Weekly Obsession: Playing chicken in Antioch

Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 11:00pm

Every good movement needs a mascot.

Smokey the Bear stops forest fires. Donkeys and elephants stand in for Democrats and Republicans.

A good symbol — the peace sign, the anarchist A, Che Guevara — is part of the culture of resistance. So as the battle heated up over plans to move fairgrounds events to Hickory Hollow, it was incumbent that the grassroots settle on a stand-in.

Naturally, it’s a chicken.

The Antioch Protest Chicken first showed up outside Bridgestone Arena the night of the CMA Awards. A fierce-looking bird, he (or she) has a snarly beak and eyes that say “I’m not sure about you, Karl Dean.” Antioch bears little resemblance to his more famous fellow avian avatar from San Diego, a smiley chap who entertains children and has never been known to chide elected officials for development deals.

Ol’ Antioch doesn’t pull the hidden-ball trick or smash pies into faces of minor league second basemen. He holds signs. “Flea Markets in Malls? Hmmm. Antioch: Dean’s Dumping Grounds” is a popular choice. He waves, cheerily, outside hoity-toity, invite-only shindigs, as he did at a soiree at the downtown library.

This being the 21st century, Antioch predictably is strutting his way through social media. Among the hyperlocal blog crowd, he’s something of a darling. He has a Twitter account full of unavoidable chicken-based puns (“What the cluck?” he frequently asks). He’s got a YouTube page with video of him waving at passers-by who honk during his public appearances.

But when it comes to actual interviews, Antioch is a little, well, you know.

Maybe Antioch doesn’t want personal fame, but he still clucks his way through demonstrations, willing to do his best to get a little egg on the face of Hizzoner.

But the unanswerable questions —  Who are you? Why a chicken? Which came first? — remain known but to him.

Or her.


Filed under: City News
Tagged: Antioch

4 Comments on this post:

By: HokeyPokey on 11/22/10 at 8:28

It's "Smokey Bear," not "Smokey the Bear.

And he doesn't taste like chicken.

By: feathers on 11/22/10 at 12:57

I've seen that chicken all over the city lately. While the chick doesn't talk, I think the reason is to bring awareness to the residents that several decisions of the mayor is very questionable. The Antioch residents don't want a WIC Center in the community center. Why would you want sick people in the same building with the healthy kids? hmm While the residents want the mall to stay and prosper, they also don't want an expo or flea market there. The traffic is horrid in that area anytime of the year, mall or not, and if for some reason the flea market was to be moved there, and if the vendors could be persuaded, there is no way the residents couldn't get out of your drive way with so much traffic. Who wants 30,000 people trying to get into one building that holds 5,700 people? Hmm Antioch needs a community center, with a pool, a good library and a public health clinic, but separate the clinic from the community into a self standing building with a parking lot & on the bus route. Forget the expo center. That is a waste of taxpayer money. They want to pay rent for $1 million per year, give up the $56,000.00 of property tax and pay $200,000.00 for common outside maintenance per year. That's a lot of our money to rent one building. Hmm The fairgrounds property has 8 or 9 buildings on it and has over 350 events each year now. How do you get that many events into one building per year? hmmm It doesn't make sense. Calling one big building an expo center is like calling a double wide trailer a mansion. Nashville deserves better that that.
Maybe that bird brained chicken wants you to use your brain.

By: HokeyPokey on 11/22/10 at 7:26

@ feathers

1 - consider writing in paragraphs.

2 - consider making sense.

3 - we don't get "hmm," consider explicating.

By: MAmom on 11/23/10 at 6:17


I agree with the points in your letter.

Also agree with HokeyPokey that separating your points into separate paragraphs would have made your letter easier to read.

Look forward to seeing your next comment.