Under Where?

In Salt Lake City there was recently an Undie Run, where participants ran a mile and a half in nothing but their undies. The creator of the run said it was a form of protest, to “express [his] frustrations that Utah is an uptight state.”

Can I point out that this is simply idiotic? Here is why:

When I think of protests, I think of protesting a specific thing. Civil rights, suffrage, governmental injustices. Things of that merit. To protest something as vague as a state being uptight…. It seems like we’ve lost something there. I would like to see what these undie runners specifically thought was uptight. Then maybe it would be a more worthwhile protest.

One must also consider the method of protest. I can think of maybe one associate of mine in the uptight state of Utah who would find an undie run offensive.  Most everyone else would find it funny, pointless, or both. But to most people it would hardly even register as a protest, but rather something silly a group of people felt like doing, especially since most people today wear swimwear that is of similar shape and style. It is no longer shocking.

Let’s look at other forms of protest that really caught people’s attention: marches, sit-ins, food strikes, letters of protest, the works. Those forms of protest catch the public’s attention because they have worked in the past. They catch attention because they let people know that the cause is serious, that people really mean to make change.

I have been ruminating of late on differences between my generation and that of the 1960’s. I don’t recall how my train of thought was started, but it has been on my mind for a few months.

I compare two popular culture icons, one from each generation: Bob Dylan and The Office, the only similarity between the two being their status as pop culture icons. I have recently discovered I love The Office. But Bob Dylan is just so far beyond anything The Office can do it’s silly to even put them in the same paragraph together.

I expressed my thoughts to my mother saying, “They’ve got Bob Dylan. We’ve got The Office.” There is a note of exasperation in my tone. She asked, “What about the eighties?” Well, they’ve got Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Which, by the way, is also superior to The Office.)

The point is, this recent underwear protest has added to my rumination of the difference between my generation and those past. Now, my remark to my mother might be, “They’ve got Civil Rights. We’ve got… underwear?”

Another point is, Utah is awesome. Not perfect. And it is no secret that it is a conservative state. However, it is not the only conservative state in the Union. And without a balance of conservative and liberal… it’s just bad.

Utah is not perfect. No question. I am very, very often annoyed by the politics within the state. But to say that Utah is uptight, besides being horrendously ambiguous, reflects a lack of observation.

Utah has some of the best landscape in the world. Utah is home to multiple sub-cultures.Utah has incredibly delicious food in many, many restaurants. Utah has a blossoming art and local music scene. A great many of the buildings have been going green for decades. The general population is kind and compassionate. Utah has the unique opportunity to be home to BYU (ultra-conservative) as well as the U (pretty liberal). I’d say we have a lot going for us in Utah.

Here is an experience that reiterates some of Utah’s greatness:

I was in New York City a few years ago. I was only there for a weekend and I loved it! But I happened to be there on garbage day and the few days leading up to it. In New York City, when garbage day is closing in, the sidewalks are piled high with rotting garbage. Ick. Try holding your breath for an entire block or two. Salt Lake, by comparison, is never like that. It is quite a clean city.

My major points are these: if you are going to protest something, be specific.  Ambiguity is not your friend. And find a method that actually says something. Also, just look around at what is there that is great. Then, go protest. You will find real things to protest, as this world is ever evolving. But look at what is good before making claims of uptightness. Be specific. Find something real.

One thought on “Under Where?

  1. I recall a man once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and the organizers of this event adopted this quote for the general protest premise. All who participated were expected to express what they’d like to see change within the state on their bodies, whether it be gay rights, loosen of alcohol and other drug laws, etc. I won’t argue for the effectiveness of such protest, but I would like it to be known that it wasn’t simply a protest against “uptightness.” Establishing a specific protest would have been constrictive. Those who participate, regardless of their investment with the protest, most likely noticed how little the protest aspect mattered to most of the undie-runners. Most were there simply to have a good time, to have some good undie-running fun.

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