The Rally to Restore the Magic Marker

Was it the rally against insanity? The rally to restore fear? The march to keep fear alive? No one was quite sure, but 215,000 people showed up on Saturday—and had a really good time. It was part concert, part giant Halloween party on the National Mall, and part protest. There were lots of witches, Sarah Palins, Darth Vaders, tea bags, and teapots. The weather was good and the sound system was bad. The official signage and merchandise were red, white, and blue with centered, justified, Obama-esque Gotham Bold and Black all-caps with rounded-corner rules and rows of stars. But the vibe of the thousands of signs that people made was decidedly elementary-school art project.

Although the over-50 population was well represented, it was the digital generation’s rally. So many people were tweeting that all the cellular networks went down. You would think that these folks would at least set the type on their computers and upload the files to FedEx Office. But no, no, no. This was a rally defined by the magic marker, poster board, and stencils. Emulating their favorite TV comedians, they did try to be obtuse and funny. Here are some of my low-tech favorites:

Maybe the rally did and will inspire more rational discourse, and more Americans will vote tomorrow. Ross Douthat’s column on the Op-Ed page of today’s New York Times explains very rationally (for a conservative) “How We Got Here.”

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  2. Hi Steve, thanks! Have you ever tried to buy a ticket for the Washington Metro? The instructions on the front of the machines is the worst piece of “infiormation architecture” I’ve ever expeienced. Everyone is confused and stands there for 10 minutes trying to figure out what the fare is, where to put their money, and which button(s) to press to get the ticket. Redesigning this mess would be a great student project.