Saturday, February 26, 2011

Special for Russian speakers...

A kindred spirit is Mr. Freeman.


In 2013 Viktor pelevin published a novel called Batman Apollo in which the main character walks down the streets of Moscow wearing a T-shirt that says: "OCCUPY PUSSY" — a reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the performance by the activist group Pussy Riot in the Church of Christ Our Savior in Moscow.

In the book the main character describes the reaction to the message on his T-shirt:

"Я знал, что люди реагируют не на мое действительное высказывание — оно вряд ли было доступно их суетливым умам, — а на свои собственные проекции, которые они только и способны узнавать во внешнем мире. Они хлопают лишь себе. Им не нужен никто другой. Они даже не знают, что другое бывает."


"I knew that people react not to my actual statement — it's hardly possible it registered with their busy minds, — but to their own projections which they can only recognize in the outer world. They applaud only themselves. They don't need anyone else. They don't even know that anything else exists."

This was one of the intended meanings of the sign: YOUR THOUGHTS REFLECTED HERE.

This blogger's signs outdone in meta-cleverness

Spotted here: a photo of a telephone pole with the words: "Have you seen this pole" posted on a telephone pole; and underneath it a picture of the pole with the photo with the words: "Have you seen this sign?"

Friday, February 25, 2011


Message on sign:


February 24, 2011

Reactions and discussions:

- most said the sign was not anti-semitic

- one Jewish guy who appeared to be very high on something said the sign could be considered anti-semitic because the white background of the letters was whiter than the complexion of semites; he said the sign should be more "ethnic-colored" not to be considered anti-semitic.

- one Jewish guy who did not find the sign anti-semitic asked what the purpose of the sign was. I suggested that, because Jews are sometimes said to see anti-semitic attacks in the most innocuous of statements, the sign presented them with a golden opportunity to prove the accusations of paranoia wrong by ignoring it.

- one bisexual Jewish woman said the sign itself was not anti-semitic but that it was disturbing, in a way she said she couldn't explain, that a non-Jew had made the sign. She said, in relation to my "I AM NOT GAY" sign, that it would be disturbing in the same hard-to-explain way if a non-gay person were to make a sign saying "I AM GAY" because only the people directly affected by such issues should speak out in such a way.

- one guy who meditates and is interested in yoga and Buddhism said he did not consider the sign anti-semitic. He said someone who did would probably be placing too much weight on the self.

- one guy asked whether an equally valid sign might be: "IS THIS SIGN RACIST?" or "IS THIS SIGN ANTI-BLACK?", perhaps written with white letters on a black background

- one guy burst out laughing when he saw the sign

- one guy asked if the sign was a statement. I told him no, it was a question.

- two guys walking by stopped when they saw the sign. They conferred with each other and then one took out a camera and surreptitiously took a picture of the sign while pretending to be photographing other things on the Quad. I didn't let on that I noticed.

- one guy suggested coming back the next day with a sign saying: "THIS SIGN IS NOT ANTI-SEMITIC" with the letters "S" stylized to look like Nazi SS letters. The idea would be to help people to see that the signifier is not the signified, that a symbol need not in and of itself carry any intrinsic meaning.

For a discussion of this sign on, see here.


On March 24th I submitted the question: "IS THIS QUESTION ANTI-SEMITIC?" for inclusion in an exhibition called "Are We There Yet?" which celebrates "5000 years of answering questions with questions" to be held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, March 31-July 31, 2011. You can propose your own question here.

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 24.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Message on sign:

February 22 - February 23, 2011

- some people came up to ask what the sign meant because they did not understand the historical reference

- some interpreted the sign to mean that we should feel ourselves fortunate that we do not have to remain silent whereas in Hitler's Germany universities had no choice

- a woman passing by clapped four times and smiled at me; one guy gave me the thumbs up while walking by

- a guy passing by read the sign aloud mockingly in a faux grave tone of voice

- a guy walking by said to his friends: "Wait, this guy's the most silent..." (I assume referring to the fact that I do not address anyone who does not first address me)

- one guy said: "You of course know that there's a law on the internet that says that as soon as Hitler or the Nazis are brought up in any discussion, that's the end of rational discourse."

- one guy said: "Hey, man. I'm not quite sure what you're doing, bro. But keep doing it."

