Since Late November there has been an 80s camp movie pissing contest being undertaken by two warring factions, a prolife advocacy group (the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform, CCBR) and two activists that in the past have used the bench as a canvas for a Nietzsche themed painting class.
To be clear this is a symptom of an increasingly polarized society that will give me another topic to write about in this weekly column titled “the road to civilize.”
But first let’s get back to the antics, and understand that the first shot was fired by CCBR by placing the ad across from the Tim Hortons on Water Street in the first place.
Potentially thousands of students who live off campus pass this sign on a daily basis. It is very possible that some of these students may listen to rock and roll, or hip-hop. What happens when you listen to music? Pregnancy. What happens when you get pregnant? You kill babies.
Or at least this is the line of logic that CCBR is following when they mount a targeted add campaign put up a sign with a baby reaching out to potential baby killers on busses stating “take my hand, not my life.”
This is some mid-grade level trolling being put on by the CCBR, not dissimilar from putting up a sign at someone’s local sporting facility saying “Wombats suck,” when in fact supporters of the Wombats know that the team that they support does not, in fact, “suck.”
If park benches were sentient, there would most certainly be a weekly vigil marking and noting the amount of abuse the Water Street pro-life bench has accrued since late November.
It started with the child’s eyes on the bench being gouged out by knives in late November. This escalated to a dedicated spray-painting campaign in early December, which has been carried out with efficiency, and has been met with equally diligent cleanup responses.
Somewhere in this town there must be a pile of paint cans representing this work ethic. As well as a pile of cigarette butts from the city workers who scrub this park bench.
Articles were written, citizens were concerned and content was published on local and pro-life news websites in response to this. CCBR was not having any of it, and launched its next trolling campaign, which escalated the stakes at hand for both parties involved.
This time the CCBR brought the pro-life messages into a venue debatably not as public, but much more challenging to vandalize without a proverbial old person yelling “get off my lawn you damn kids.” Now the CCBR wanted to bring these ads onto the city busses.
At first the city decided that the advertising money was not worth it (despite mass vacancy of advertising on city busses) to be involved in this childish campaign of escalating antics from team-life and team-choice.
Unfortunately for the city, this was a constitutional conundrum and it was ruled that to do this was to infringe on the sacred ideals free speech of the CCBR.
This presented the pro-choice people with a real brain-wrinkler, in that they couldn’t vandalize the insides of busses without getting caught.
Thus, they decided to get much more creative in their vandalism of the poor park bench. Sometimes the most chilling message is sent by an absence, the allure and the pure terror that black holes have associated with them are representative of this.
It’s possible that this was the logic behind the most recent actions undertaken by the park bench vandals when they removed the advertisement entirely from existence early last week.
Where there was once evidence of an ongoing dialogue between the rich campers and the goofball campers through an increasingly high-stakes prank-off, now there is simply emptiness, and an apprehensive anticipation about what the CCBR’s next move will be.
Although the CCBR pulled the trigger first, the gun is smoking on the other side of this escalating anthology of antics.