Created By: Evalana on June 19, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 7, 2016

Protest By Obstruction

Protesting something by attaching yourself to it

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Trope
Truth in Television, probably. When someone wants to protest something, usually the destruction of a tree or piece of property, they'll often chain themselves to that thing, or otherwise get in the way of whatever they're protesting. Needs a Better Description.


Examples

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of The Thin Blue Line, the officers go to break up a group protesting the building of a bypass. Officer Goody encounters one protester who has tied herself to a tree, and ends up joining her.

Western Animation
  • In the Dan Vs. episode "Burgerphile", Dan shackles himself to the front registers of the eponymous fast food restaurant when the manager refuses to correct his order.

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • June 19, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Literature

    • Lucy Valentine mentions her grandmother, Dovie, is an activist who chained herself to things in her youth.

  • June 19, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Definitely Truth In Television: British suffragettes chained themselves to railings a century ago. Lt. Dan Choi and several others attached themselves to a White House fence in 2010.
  • June 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • One time on The Simpsons Homer and some others chained themselves to trees to protest them being cut down. Cops chased Homer around his tree, causing his chain to cut the tree down.
      • Another time Homer chained himself to a poll outside the Springfied Isotopes (Baseball) stadium as part of his Hunger Strike to protest their move to Albuquerque NM.
  • June 20, 2011
    Valentine
    Ted and Dougal chained themselves to the railing in front of a cinema in Father Ted. Backfired spectacularly as their protest against The Passion of St. Tibulus made the film a huge success.
  • June 20, 2011
    robybang
    • Psych: In one case, an animal rights protestor was a suspect in a murder case, but because she had chained herself in front of a restaurant in protest of their menu, she had an obvious alibi.
  • June 20, 2011
    KTera
    I think this happened on an episode of Andromeda. A group of environmental activists chained themselves to a terraformer and ended up dying horribly.
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    I think this should be broadened to include all types of "occupation." See Arrested Development, in which a character climbs a tree and lives in it to protest cutting it down; or Real Life example of the February Sisters, who locked themselves in a university building at the University of Kansas to demand better conditions for women on campus (eliminating pay differences, adding childcare, adding women's studies department). Clearly the same idea, but nobody was technically chained to anything.
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    ^Also, in the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, when Arthur lays down in front of the bulldozer. No chains, but similar thinking. Protest by obstruction/occupation.
  • June 20, 2011
    yogyog
    From the End of I Heart Huckabies:

    "What are you doing tomorrow? about 2 0'clock?"

    "I don't know - you?"

    "I'm going to chain myself to a bull-doser."
  • June 20, 2011
    arrowyn
    In the first episode of Slings and Arrows, Geoffrey Tennant chains himself to his bankrupt Theatre Sans Argent. Oliver sees his protest on the news and calls him, setting in motion the events of the show. Namely, Oliver's death and Geoffrey's visit to the funeral home, which leads to him speaking at the funeral, which leads to his being hired as Interim Artistic Director and three seasons of great television.
  • June 21, 2011
    neoYTPism

    The above (which I recommend for a page image) is from an episode of The Simpsons called Homer To The Max. Basically, Homer chains himself to a tree, and then runs in circles when police officers try to mace him.
  • June 21, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    The phrase "tree hugger" got its name from this trope's use by environmental protestors.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Please just link to the image. It's breaking the page.
  • June 21, 2011
    bluepenguin
    The novel The Divide, by Nicholas Evans, has a scene with environmental activists protesting logging this way.
  • June 26, 2011
    Evalana
    I'm all for expanding this to include other types of obstructive protesting, but can anyone think of some titles?
  • June 26, 2011
    GoopsWorld
    In [[3rd Rock From The Sun]], Harry accidentally chains himself to a tree without knowing they were going to cut it down.
  • June 27, 2011
    meretricious
    Film
    • The Great Race. Maggie Dubois chains herself to a men's bathroom door in the New York Sentinel newspaper building to protest the paper's policy of not hiring women. She tries to force the editor to hire her as the first female reporter for the paper.
  • June 29, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^^This was done to point up the link with the suffragettes (economic rights as well as political ones), and Played For Laughs. The editor's wife not only takes his job and his office, she takes up smoking his cigars.