Discussions of the Hitler era vs. today:

- "The US is not Hitler's Germany because there's no Holocaust going on."
"That's what one assumes and hopes is true, but the world--and the vast majority of Germans themselves--did not learn of the Holocaust until after the end of the war."

- "Any of the groups in the US that are fascist are at the fringes and thus pose no real threat."
"The Nazi party was also on the fringes of politics. Hitler came to power without his party ever winning a majority in any election."

- "In Nazi Germany people's freedoms were taken away; here we have our civil rights."
"Among the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights is the right to be secure in one's person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and this right has been abrogated by the Patriot Act; your house can now be searched without a warrant, without consent and without the knowledge of the person whose house is searched. People in the US charged with 'terrorism', including US citizens, have been placed into military prisons, have not been allowed access to family or representation of an attorney and can be held incommunicado as long as the government deems it necessary."

- "In Hitler's Germany people at universities had no choice but to remain silent because otherwise they would have been killed or arrested."
"Before Hitler was appointed Chancellor and before he had had time to install himself dictator of a police state, academics and students at universities failed to speak out in any significant numbers against the injustices and extremist rhetoric of the Nazi party."

- "Why did professors and academics at German universities remain silent?"
"Perhaps they as professional educators felt it should be the students themselves who should make such judgments and they therefore wanted to remain neutral."
"Perhaps they liked the status quo."
"Maybe they were afraid."

- "Why do students on campus today not engage in more activism? The most activism I've seen is people standing with signs advertising 'The Vagina Monologues' next to groups of visiting school children."
"Hitler correctly understood that to take over a country you first have to control the students. Here the media tells us that each of us is a beautifully unique snowflake and that if we each work hard we'll all become millionaires, which is not borne out by statistics. But it keeps us divided and incapable of coming together."

- "If they raise tuition in Europe thousands of students come out in protest. Here you get a measly 200 to go to Olympia or a pathetic bunch of 100 on Red Square, half of whom are student government members themselves."
"Maybe students don't come together here because they are so diverse ethnically and religiously, but then again in Europe you have a very diverse group of students too."

In a curious bit of synchronicity, the LaRouche people on the first day had a table set up in front of the University Book Store with their literature and with posters of Obama with a Hitler mustache drawn on:

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 22-23.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Signs Seen in Baltimore and Other Sign Ideas

There are reports of random signs being posted in Baltimore. They are here:

Recent homemade signs on telephone poles in my town:

"Smiling is not cost-effective."
"To create profit you must create problems."
"Statistically speaking, the person you are with is either a terrorist or has an STD."
"This could have been the best day of your life." [This idea made an impression on this person.]
"Trust no one...[...]...we know what's best for you."
"Is this all there is for you?"

It's one guy with a printer, and no explanation given. Been going on for a couple of months now.

Later posters on the same page list signs they thought might be interesting:

"I was bored so i made a sign"
"This is a sign"
"Here's your sign"
"This is my hobby"
"This is a statement, can you guess what it is?"


"Could you be doing something more worthwhile?"
"Be where you are."
"Did you forget something?"


"Money is a loaded subject"
"Just another lone wolf"


"What are you looking at?"


"The World Ended Two Days Ago. --Don't Ask."

And a student at UW came up with ideas for signs she wants to stand out on the Quad with herself...

"You are good enough"
"We all have secrets"

Love Police

There are some men in London who stand in public places with megaphones and remind people they are free and unique and call upon them to wake up to the mindless consumerism and paranoia with regard to terrorism and swine flu being imposed on them by the control system.

Their message is an exclusively positive one and is delivered with humor. To demonstrate their acceptance of people as people, regardless of their societal function, they hug security guards. My guess is they would be charged with assault if they tried to hug a police officer in America. It is pleasant to see how courteous the London police are to them.

Here is the video. The first two minutes of it are boring.

Here is a transcript of what is said:

[London, England]

TV NEWS COMMENTATOR: It’s the biggest counter-terrorism operation in almost two years. Twelve men have been arrested, though I understand one could be released soon. Where yesterday there were dramatic armed raids, today there were meticulous searches. As a small army of senior crime officers set to work in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe in Lancashire. Once again, intelligence had suggested terrorists had been planning an attack on Britain. One source close to the investigation told me they feared it was very big and would have been very soon.

