Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Send in the Mimes

If the Laws of Supply and Demand aren't going to be allowed to allocate scarce road resources, at least keep everyone entertained;
No crosswalk at an intersection? No problem: Peatónito travels with a can of white paint and a few official-looking stencils, ready to paint the crosshatches where they might be needed. It is a pity he can't be everywhere at once.
"Peatónito is the favorite wrestler of pedestrians, wrestling for their rights," he said recently. "The pedestrian is king."
....There is no one more neglected than Mexico City's walkers, says Peatónito. 
Okay, so logic isn't his strong suit.  He's just following in the Latin American tradition of useless street theater, after Superbarrio Gómez, who helped displaced Mexico City dwellers find housing after the 1985 earthquake. He wore a red suit. Or, Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm"), a Mexican Catholic priest who opened an orphanage and celebrated Mass in his outfit. He became the loose inspiration for the 2006 Hollywood movie "Nacho Libre."

Who is that masked hombre? A 26 year old political science student and consultant to the Mexico City government, who is emulating a former mayor of Bogota, Columbia Antanas Mockus, a math professor who resigned from his university job after mooning a group of students—also used to dress up as a masked vigilante to urge better public behavior. His own efforts to curb traffic involved firing the city's traffic cops and turning enforcement over to a troupe of 400 mimes.

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