I originally batted this idea back and forth with the incomparable Mrs P during the more "interesting" scoring moments of the Sochi Olympics (who could single one out--there were so many of them!). But I decided to wait and see if TBTB in the wacky world of skating would actually vote to eliminate at least one of the most glaring problems with competitions today or would they stick to business as usual. Surprise, surprise, business as usual won again. So here goes.
As a preamble, a lot of these ideas come from the lessons learned from the ACT UP protests in the US, one of the most successful protest movements ever. Act Up was formed to bring attention to the woeful state of available treatments for AIDS patients, price gouging by US pharmaceutical companies for the few pitiful treatments available, and particularly to address the problems of the Food and Drug Administration process to approve potential new treatments for AIDS in a timely matter (potential pharmaceutical treatments were expected to follow the same protocols for approval as say a hair dye or cough drop--on average 7 years; this when the average expected life span of a patient with AIDS was 2 years or less). Act Up achieved success with all of these objectives.
Some things I learned from Act Up:
1. Protests need to be focused. Its "message" should be clear, coherent and on target. Don't clutter up a protest with too many issues. For example, one of the first protests was staged at New York's Stock exchange, specifically to bring attention to the fact that Welcome-Burroughs, a pharmaceutical company, was significantly inflating the price of the only effective treatment at the time: AZT. Several days following this demonstration, Burroughs Wellcome lowered the price of AZT from $10,00 to $6,400 per patient per year.
2. Theatricality brings attention. Attention, after all, is the goal of any protest movement. Act Up burned public figures in effigy, filmed their own protests, made that film available to the news media. Chanting is important--and each Act Up protest had specific chants to get the "message" of that particular action across (such as "SELL WELCOME" for the Wall Street protest), but the theatricality adds visual impact. And at a time when most people get their news from television, the visual and theatrical may the most important component of any protest movement.
3. A simple logo can embody the message. For Act Up, that logo was the now famous Pink Triangle won by gay prisoners of the Nazi Holocaust with the legend SILENCE=DEATH. Visual, dramatic, on point.
So, how can we apply these lessons to the an ongoing fan protest of anonymous judging?
We need to emphasize that such a protest is not against any particular country or skater. The system as a whole is at fault; the protest needs to clearly and simply indicate that it is a system-wide problem. No figure pointing at Country X or that Skater Y "should have won." Playing the blame game that way dilutes the message.
1. Keep the message simple: TURN THE LIGHT ON JUDGING.
2. A simple logo with this message. I suggest a black square or rink-shaped logo with the message that can be worn to events. Perhaps an entrepreneurial type can design a tshirt. Tshirts can be wonderfully effective. Gets that message out to people who aren't dedicated fans. Plus it's visual, dramatic, simple and on-point. And you can wear it in the summer!
3. Fans who attend skating shows should not only wear the black square or rink-shaped logo on their clothing (even a black ribbon could suffice), but also bring small black flags, similar to the flags of individual countries already waved at events. I propose these flags should be waved at all times when they would not interrupt the skaters' performances. Imagine the impact a rink full of fans waving black flags and chanting TURN THE LIGHT ON JUDGING could have. It would certainly play well on televised events, and would give mass media something to focus on. And again, getting attention is the name of the game in any protest movement.
Feel free to add your suggestions.