UNDERGROUND STATION ANNOUNCEMENT: This train is formed of two...Platform 8 for the 22:28 seven service to East...via Lewis....serviced from the ticket area.


BLACK WOMAN: ...we’re having a conversation. End of discussion.

WHITE WOMAN: No, I can say what I want.

BLACK WOMAN: No, that’s what I’m saying. You cannot tell me to go away. What sense does that make?

WHITE WOMAN: Don’t tell me I’m boring then.

BLACK WOMAN: But you are. I’m sorry. This is what I’m trying to say to you.

GORDON BROWN, UK PRIME MINISTER: I think the New World Order is emerging, and with it the foundations of a new and progressive...[April, 2009]






DANNY SHINE: My paperwork?

POLICE OFFICER: Yeah, what are you doing there?

DANNY SHINE: That’s just a sign. A sign. I’ll show you. It’s an arrow, and it’s actually telling you that you have to move to the left

CHARLES VEITCH: Ladies, this is the Love Police. We will be checking you all for smiles in a second.

POLICE OFFICER: I suggest you put the megaphones down and stop protesting, please.

DANNY SHINE: You suggest that I put my megaphone down and stop protesting. I am not protesting. I am just speaking through a megaphone. And what I do is give people like you hugs. All you need is a hug. No, you do need a hug. Who would like me to give him a hug? Say, “Yes.”


DANNY SHINE: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Keep it calm. Keep it calm.

CHARLES VEITCH: Ladies and gentlemen, please lower your adrenaline levels, this is a love and compassion presentation by the Love Police.

CHARLES VEITCH: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a message from the Ministry for Health, Propaganda and Swine Flu Information. Swine flu is incredibly dangerous and it is now transmittable through eye contact or smiling at people. Stay miserable. Keep reading newspapers. Keep watching mainstream media on the TV. You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake. You are a consumer. Go back to sleep. Your government is in control.

DANNY SHINE: Thinking is boring. Thinking is hard work and it’s not worth the energy. So, if you ever get tempted to think for yourself, quickly distract yourself. Buy a newspaper, watch television.

CHARLES VEITCH: I prefer not to think about reality. I like to stay infantile and read about fashionable things and Hollywood and Lindsay Lohan and, uh, her girlfriend who she broke up with because these are the important things.

CHARLES VEITCH: Thank you for choosing to work in a corporate zone, eat corporate food, drink in a corporate bar and invest money in arms trade. You do not need to worry or have an opinion about killing people because the mainstream media is doing it for you. So go back to sleep, earn your nice salary. Everything is fine. You are just a flesh and bone human being, there is nothing more to life. Have another beer and carry on.

DANNY SHINE: Ladies and gentlemen, you do look quite relaxed. This is not what’s meant to be. You should be worried. Statistically speaking, the person next to you is either a terrorist or has swine flu. So please, stop looking so happy and relaxed, and move quickly to your next shopping experience. You are wasting shopping time by standing here, madam.

POLICE OFFICER: OK, have you got any problem with me just taking your details.

CHARLES VEITCH: Yes, I do. I do not wish to give my details.

POLICE OFFICER: You do not wish to give your details.

CHARLES VEITCH: Yeah, I just politely decline.

POLICE OFFICER: You politely decline.

POLICE OFFICER: Just because weve had a chat. You don’t want to give me any of your details.

CHARLES VEITCH: Oh, no, no. It’s a matter of principle. I answer only to the absolute.

POLICE OFFICER: You enjoy, I would say, making a nuisance of yourself.

CHARLES VEITCH: The truth is, to speak out against lies and murder, it fills me with joy, it makes me feel closer to my fellow man. The fact that someone has a bit of sanity to come out here and just cut through the B.S. It just makes me feel really alive to have no fear, to be full of love, to spread my message, which I believe is a message of good.

DANNY SHINE: You are not divine beings. What you are, are consumers. Please, consume, consume, consume until we have no planet left to consume. What you need to do is buy things that you don’t need. That’s the best way to support the economy. Smiling is bad for the economy. Please do not smile. Sir, wipe that off your face.

CHARLES VEITCH: We feel that, in the very near future, the state—as in the government and the private banks which run the state—are going to ask you guys, normal human beings who are normal family people outside of uniform, to control us. They’re going to use slaves to control other slaves. Because we’re all slaves in the livestock management program.

