matt dances in front of the parthenon

I’ve been avidly keeping up with Matt Harding, the nomadic soul who quit his job three years ago in order to travel the world (and who has made a point of trying to get a video clip of himself dancing in nearly all his destinations). He’s landed at a roster of the most exotic places I can imagine, and each of his journal entries is a new chance for me to get lost in another culture for a few pages of exploration. His most recent posting, from Athens (as in Greece, not Georgia), is a great one — he actually got detained by the Athenian police for dancing in front of the Parthenon.

I’ve never had any experience with civil disobedience. I think of myself as a spineless wimp and I guess I imagined I’d fold pretty quickly, so it was nice to learn that I can withstand a little intimidation when the matter at hand is truly ridiculous enough.
I don’t know how I would’ve held up if there’d been anything serious at stake, like life or liberty. This was just about the pursuit of happiness, which trails a distant third for most of us.

The sad thing about the whole story is that while it’s easy to mock what feels like a provincial police response to Matt’s dancing, in today’s increased security throughout the United States, I’d bet anything that there are a million similar stories of other goofy tourists being unnecessarily detained by American security and police forces while shooting pictures and home videos in front of our famous buildings and monuments. (Just ask Thomas Hawk, who’s done a bang-up job documenting his own troubles.)

Update: did you think I was kidding with that last bit? (via Boing Boing)