“Bring the Family: Looking for Adventure with the Kids” reads the tag line over a weekly series of tips to Boston Globe readers suggesting what to do with them on weekends. In Saturday’s “g” section, the headline announced the “what,” a bizarre recommendation to expose them to a volatile, unsanitary and politically heated situation: “Occupying Boston with the kids.” The who: “Globe reporter Mark Shanahan and his daughter, Julia.”
Shanahan, who “covers the comings and goings of Boston’s celebrity class in the newspaper’s daily ‘Names’ column,” decided “it was time to visit Dewey Square so my 11-year-old daughter could see for herself what Occupy Boston is all about, to hear what the protesters are saying about ‘corporate greed’ and ‘income disparity,’ and maybe to get a few ideas for our next camping trip to Baxter State Park.”
Shanahan recounted how he decided to “strike while the iron is hot” since his daughter now has “great empathy for have nots”:
Julia doesn’t know yet who Eugene Debs is, but she did just read ‘Uprising,’ a book about three friends caught in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and she has great empathy for have-nots. Strike while the iron is hot, I figured, even if it means exposing her to people eating Chex Mix with a fork.
Shanahan’s commentary matched the agenda of the protesters:
We stopped by on a warm fall afternoon, and I pointed out the towering and ominous-looking Federal Reserve Bank building across the street. It was no coincidence, I explained, that the protesters had pitched their tents and tarps in the shadow of this steely monolith to money. We arrived as Harvey Wasserman, a well-known activist sometimes credited with coining the phrase “No Nukes,” was giving a tutorial on social movements of the past, and the people who inspired - or obstructed - them.
“Gee, he really doesn’t like Woodrow Wilson,” whispered Julia.
A small crowd had gathered to listen, and there were a couple of police officers standing nearby, but they looked more bored than menacing. We wandered amid the tents, clutching a copy of the Boston Occupier newspaper, before Julia paused to look at a sculpture of Gandhi and at a sign that read, “The first act of disobedience is contemplation.”