CHARLES VEITCH: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a lesson in absolute reality. What we have here is a group of people giving you an alternate message, and very quickly Agent Smith and Agent Smith of the Matrix have decided to turn up in nice fluorescent jackets and question what we are doing. They were questioning how long we wish to be here, who is in charge, and what our purpose is. Until we break the law, they have no authority over us, nor you. You are free. You were born free. You will die free. And there is no...authority on this Earth. Power to the people.

CHARLES VEITCH: Swine flu is an illusion. Terrorism is an illusion. If you are not scared, you will not contract swine flu. You are not swine, you are divine human beings.

CHARLES VEITCH: No, we’re not going to get in the van. You’re not going to kidnap us, no. No, we’re not going to get in the van. We’ve not broken...

POLICE OFFICER: Get over to it.

CHARLES VEITCH: No, I’m not going to get into it.

DANNY SHINE: This is nothing personal, and I’m going to show you how much this is nothing personal.

CHARLES VEITCH: Ladies and gentlemen, the true thing is, I know we’re creating a scene, but creating a scene is not illegal. You were born free, you will live free, you will die free. You’re allowed to make a scene, you’re allowed to scream for joy. You’re allowed to complain, you’re allowed to cry. You’re allowed to love people, you’re allowed to hug people. And we’re starting to live in a world where we’re starting to feel scared. We’re starting to forget just how divine and special we are as human beings. Every single one of you is the only example of you that will ever exist, and there’s not s single authority on this world that can tell you how to behave at any time, any place, anywhere. You are free, you will live free, you will die free. The only chains that exist are in your mind. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.

DANNY SHINE: You haven’t been brainwashed and conditioned, have you? No, it’s all the others. You’re not crazy, you’re normal. It’s the man with the megaphone. He’s crazy. So if you see a man with a megaphone in the street, he’s probably an attention seeker. Do not give attention seekers any attention. It just makes them do it more.

CHARLES VEITCH: Thank you all, the city drones, for working for big corporations. Very soon we’ll bring about the corporate dream where every single person dresses the same, looks the same, feels the same, thinks the same, earns the same money. We too can sit at a desk for 10 hours a day giving their minds over to a machine. This is the most fulfilling thing in the world and thank you for not questioning your reality. This is a message from the Ministry for Truth and Propaganda. Thank you for staying as sheep.

DANNY SHINE: We are here to brighten up the day of the police and the security department because, quite honestly, looking out for terrorists must get a bit tedious.

CHARLES VEITCH: Have you ever had to taser anyone yet? Have you tasered anyone yet with your high-powered electric torture weapon? You’d probably like to taser me.

DANNY SHINE: Shopping is what you are here to do. You were born to shop, and you will die to shop. Please, move swiftly to your next shopping experience and don’t hang around here.

CHARLES VEITCH: Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, Al-Qaeda, Mohammed, terrorism, terrorism, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, Tora Bora, Afghanistan, terrorism, stay scared, stay separate. Terror, terror, terror. Terror is bad, you are bad. Go shopping. Stay scared.

DANNY SHINE: She said can I move beyond the pillars because I’m not allowed to do this because it’s private property. So, anyway, ladies and gentlemen, if you think I should be allowed to continue up here with the megaphone, say: “Yeah.”

CROWD: Yeah.

DANNY SHINE: I think you’ve been outnumbered, madam. But let’s wait until the police come along and have some fun.

CHARLES VEITCH: Hello. Hey, it’s from yesterday.

POLICE OFFICER: Good to see you.

CHARLES VEITCH: How are you doing?

DANNY SHINE: Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t noticed, three actors have arrived in costume. They are acting policemen.

POLICE OFFICER: You should actually go down to the bottom of the steps.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview on UW TV

The sign "THIS SIGN WILL NOT BE SHOWN ON TV" has been shown on TV.

There is a segment about me about half-way through The Daily's Double Shot 02/18/2011. Or go here or here to watch only the segment about the signs.

