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Thursday Watercooler


Rev Billy

Rev. Billy faces jail time.

Today’s video is a TED Talk from Kat Lazo, creator of TheeKatsMeow YouTube channel, at TedXNavesink. She describes growing up without access to feminism or even knowledge of the word — only to discover it through social media and blogs. The Internet ‘was her Feminine Mystique.’

I usually focus on pleasant news in the Watercooler but this concerns a sometime Firedoglake poster — Rev. Billy Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping might face jail time for his latest performance, involving a choir of tree frogs in a Chase bank. Grist reports this is somehow being considered a riot:

A little over a month ago, the Reverend Billy was arrested on a New York subway platform. This was a little unusual, but not very. The Reverend, a performance artist and activist named Bill Talen, had just been singing, dancing, and preaching into a megaphone inside of a Chase branch in midtown Manhattan, about how the bank’s investment practices were contributing to climate change. He was accompanied by a group of performers dressed like the golden frog of Central America [PDF], one of the first known species to become extinct as the direct result of climate change.

Reverend Billy has been arrested, he estimates, at least 75 times since 1999, when the Reverend first appeared in front of the recently opened Disney Store in Times Square in a white leisure suit and clerical collar. Since then, he’s used the persona of the televangelist to stage theatrical protests about the influence of corporations on American life. In recent years, Talen and the 50-odd performers that now make up the core of the Church of Stop Shopping have focused on the role that corporations play in climate change and species extinction.

‘I’m not getting better at jail as I get older,’ Talen wrote the day of his release from the Tombs, ‘It’s awful.’ But, he continued, he was glad to be back in Brooklyn. Then, Talen got news that he wasn’t expecting. The City of New York was charging Talen and choir director Nehemiah Luckett with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct for the Chase protest. The pair faces up to a year in prison. Their trial begins on Dec. 9.

What’s on your mind? Got questions? The watercooler is an open conversation.
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Photo by CODEPINK Women For Peace released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and