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March 29, 2010

Mimes, Philosophers, and Presidents

MetaFilter has a rich entry covering the announcement that Antanus Mockus has declared his intention to run as the Green Party presidential candidate in Colombia. Mockus served a term (or two?) as mayor of Bogotá, a city of 8 million people. My family in Bogotá told me stories of Mockus's use of mimes to shame and tame the behavior of aggressive drivers with the aim to make the highly dense city safe for pedestrians. My uncle, a gruff member of the military at the time, was chagrined into kinder, gentler, driving. Mockus moved the dial dramatically on the return to civility in what was becoming an unlivable city. Mockus set the stage for his successor to implement the dedicated bus lanes known as Transmilenio.

Mockus's use of mimes were echoed, not so successfully, by progressives in the US. Several mimes were attacked during demonstrations (for and against) the health care reform measures currently before congress. I don't know what it says about us, here, that mimes might be attacked physically. The ones in Bogotá – to my knowledge – were not.

Posted by Rafael Fajardo at March 29, 2010 12:00 AM