Over the weekend, thousands of people hit the streets in New York City, marching from Union Square to Trump Tower in protest of the new president-elect. Among them was Jim Crocamo, a New York man whose red hat and darkly funny cardboard sign caught the attention of those around him, and subsequently caught the attention of the internet, where thousands of people have retweeted, liked, and shared photos of him marching. Today, Select All checked in with Crocamo to find out more about the origin story of his now meme-famous sign and what’s next for the viral protester.
Okay, first can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m 39, married, a librarian, and have been living in NYC for 15 years. I lived in north Brooklyn until a few years ago, when we moved to Queens, which is THE BEST. I love it.
How are you feeling after the election?
Pretty devastated. I am not prone to being doom-and-gloomy, and even though I recognized that it was deeply disturbing that Donald Trump was actually the Republican nominee and continued to have support, despite, well, literally everything that’s ever come out of his mouth, I just really did not think he had a chance at winning. I was in shock.
Explain to me your “but geez” moment? What finally made you want to make a sign and protest?
My wife, Caralee, and a couple of our best friends, Caroline and Jessi, were like “we are going to this rally and we are making signs!” I’ve been to marches over the years, but I have to admit that a lot of protest signs make me cringe, even if I agree with the general gist of what they are saying. I just think it’s really important for all of the people the Trump campaign targeted — immigrants, women, Muslims, Mexicans, minorities, LGBTQ (sadly the list goes on) — to see the streets fill up with their fellow Americans who are not going to stand for the discrimination he promised and ran on. The election results said to those people that there are a lot of people in this country who don’t give a shit about them, so it’s necessary to go out and show that there are lots who do. It seemed like the wrong time to be like “ugh, signs.” So that’s what I was thinking about when it came to me. Plus, “geez” struck me as a perfect way to capture the fact that I truly do not even know what to say to people right now.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the photo itself? Who took it and where were you?
The person who took the photo that ended up going viral is Alex Leo (@AlexMLeo), who I guess works for the Daily Beast and has a lot of Twitter followers. I don’t remember her taking it, so I’m not totally sure where this is, but I think it’s Fifth Avenue in the upper 40s. A lot of people were taking pics of the sign the whole time, so I can’t say for sure. But the march was great and people’s spirits were high, all things considered.
So the responses were positive?
People loved it! Lots of people took pictures, I got high fives and fist bumps, one lady had her boyfriend take a picture of her with me — she must have sensed my impending memehood. Early on in the march I was noticing that people were really responding to it, and it seemed to be cheering people up, and that’s when it occurred to me that I was actually being useful in a way. People just had a truly messed-up week, so many of them are depressed or feel hopeless and scared. So making people laugh was nice.
Any thoughts on becoming a meme?
I feel truly fortunate that I became a meme for doing something funny on purpose and not for something like falling off of a stage while stomping on grapes and making a crazy noise. Also if anyone wants to make a GIF where sunglasses descend on me in that pic and make the sign say GEEZ WITH IT I wouldn’t be mad.
What is your action plan now that you are a officially a sign guy?
Guess I better start brainstorming? Although being a one-sign wonder wouldn’t be so bad. I would be okay with being the Baha Men of protest-sign guys.
Anything else we should know?
Just a preemptive “Yes, I voted,” and “No, George Soros is not paying me.”