    BTW, it's also referenced in the film version of Mary Poppins. It seems an alternative reason to protest in this way is to draw attention categories of people usually ignored or taken for granted by people in power.
  • June 29, 2011
    meretricious
    Film
    • In that Chick Flick Two Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock. She and some fellow advocates lay down in front of a building to avert its destruction.
  • June 29, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche handcuffs herself to her childhood home, unable to bear letting construction workers tear it down.
  • June 29, 2011
    c0ry
    The bonds depicted may or may not be actual chains (they probably weren't meant to be so detailed as to distract from the dialogue, or put undue strain on the illustrator), but this SMBC strip captures the concept. It proves unsuccessful.
  • July 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ... what's wrong with my Simpsons image?
  • July 5, 2011
    NetMonster
    In Monk, the titular character chains himself to a pillar in the garage where his wife was murdered, to protest the garage's impending demolition.
  • October 20, 2011
    GreenMachine
    I don't remember enough to be certain, but didn't an episode of Hey Arnold! use this technique involving "the tree?" Come to think of it, I believe The Movie involved a faceoff between the bulldozers and the neighbourhood...

    I'd need someone else to verify, though.
  • October 20, 2011
    erforce
    • Man-Thing has some environmentalists chaining themselves on Schist Company's vehicles.
  • October 20, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I hope someone takes this up; I think it's a good trope.
  • October 20, 2011
    azmod
    Another variant is people climbing a tree and refusing to climb down in order to stop it from being cut down

    • In one Simpsons episode Lisa tries to save a tree from being cut down by refusing to climb down

    Another classic is people laying down in front of a bulldozer. Often subverted when the construction guys just go around them.

    Sit-ins was a standard Civil Rights Movement protest tactic

  • October 21, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    On launch, this should go on the new Civil Unrest Tropes Index.
  • October 22, 2011
    Antigone3
    There's a reference in The Serpent's Shadow to suffragettes chaining themselves to 10 Downing Street as per the Real Life example.
  • October 22, 2011
    Utgardloki
    I think there should probably be different categories between protesting by taking an obstructing position, as Arthur Dent did in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and protesting by actually chaining oneself to an object.

    Another idea I have would be perhaps a kind of Handcuff Tropes page, specifically involving the use of handcuffs, one trope would be to use handcuffs to try to make a point, like Maggie Dubbois did in The Great Race, but would also include handcuffing oneself to another person, which I have seen done in "Hi Honey I'm Home" where the wife handcuffed herself to her husband to make the point that she needs more freedom to make her own decisions.

    Since the title of this trope is Protest by Obstruction, I'll make a vote for this trope as including non-bondage related sit in's, lie downs, etc.
  • November 12, 2012
    mythbuster
    Occupy Wall Street?
  • November 12, 2012
    McKathlin
  • November 12, 2012
    Tzintzuntzan
    In an episode of Saved By The Bell, Jessie and Kelly protest oil drilling on campus by chaining themselves to an imitation oil drill in the main hallway. Then a nerd joins them on the drill -- officially to join the protest, but really because he's a Stalker With A Crush.
  • November 12, 2012
    StarSword
    Live Action TV
    • In The Vicar Of Dibley's episode "Summer", Geraldine protests an attempt by the water company to turn Dibley's valley into a reservoir by chaining herself to her church. Once the media picks up on it, the main cast (except for Owen, who has a different plan) join her. Including Alice and Hugo's baby daughter, who is put in a bouncy chair chained to the church.
  • March 6, 2016
    DAN004
    Does it have to be chaining oneself to something? "Obstruction" to me sounds more like ppl making a barricade behind the thing in question, in a form of protest in this case.

    Real life examples or not?
  • March 6, 2016
    foxley
    In Ali G Indahouse, Ali G goes on a hunger strike and chains himself to the railings outside No. 10 Downing Street when he learns his local council leisure centre is going to be demolished.
  • March 7, 2016
    Koolkev
  • March 7, 2016
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added media section titles.
      • Namespaced work names.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
  • March 7, 2016
    foxley
    Naturally Sadie: In "Forest for the Trees", Sadie is upset when her favourite tree is going to be cut down. She is up the tree spying on her crush Owen Anthony when Owen spots her. Owen thinks she is occupying the tree as a protest to prevent it being cut down. Rather than reveal the actual reason she was in the tree, Sadie starts stays in the tree as an actual protest.
  • March 7, 2016
    LikeSnowyNights
    Apparently its called a lock on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock-on .
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