Sunday, January 10, 2010
I crashed Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's presidential reception last night and no Secret Service agents were there to notice my presence. Hoped to scoop up some Harvard gossip, since (not surprisingly) her home institution was overrepresented in the room. It was like the (strangely named) smokers that seemed to be fewer and further between tonight, except the food was a lot better and the wine was decent. Harvard's budget can't be that bad.
And yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours with the GLBTQ protestors and then (shhh) crossed the picket line and rode the slow elevator up to my friend and informant R. Mutt's room and took the above aerial photo of the march as it circled the hotel for a second time. The band marched on. The walls of Jericho did not fall--and the protestors even politely walked past the handful of police officers who guarded the hotel entrance.
I wasn't the only person crossing the picket line, even if my reasons were more principled than theirs. As I sauntered through the lobby I brushed shoulders with more than a few historians who were there despite of (mostly inattentive to) the protest outside. The coffee shop and bar were a little quieter than they had been earlier in the day, and the book display was sleepy--perhaps reflecting the unease that some historians felt in crossing the picket line.
It's said that about 300 people showed up for the demonstration against the Manchester Hyatt. Maybe, but it seemed smaller to me. And not nearly as many members of the crowd looked to be historians as I had expected. I saw a few familiar faces and heard a few more, but most of the crowd's energy seemed to be coming from the local labor activists on hand. It was a fitting protest, both for the mood and energy of this year's still sleepy AHA.
Posted by C. Vann Winchell at 7:47 AM