Here are the comments on the interview from youtube:

"It's weird--I don't like strangers."
How profound.
- The Bomb107

not the kevin smith I prefer...
- rendersean

I have an idea for a sign... "I am a bug." I bet that would, somehow, piss a few people off.
- KillYourTeeVee

It's crazy how most people are so cowardly that anyone doing something out of the norm is a "serial killer"
- zendotadaptive

the jar head says kudo's why don't anyone ever give me a kudo...i'm a non kudo getting mother fucker
- roosterjuice420

Wonder why he stopped coming to UW
- lwillbot

That guy makes a good case for a closed campus.
- ErikBarmon

Future serial killer...just sayin...
- Qber4life

Monday, February 14, 2011


Message on sign:

February 14, 2011

Thanks for inspiration for the sign to Vitaly Ivanov.

Other signs on the Quad: a tent was put up advertising

Some people agreed with the sign. Others thought money would be "real" if its value were tied to something like gold. However, they realized that if tomorrow gold were to be declared radioactive, it would would become worthless.

One professor liked the sign and recommended a book he had his students read: Hernando De Soto "The Mystery of Capital".

Notable conversations:

- one guy has gotten a sign ready he plans to go out on the Quad with in the near future which will say: "TELL ME SOMETHING WEIRD". I joked that if he did so I would make a sign saying: "MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO".

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 14.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Message on sign:


February 9, 2011

This sign was in part a result of hearing myself referred to as a "radical."

People's interpretations/discussions of message
- it is an advertisement of myself and implicit request to come up and talk to me
- it is a challenge to people asking them to think about the question posed as well as about things in general
- in a free society such a sign is not radical; but how then to explain why one never sees such signs?
- one person asked: "In what sense 'radical'?; the word "radical" can also mean "fundamental"
Highlights of day and summary:
- many people smiled and laughed silently as they passed
- Austin showed me the edited interview and I approved it for broadcast next Friday

Time: Stood from 10:14am to 4:53pm with a short break

Other signs on the Quad: none

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 9.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Message on sign:
February 7 - February 8, 2011

Thanks for inspiration to Ran Prieur who suggested the sign: "WHAT DOES 'DESERVE' MEAN?"
Other signs on the Quad: none

Monday, February 7 was the day of the "Rally to Restore Funding" designed to rally support and collect signatures to lobby the state legislature not to cut funding for education. I stood with my sign facing the crowd of just over 100 students gathered on Red Square for a few minutes to hear one speaker unconscionably equate their cause to Martin Luther King's appeal to conscience. A female speaker ended the rally by pointing the microphone at the crowd and having it chant back in unison: "Go...GO!...Huskies...HUSKIES!" Write-ups of the rally with photos are here and here. Other signs displayed at the rally included: "WHAT'S A DAWG PACK WITHOUT ITS DAWGZ?" and the particularly cleverly-worded: "BARK".

Reactions to the sign:

Many people seemed to take offense without bothering to come up to ask me what was meant by the sign. One surly man walked by and growled out an indignant "Yes." I suppose those angered by the sign had not been educated enough to realize it was suggesting that they might not deserve the education they mistakenly thought they were getting.

Apparently some assumed the sign implied that students deserve an education and saw it as a call for education funding not to be cut.

Without exception everyone agreed they deserved an education. Some felt that they deserved an education to the extent that they themselves pursued or worked towards it, that is that there was an element of personal responsibility involved and that education should not be seen as an entitlement. No one said there were people who didn't deserve an education, and that if there were people who deserved one who didn't get it, that was due to the fact that simply because something is right doesn't mean it always happens. When asked: "If you deserve an education why do you have to pay for it?" some were at a loss to say why. Others said educators need to be paid for what they do.

Most assumed the word "education" on the sign meant a university education. When asked why they should pay for class lectures they can see for free on the internet, many said that the university gives them discipline. They agreed, without qualms and without irony, that it was in their interest to pay someone to force them to learn. 

One student said: "I think I deserve a better education."

Notable events:

I was able to observe some instances of the spread of the meme of the sign's message:

- a girl walking by called out to her girlfriend walking in the other direction: "Hey, Anna"; "What?"; "You deserve an education"; "Thank you."

- a chalkboard was being carried by three students across the Quad which read: "down with budget cuts. up with education". The students saw my sign and when they carried the chalkboard past in the other direction five minutes later it had been changed to read: "We deserve an education".

