September 14, 2004

"Protest" Banner

"Vietnam Veterans Protest Kerry," was the headline in today's Washington Times (courtesy of Scott Parker of American U.). That use of protest with an animate object is a bit strange; most people reserve the verb for objects that denote events or states of affairs. But the usage evokes the scene in First Blood, the first and best of the Rambo movies, where Sylvester Stallone famously says:

Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn't let us win! And I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting. Calling me baby killer and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me? Who are they? Unless they've been me and been there and know what the hell they're yelling about!

What are we dealing with here: synchronicity or allusion?

Posted by Geoff Nunberg at September 14, 2004 12:55 AM