Sunday, January 11, 2009
By Michael Winship
Better yet, there's one of my all-time favorite films, “North by Northwest.”
Surrounded at an auction by the bad guys, Cary Grant makes outrageous bids and yells insults until the police arrive and unknowingly haul him off to safety. (“How do we know it’s not a fake?” he shouts about one painting. “It looks like a fake!” A woman sitting in front of him turns and replies, “You’re no fake. You’re a genuine idiot.”)
The Friday before Christmas, a college student in Utah who‘s neither fake nor fool pulled a Cary Grant at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction of oil and gas leases for land between two of the most austerely beautiful national parks in the United States – Canyonlands and Arches.
Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old environmental activist and economics major at the University of Utah, was protesting the auction outside a government office building in Salt Lake City and decided to see what would happen if he went inside.
Instead of being immediately hustled out, he was asked by a clerk, “Are you here to bid?”
He showed his driver’s license and was given a paddle, no questions asked. Then, as his incredulous roommate looked on, DeChristopher started bidding.
“It was just raise my arm as often as possible, Bidder No. 70,” he told a reporter, “I was trying to make it obvious I was there to disrupt the auction.”...(Click for remainder).