Informal Denver bloggers convention

Incognito bloggers at Churchill Trial

Academic Press stringerDENVER- Blog wonks filled the courtroom today to witness the closing arguments of Freedom of Speech on trial. The twin Rocky Mountain News fiends were on hand, as were plenty of their blogosphere stringers. Can you help us put names to some of these faces? Confidential emails to editor@notmytribe will serve just fine. We have a most benevolent motive to shed light on nocturnal anti-socials.

Isn’t it awkward, that those in support of Ward Churchill, to draw the battle lines in terms of this trial, have no qualms being represented publically, but those opposed, even as they think themselves to represent the mainstream, are fiercely protective of their anonymity? How weirdly weak of them.

Alright, it didn’t begin innocently. During the first courtroom break today, I was aiming my camera at the video media grotto, because my earlier photo had been taken with a cellphone, but also so that I might have a pretense to shoot wide and grab an image or two of some heretofore faceless note-takers, when a woman in the vicinity strode over to ask that I not take her picture.

I noted that I was sure her back had been turned, if even she was in the frame, but it mattered not, and she insisted that I show her the picture and then delete it in her presence. I acquiesced reluctantly, only because I had better things to do than argue with a “lawyer” about what right she had to ask me to do anything. But it didn’t end there. When I moved to intercept a friend with whom I urgently needed to speak before the break was over, the woman followed me, insisting that I prove that I hadn’t other exposures in which she was featured. She wouldn’t stop interrupting until I had found others, and deleted them, after which she walked away, her head turned back, facing me with a mock smile and wave, as if to verify that I wasn’t trying to take another picture of her back.

I thought the strange episode was over, until I reentered the courtroom to see the woman point me out to a companion, both of them seated in the front row reserved for the press, from which they alternated giving me cold stares and taking snapshots with a cellphone. WTF? At the finish of that session, the woman approached me again, wanting to apologize for the rude tact she’s taken. I accepted, but it seemed she also wanted to explain.

I had pressing contacts to pursue, but she followed me again, and grew vocally agitated anew, this time that I would not stop to hear her story. By the time we exited the courtroom, her harangue had grown embarrassing. I no longer had her image on my camera, she knew that, what claim did she have to detain me a moment further and impede what little courtroom social time remained?

When I finally turned, I had my camera in hand and began to take flash pictures as I asked her to please leave me alone. Instead she and her friend closed in, trying to block my lens, yelling until you could call it a melee and others were taking our picture, and Ward Churchill was emerging from the courtroom on the sidelines.

Ward Churchill trial

Now I had plenty of head shots, and shouted explanations –coordinated between the two friends– that the original objection was due to her sensitivity about her fat butt, and a fresh request that I show sympathy for her awful complexion. In the light of the crowd’s scrutiny I was able to walk away, but next they sought out the courtroom officer to request that I surrender my photographs. He wasn’t unprincipled enough to assert that I was obligated to do that, and he was satisfied that I wield my camera with more discretion lest I accidentally record an image of a juror, giving cause for a retrial. I accepted his advice, but the two shrews kept up their complaining to him until we left the courthouse for lunch.

her aggressive friendAfter lunch the strange woman kept to the media circles. I’d noticed a lanyard about her neck, but whatever ID hung upon it she’d stuffed into a front pocket, perhaps to conceal an identity, perhaps to pretend it was a press pass. Later in the courtroom I noticed her again, this time beyond the audience area, across the banister, chatting with two courtroom workers.

I’ve no idea her story. Does it strike you odd? Why would anyone presume their photograph was going to end up online. Now, with ample cause, in response to harassment.

2 thoughts on “Informal Denver bloggers convention

  1. Did that woman have the misconception that the only way that others could see her butt was via photography? LOL!

  2. I’m the guy in the black cowboy hat behind the guy in the skull shirt.

    I’ve been a Churchill supporter since the Hamilton College flap.

    I’ve read …Chickens…, and Hannah Arendt, and I clearly understand Ward’s “little Eichmann” reference.

    I don’t know anyone else in the pictures.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *