As of Tuesday night, Denver was still in one piece.
Although the carnival atmosphere downtown, the sign-wavers handing out fliers, the vendors, the riot police and the closed streets thrilled some Denverites and irritated others, nothing had blown up.
Unless, that is, you were in the CELL, a multimedia exhibit in the Denver Civic Center Cultural Complex that explores terrorism and includes a dramatization of what it would look like if the 16th Street Mall exploded. Governor Bill Ritter and two sons took in the video, and Rudolph Giuliani was also set to check it out.
There have still been plenty of incendiary confrontations in town, though. Aside from the typical police-versus-protester dust-ups, we had John McCain sign-wavers mixing it up with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supporters. And Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins (recently seen racing through New York City in a Michael Phelps swimsuit) made headlines when he tried to interview infamous former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill.
Then there was the collateral damage from a protester-on-protester face-off at the Denver Mint.
Late Monday afternoon, Re-create '68 activists turned out for a "levitate the Mint" performance, during which Marc Cohen, co-founder of CopWatch and one of the group's leaders, donned a wizard's outfit and muttered chants. The fact that the Mint isn't operating this week — it's conveniently "closed for inventory" — didn't bother the protesters, whose goal was to "use a little magic and energy" to point out that poor people could better use the money being spent on the Democratic National Convention. Nor did the small turnout of about seventy people — half of them from the media.
The problem was that the action also drew members of the 9/11 Truth movement, headed by raving-maniac-in-charge Alex Jones. The Truthers believe the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job sponsored by the U.S. government and that Re-create '68's Cohen and Glenn Spagnuolo are government agents, provocateurs whose job is to cause violence and unrest. But their supposed sins paled when Jones spotted nationally syndicated neo-con pundit Michelle Malkin and began screaming at her. "Shame on you, you little monster!" Jones shouted. "You little fascist piece of trash!"
Although Malkin, who has written a book defending racial profiling and the use of internment camps, tried to ignore Jones, he continued shouting so loudly and for so long that she fled across the street, with Jones and a mob of cameras and reporters in hot pursuit.
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"You're the agent provocateur!" Spagnuolo shouted at Jones in a fruitless attempt to bring attention back to the Mint protest.
But his tactic didn't work, and Jones seemed pretty pleased with stealing the limelight. "The left is dying! The right is dying!" he said to his cohorts. "We're the only ones that can see it!"
As for Malkin, she called the protest "an abysmal failure — with a crowd of about twenty profit-bashing protesters far outnumbered by press, bloggers, police, horses and looky-loos," and reported that the Truthers and Jones "started barking at me and attempting to make a scene and incite a riot. I should have brought my spit shield. Ick."
Ain't that the truth.