Andersen "Protesters" Exposed!

Angry, chanting employees of Arthur Andersen -- which is facing obstruction of justice charges in the Enron scandal -- took to the streets Wednesday outside the Houston courthouse where the mammoth accounting firm is fighting for its corporate life.

In a display not seen since the raucous and heady '60s, the loyal workers marched wearing shirts and holding signs proclaiming, "I Am Arthur Andersen." Clearly fashioned to look spontaneous, the demonstration was, in fact, a well-organized plot to turn a sympathetic spotlight on what these activists see as a maligned and misunderstood underdog.

Disguised as an Image Consultant, I slipped into the sit-in at Andersen's Houston headquarters as they planned their actions. I transcribed the meeting's contents as best I could in the hot, electric atmosphere. (In full disclosure, I admit to being somewhat swept up in the excitement that, indeed, we were going to change the world right then and there. But in the cold light of hindsight, I realized that we were just naïve dreamers. The world was not yet ready for such radical change.)


Latte-drinking Leader: We are in the midst of a revolution, people. The more they try to keep us down, the more we will fight! (Everyone taps their Palm Pilots to signal their approval and their togetherness.)

Casual Friday Freddy: We shall overcome! (Group breaks into spontaneous song: "All we are saaaaayyyyyiiiiinnng, is give white-collar-criminals-under-indictment a chaaaaance.")

Guy in Khakis #1: Our voices must be heard! We will not be silenced by this thing called justice. And we must all do our part to get that message out to the people.

Guy in Khakis #2: I'm going to put toner in the government's water supply! Then they're going to see the truth for sure! (Opens a large bottle of White Out and inhales deeply.)

Latte-drinking Leader: I have a dream! I have a dream that one day corporate consultants will once again walk hand-in-hand with corporate auditors. I have a dream that espresso machines will again overflow with the steaming froth of life! I dream of the day when all of God's children, tax attorneys and CEOs, presidents and CFOs, marketing consultants and lobbyists will take hold of the change agents and walk into the holy land of milk and oil.

Guy in Khakis #2: (Gently shaking a tambourine) The people will not be able to resist our call. They cannot resist our beauty. The harmonic corporate convergence will envelope them in a sheaf of loving documents. (He tears off his clothes and rolls in a pool of shredded paper.)

Guy in Kahkis #1: (Looking at him) You are so beautiful, man. I hereby name you Papercut Rainbow.

Guy in Kahkis #2: I love you and everyone in Accounts Payable, man, but I am Arthur Andersen. And you are Arthur Andersen. And everyone here is Arthur Andersen. And this great mass of throbbing human flesh on spaceship Mother Earth is Arthur Andersen. And, together, we will ride the balance sheets into the sun.

We all then get up, clasp hands and move as one -- like a soaring mutual fund -- to our respective SUVs.

David Turnley (davidturnley@hotmail.com) writes satire for AlterNet.org.

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