There may not have been 967 attendees, like Facebook had promised me, but no small number of people showed up today in Dupont Circle to take part in D.C.’s Pillow Fight 2008 (part of World Pillow Fight Day). That is, if you include not just those participating in the pillow fight, but also those just there to watch and the countless people there to document it with their video recorders and slick SLR cameras. (I, regrettably, am forced to count myself among this last group.)
When I arrived in Dupont Circle just after 2 p.m., people were milling about in clusters, awkwardly clutching their pillows. One of the organizers blew a whistle and the 50 or so people who had come to rumble gradually formed a mob on the northeast side of the circle, squinting their eyes and slamming away at each other. The participants ranged from young high schoolers to college students to self-consciously hip 20-somethings.
Some of the comments I heard from these hipsters regarding how uncool yet cool they were to be fighting with high schoolers: “I hope college is going to be this fun! We should organize it a pillow fight in college too! We could have it on the quad!” and “Is it illegal to hit a seventeen year-old girl with a pillow? I’ll ask Bill—he’s a lawyer.”
It wasn’t all fun and games, mind you. World Pillow Fight Day, part of the “urban playground movement,” according to their website, has loftier ambitions than that.
One of our goals is to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television, and consciously rejecting the blight on our cities caused by the endless creep of advertising into public space.
So it’s hip and socially conscious! Looks like the only ones losing out were the birds who donated all that lovely down.