Pawlenty Gets Pink: Is Glitter Bombing A Worthwhile Trend In Gay Guerilla Protest?

Remember when Newt Gingrich got glitter-bombed for his anti-gay politics? CODEPINK just did the same thing to GOP Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty at his book signing in San Francisco. We questioned the good of glitter bombing the first time it happened, but is it time to reconsider it as a form of effective protest?

In regards to Pawlenty, the Code Pink ladies said, “If elected, [the] GOP Presidential candidate said he would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (the ban on openly-gay service). He vetoed a bill in Minnesota that would have allowed surving partners of same-sex couples the right to decide what to do with their loved one’s deceased body, because he believes in ‘traditional marriage.’”

Glitter bombing has a few key aspects: surprise, public humiliation of a political figure, disruption of a PR event, activists audibly announcing their cause, and of course the requisite YouTube video that shows the prank in action.

It’s always great to see anti-gay politicos get a figurative “pie to the face” Anita Bryan style, but how long does the resulting humiliation and the political statement really last? While glitter bomb videos might get some internet play, they also feature the protestor’s short-lived glory getting stopped by security while the protestor gets led away.

So far the two glitter bombers we’ve seen have memorized their shouted political statements but they also provide a press statement or interview to explain the rationale behind their actual bombing.

Unfortunately, Code Pink’s video doesn’t really capture Pawlenty’s reaction as well as the Gingrich video did—cops and PR handlers can create a shaky situation for handheld cammers who need to get to safety before an officer tries to harm their footage. Also, it’s important for the videographer to follow the protestors as they’re led away so they can capture any potential mis-treatment of the protestor and their loud screams as part of the narrative.

That being said, we’re still not sure that glitter bombing actually accomplishes much. But we will say this much: it’s a hell of a lot more fun than just writing a letter.

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  • Richard Fitzwell

    The “author” of Courage to Stand is afraid of a tiny thin woman and fluffy pink feathers. LOL! Give me a break!

  • Paul

    Hopefully glitter bombing will make politicians think twice about saying stupid and hateful things out of fear of being publicly embarrassed. It sure did work when I was a kid and my mother slapped me on the rear when I did something wrong. Politicians are just overgrown babies after all.

  • Geprge


  • Eminent Victorian

    How I wish they’d use pink paint instead…or something that sticks. I guess glitter can hang around forever, too. I do entirely support a return to these sorts of protest maneuvers. The past decade or so has been so lacking in them. Does it accomplish anything? I think it does–it gets press. Let’s start with that.

  • Fitz

    I live here– and I am telling you that “code pink” is a bunch of whiny white chicks
    from El Cerrito who were once political science majors thirty years ago. The only thing they do is fuck up traffic and give the repugningtons something to make fun of.

  • Casey Oraa

    A Multitude of tactics never hurts

  • Allen D.

    Does anyone even take Pawlenty seriously? I hope not.

  • JumpingUpAgain

    Fitz : LOL !!! I can so believe that. Anybody majoring in Political Science or Sociology is in danger of turning into one of those when they’re out in the very real world and don’t know what to do.

  • Clint

    Is being a white chick a bad thing?

  • MSquare

    QUEERTY, is anything a worthwhile trend in gay protest? What do YOU suggest? Try covering ideas that ARE worthwhile in your opinion.

  • Jeffree

    Michele Bachmanm got glittered over the weekend by a “pro-gay” protester, in MN no less. (The glitterer has a lesbian sister, if I read that right).

    Should we expect the fundies to counter with Holy Water and impromptu baptisms?

    These protests prompted my Ma to email*: “Hon, don’t glitter anyone, promise? Remember 3rd grade? We are still picking that stuff out from the carpet. U will be 65 before its all gone! Use yr words!”

    *she’s referring to some party hats I made for my sister’s birthday fiests. I never got the glue-to-glitter ratio worked out right, so it went airborne, into the cupcake mix & all over. There are rules at the house about that now because of me.

  • RSG

    Excellent point, Jeffree…I’ve always felt you shouldn’t crash someone else’s party, unless you want them (or their supporters) to do the same to you. Does the phrase “Westboro Baptist Chruch” ring any bells? How’s their protests working out for them? Does anyone want to say, “Gee, I respect what they do for their cause!”?? I didn’t think so…

    Raise the level of debate, don’t lower it.

  • Jeffree

    Michele Bachmann was glittered by a str8 woman with a lesbian mom & a 75 yr old gay uncle (not a sister, as I said earlier)

    @RSG: Thanks; I’m still torn on whether it’s a helpful strategy: the glitter gets press, but I doubt it makes much of a statement. Direct action can be effective, we’ve seen that, but without coordinated words & action I think the meaning gets lost in the noise.

    (I keep thinking of PETA dousing people with bloood when they wear fur…)

    We’ll see what happens next!

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