Saturday, January 29, 2011

Voice and Silence -- a photo essay

      Today, Cambridge Considered takes a brief detour from history into a portrait of Cambridge today. It was warm, about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, so I set out with my camera around mid-day with the idea to take a few pictures of famous graves at Mount Auburn Cemetery. I learned a few things along the way. First, wearing a camera around your neck in Harvard Square means that the Children's International fund-raisers will try very aggressively to get your attention. Sorry, I'm not a tourist and I've heard your pitch before. Second, Mount Auburn cemetery in the snow is far too pretty to focus just on famous people.

     On the way to the cemetery, I encountered a small demonstration on Brattle Street. The protesters were lead by a few enterprising folks with megaphones. Like at many protests I've seen, every time the leaders introduced a new chant, it took a few repeats before the rest of the crowd caught on and said it all correctly and clearly.

    Politics aside, the small crowd made me think of a few phrases we've all heard tossed around: "vocal minority" and "silent majority." Correctly or incorrectly, many people take the size of a demonstration to represent the size of the body of people who believe in a cause. Of course, there are all kinds of factors that influence who will stand in the street and wave a sign.

Until the mid-20th century, the phrase "silent majority" had no political meaning at all. It referred to the dead. Mount Auburn Cemetery, founded in 1831, is America's oldest landscaped cemetery, and it is a National Historic Landmark. Here's a sampling of scenes from the cemetery today.

 Even more photos can be seen at Cambridge Considered's photo album.

1 comment:

  1. "Silent majority"...of COURSE! Fascinating and great shots of the cemetary.