By now you have probably heard that the so-called Boston Free Speech Coalition got its permit to rally on Boston Common this Saturday, and you’ve probably seen some of the interviews that spokesman and organizer John Medlar has given to a number of salivating reporters today. The guy likes to talk, mostly about how he doesn’t want his cause to be lumped in with white supremacists just because they’re likely to show up at his event, and can rationalize almost anything, or at least attempt to distance himself from evil. Medlar is on the Common this afternoon, and spitting the following sort of background and nonsense to any hack who is willing to listen:
- He is 23 years old, was born and raised in Newton, and went to Newton North High School. After which he moved to Watertown. Medlar currently attends Fitchburg State University, where he majors in film.
- Many of the people who initially signed on to speak at the rally were “right-wingers,” but organizers “wanted to assemble a broad variety of speakers.” “It just so happened that we had a lot of right-wingers first.”
- Organizers were allegedly working on getting progressives and libertarians to speak, but “that’s when Charlottesville happened.”
- Rally organizers “do not define ourselves as part of the alt-right… We don’t really care about race… We think that people should be treated as individuals.”
- According to Medlar, none of the speakers identify with the so-called “alt-right.” On the contrary, he claims “most of the memes out there make fun” of white supremacists.
- Organizers were allegedly going to cancel, but they “realized that people were going to show up anyway.”
Though we’re not excited to give Medlar and his tiny outfit any more attention, that’s pretty much out of our hands at this point. The national media has arrived, and they’re already doing everything that you probably hate about the national media. From covering the rally like a horse race—who’s speaking, who’s not, who has a permit, who doesn’t—to giving an immature contrarian a far bigger podium than he deserves.
While we don’t recommend listening to Medlar too much, this video filmed by local filmmaker and artist Rod Webber is worth watching. In the first part (before Webber conducts his own interview), the organizer is speaking with a reporter from Al Jazeera English, and it’s actually a decent and revealing chat. At one point, the reporter even gets Medlar to say that he thinks “creeping Sharia Law” is “something to be aware of.” Soon after, however, all your foulest television news nightmares come true, as a producer sets up Medlar for a classic walking shot, then positions him all over the Common like a model on a fashion shoot.
Again, it seems absurd to say that Medlar and his pals should be ignored at this point. There is a feeding frenzy whether people like it or not. As for whether he should be given a microphone and the green light to pitch his trite hypocritical rhetoric on national television is another story altogether. Not like anyone in TV news gives a damn either way, so long as they get their lighting and camera shot set up just right.