If You’re Gonna Throw Soup at the Mona Lisa, Have A Better Speech Prepared

A bunch of people going ‘huh?’ isn’t the sign of an effective protest
If You’re Gonna Throw Soup at the Mona Lisa, Have A Better Speech Prepared

This weekend, two climate activists pitched a couple servings of soup at maybe the most famous piece of art in the world, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. You can probably accurately predict the series of events that followed: Soup hits smile, protesters have an amount of time predicated by museum security’s 40-yard-dash numbers to say their piece, protesters are arrested. It’s the latest in what seems to be a pattern of plastering some sort of food product over a famous piece of art in order to draw attention to some cause or the other, usually climate change.

Xin Sy

I told you we should have protected it against bullets and soup!

I have some suggestions. Don’t worry, I’m not going to come in here like a red-faced Boomer, using the valuable time afforded me by America’s last round of possible retirements to say some gibberish about “respect” or call anyone a hooligan. I’m a big fan of protesting things, especially important ones. Nobody really got hurt here, outside of a janitor who probably had to do a little extra mopping. The Mona Lisa is armored up like a fucking APC, and at this point, you’re probably never touching canvas without a can of thermite, much less a can of Campbell’s.

My problem here is, with what I assume is some level of coordination or planning, and knowing that you’re going to pay for it to the tune of anything the police nationale can do that won’t leave a bruise, how about a drafted statement or two? You go through all that shit, and for the moment between soup and security when everybody’s looking and listening, that’s the part you figure you’ll make up on the spot? The centerpiece of your master plan is getting out a sentence like, “Climate change is very bad”?


Paintings or food! You can only have one!

You’ve got a chance to get a carefully crafted sentence printed by every news organization in the world, and in the case of these soup-slingers, the message they got out was the following: “What’s more important? Art, or right to a healthy and sustainable food?” Chew on that, you complicit rubes enjoying your blissful ignorance! I bet you’ve never considered that completely nonsensical dichotomy! For every, uh, painting you look at, that’s, uh, eight tomatoes you could have picked.

Is sustainable food and its effect on the climate a real issue? Absolutely. They’re cutting down the fucking Amazon for hamburger meat. Something a lot of people don’t realize, and that, in fact, might be a pretty memorable thing to yell to a briefly captive audience. An epiphany that carries emotional weight and educates, and could be a lot more effective than just piping hard-earned and fleeting global attention into the service of “awareness.” 

All I’m saying is, next time maybe tuck a prepared speech into your coat pocket next to the Chef Boyardee. Hell, hire a writer. I’m available for a price that many would argue is too reasonable.


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