We all know the feeling when every-little-tiny-stupid-thing is so annoying, the pressure is through the roof. Let your frustration out—protest against whatever it is that feels like too much to handle! New Yorker Seth, who runs the "Dude With Sign" Instagram account, has objected to all of the mundane everyday problems—from people who say "no offense" before saying something offensive to utterly useless meetings. All you need to make it in the professional peaceful protest league, aka mundane things that stink, is cardboard and a marker.
You've got to learn from the best to succeed in a big game. That’s why a hilarious font of inspiration from the dude's protest posters is waiting here. Also, scroll down below for Bored Panda’s interview with Dovydas Skarolskis, a Vilnius-based connoisseur of the contemporary political and cultural climate, who shared his views on freedom of opinion and what role it has in the Dude With Sign project.
After you’re done, make sure to check out our previous collection of the same goodness. And upvote the protest signs you liked the best!
Dovydas Skarolskis told Bored Panda that freedom of speech is a fundamental part of liberal democracy, which seems like a given to citizens of the free world. “However, there has been a variety of political regimes that restricted both individual’s personal opinions, and one’s ability to form one. The dystopian shadows depicted by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley still haunt us in the 21st century.”
On the other hand, living in a society is already a restriction. Dovydas explains: “I can’t just arrive naked at the shopping mall just because I want to. There are many public norms, cultural traditions, laws, and many other social institutions that repress our behavior.” It explains why so much freedom lurks on the internet. "The internet is a liberating tool, and millions of anonymous comments allow authors to express their views that otherwise remain silent in the daylight.”
On a broad scale, politics start when you step into the corridor outside your apartment. “It comes down to the questions like who has to clean it, and whether it needs a repair.”
When it comes to Dude With Sign's protests, it really speaks about every one of our own micro politics. Dovydas comments: “Dude With Sign highlights our online habits that we don’t really think of that much because we go with the flow. Dude With Sign not only talks about the freedom of opinion and speech, but he also encourages people to take a step back and look at themselves from the outside. Only when you start using your own head do you stand apart from the blunt mass and become an independent thinker.”
Dovydas believes that an ability to make fun of yourself is crucial in our times. “Dude With Sign is an artist full of irony. It’s cool to share his funny posters when he asks you not to do that. But making fun of yourself and thinking of how the receiver of your action or art would feel is far greater freedom and happiness than going on a shopping spree naked.”
After seeing how well Seth is doing with his funny signs, you might want to organize one too. And you can—because the First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest. But there are a couple of things you should know about your rights beforehand. First of all, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, your rights “are strongest in what are known as ‘traditional public forums,’ such as streets, sidewalks, and parks.” That means that you can legally march in the streets as long as you’re not in anyone's private property and you’re not blocking access to buildings or interfering with other properties.
Now that you’re ready to do your first poster design, remember that counter-protesters also have free speech rights! So, don’t get surprised if police treat you and antagonistic group of individuals equally. There’s always a chance you’d get stopped by the police. In that case, the Union suggests to “stay calm, be polite, and don't run.” Also, keep in mind that even if The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech, “it does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance.”, especially if you declare something controversial.