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 7-8.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Message on sign:
February 3, 2011
Other signs on the Quad: written in chalk on sidewalk between Red Square and the Quad: "RALLY TO RESTORE FUNDING 2/7 RED SQUARE 12:20" (a planned protest against tuition hikes)


Some people asked if I had memories of other lives and I told them I didn't. We discussed how someone could prove memories of other lives could be shown to be genuine. One person wondered whether such memories could be planted by aliens or some other entity or group.

One guy believes in reincarnation but thinks it's not the same spirit or soul reincarnating in different bodies but a combination of spirits/souls.

We talked about children with knowledge of other places and families that could only be explained by reincarnation.

One girl came up who said she knew me in another life. She promised to come back in a few days to tell me about our other life together but she never did.

Can I assume that everyone who came up to me today knew me in another life but does not have conscious memory of that?

Notable events:
- at least three times today events happened I remember dreaming about several years before

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 3.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Message on sign:
February 2, 2011
Other signs on the Quad: none

Interesting reactions/discussions/events:

Most people disagreed with the sign. Many found it pessimistic or depressing. Some couldn't think of anything in their lives they wish were different. No one said there was anything in their lives that was exactly the way they didn't want it to be.

While I was talking with two guys, two girls came up and one of them handed me a piece of paper with the following text: "If you are wishing for something, therefore it is not the case; therefore 'everything is exactly the way you wish they [sic] weren't' is not logical" and then walked off quickly without giving us a chance to talk to her. One guy took a photo of the text and came back later with his analysis. His conclusion was that if one accepts the initial premise, i.e. If you are wishing for something, therefore it is not the case, then the argument makes sense. Otherwise it is logically fallacious.

One passerby congratulated me on getting my grammar right (i.e. " wish it weren't" vs " wish it wasn't")

I had discussions with two guys about what signs would be unacceptable to display. A Jewish guy said: "Jews burn in ovens" would be unacceptable. If I did stand with such a sign he said he wouldn't want me arrested and he wouldn't inform the administration I was there, but that if I was escorted off campus he would consider that the proper thing to do.

Earlier a girl had said she thought that signs that would be inappropriate would be personal attacks on someone or a sign with the message "UW SUCKS". When I asked why that might offend she said it was because people had already paid their tuition. I asked that, if it were true I could convince her she could get as good an education outside a university without paying tuition, would that be a good thing. She asked me if that was my job. I said it was not but repeated the question. She admitted it would be a good thing--if I could actually convince her.

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 2.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Message on sign:
February 1, 2011
Other signs on the Quad: none

Interpretations/discussions of message

People interpreted the meaning of the sign in different ways:

- it is a homophobic attack on gays

- I am being defensive, countering accusations I am gay

- it means just what it says, that I am not gay

- I just want attention

Surprisingly no one thought the sign might be a desperate attempt on my part to repress homosexual tendencies in myself.

A man from Saudi Arabia thought I might be looking for a job or for a girlfriend. He said that in Saudi Arabia men and women get around the prohibition on pre-marital romantic relationships, the penalty for which can be death, by taking out want ads in the newspaper or putting up "Apartment for Rent" signs and indicating their phone number.

I made the point that the sign is less about sexuality and more about pointing out limitations of public discourse. Most agreed that if the sign read "I am gay", no one would have found that offensive or controversial. One man said in Seattle you could have a sign "I am not heterosexual" or even "I am heterophobic" and not generate controversy. 

Two women found the sign offensive and homophobic and said it was "creating an unsafe environment for gays" and that I was "playing with people's emotions." When I asked, "Doesn't the media play with people's emotions every day?" they replied, "Well, congratulations for adding to that." The difference, however, between me and the media is that I stand by--literally--what I say and can be approached and questioned and criticized, whereas the media allows no such feedback and rests complacent in its immunity from criticism.

One gay man said the sign did not offend him in the least.


On March 2 a girl came up and told me she had heard I was against gay marriage. Our conversation went approximately like this:
She: I heard you were against gay marriage.
Me: I never spoke to anyone about gay marriage.
She: You have to understand that in this environment when that issue is discussed, when you stand with a sign saying "I AM NOT GAY" people assume that you are against gay marriage.
Me: But I'm standing right here. Anyone who wants to can come up and ask me what I mean.
Her friend: I saw you many times while passing on the Quad but I didn't think that I could go up and ask you something or talk about the signs with you.

There is an interesting discussion of this sign on a reddit thread here.

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, February 1.