-tacular Paul Schell there on the right. (Remember him?)

Dicks, all of them.

The main thing I recall from that time (almost 10 years ago) is its intense stupidity. And its dickishness. Most of the heavy action took place in downtown, but there were plenty of folks running around this neighborhood calling for "direct action." All the badness began after the people dressed like sea turtles marched through downtown. Following that, the anarchists - sorry, teenagers from Oregon - did some window smashing and then the air was thick with tear gas. By day three, the cops had either arrested or beaten anyone capable of protesting. Me, I just went to and from work and kept to myself because of all the wholesale dickery going on. I never got caught up in anything, as I always seemed to come upon clashes that had just been broken up; bleeding people on the sidewalk, others in handcuffs and locals like me just blithely walking through it like it happened every day.

The trouble during the WTO conference underscored one thing endemic to Seattle: poor planning. The first day, there were too few cops. The next few days, there were too many. And they really liked swinging their riot clubs. Seattle has always been about bad planning, so why would this occasion be any different?

Well, everybody eventually went home, Paul Schell took the heat for most of the dickishness and the WTO continues on unabated. And for a moment, a Starbucks on the very fringe of Belltown was very famous.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I had totally forgotten which Starbucks was at the center of these momentous events. Such a quiet, nondescript place it is - even for a Starbucks.