August 19, 2019

The Best Foods to Throw at Protests

“Consider the milkshake.

It seems almost quaint now to recall a time when, not too long ago, the humble dairy beverage was most commonly associated with a certain duck and one of the catchiest songs to rule the airwaves in the early aughts. Recently, however, it’s taken on a new identity: milkshakes as a form of dissent.

After a series of incidents in which anti-fascist protesters have hurled milkshakes at right-leaning British political figures, from prominent Brexiter Nigel Farage to far-right U.K. Independence Party candidate for European Parliament Carl Benjamin to anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson, the ice cream drink has become a symbol of the resistance. To throw one is nonviolent, but the results are humiliating; press charges against the thrower (which many have), and you look like a fragile and bratty fool. And in bad news for conservative politicians, milkshaking — as it’s known — has made it stateside. Two Saturdays ago, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz was milkshaked in Florida, making it a global phenomenon.

There’s a long history of incorporating food into political protest (Boston Tea Party, anyone?), with written record dating all the way back to the early-’60s CE, when Vespasian, a proconsulate in Africa and a future emperor of Rome, was apparently so unpopular for his economic policies that he was pelted with turnips by the local populace. Although this time-honored tradition has never truly fallen out of fashion, recent years have seen a resurgence in the hurling of foodstuff — particularly eggs, like the one wielded by the teenager known as “Egg Boy,” who cracked one on the head of an Australian politician who blamed immigration for the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand — and now we’ve arrived at milkshakes.”

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