Wikipedia defines flash mobs this way:
A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act for a brief time, then disperse.
If you want to see what that looks like - or you just want to brighten your day - watch these examples.
Here's one of my favorites. From the youtube description:
Kim MacGregor organized this flash mob of 200 dancers to launch the "feel good" movement, "I Believe She's Amazing" in honor of her friend Erika Heller who passed away May 28th, 2009 at 31 yrs. old...this is her living legacy.
Or how about this one from Oprah's 24th Season Kick Off Party.
But flash mobs aren't just about dancing. How about some singing?
Or maybe just a "freeze frame?"
Some flash mobs are just for fun, but corporate advertisers know a good thing when they see it.
As does some creative young guy who wants to propose to the woman he loves.
I first heard about flash mobs while reading an article by Al Giordano titled Summit Protests Are Obsolete in which he was commenting on the protests that took place at the G-20 Summit in Toronto. He thinks we can do better.
And to think: At least twice in recent months, in the same city of Toronto, there were two creative actions – neither of them “protests,” per se – that were designed, and succeeded, to win over hearts and minds and public support. They involved planning, discipline and a lot more fun than the tired summit protests offer, and they show us a possible path toward a new kind of protest that, rather than provoking automatic police repression, sneaks up on society with stealth and then disappears quickly avoiding any physical confrontation at all...
Add a coherent political message, banners, leaflets, a dance tune that resonates with the message, and such to a dancing musical flash mob like these and you have the seeds of a new, more effective, kind of protest than the tired old marching around in circles of the last century that has ceased to win any cause for anyone.
I'm with Al on this one. One thing I'd add is that, if you watch these videos, the feelings are contagious. People are smiling, appreciative, and want to join in.
Because liberals are often in the mud and muck with what's wrong in the world, we can be dour and depressing (or simply angry and rageful all the time). Who wants to join a movement like that? But isn't our message also about what's best in human beings - things like respect, compassion and empathy? What better way to invite people into that kind of movement than a flash mob?
As the quote up top from Madeleine L'Engle says:
Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint, or sing, or write, [or dance], for only in such response do we find the truth.