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.