Facebook users capture Lafayette’s zeitgeist. By Walter Pierce

20100915-RE-0101I’m perilously close to eclipsing the 300 “friend” plateau on Facebook, and perilously close to quitting Facebook. To my “friends”: I don’t care that you’re in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell and “OMG it’s taking for-eeeevvvveerrr LOL!!!” And I’m certain you aren’t laughing out loud.

The inanity is enough to drive me from the fold, but local-centric curiosities like Lafayette Gay Fire Firefighter and now Save the Downtown Go Cup keep me coming back.

The former is a persona adopted by a real-life friend inspired by the statue in front of the fire station on West Vermilion Street across from Don’s downtown — the marble depiction of a shirtless fire fighter clutching a hose, buttocks jutting jauntily as he points dramatically toward a distant inferno. Very Village People. Lafayette Gay Fire Fighter, by the way, is a homage, not a slur — the real-life friend is real-life gay.

At last count, Lafayette Gay Fire Fighter had 773 fans, myself among them.

The latest iteration of Lafayette’s mood on Facebook, Save the Downtown Go Cup, is a reaction to the City-Parish Council’s vote last week approving an introductory ordinance that would banish open alcohol containers from downtown as well as the Simcoe and McKinley strips. For the aged and uninformed, go cups are the plastic cups stacked at bars into which customers can transfer their adult beverages and head out the door. Go cups are common in Louisiana, which was half-witted enough when it raised the drinking age from 18 to 21 — at the threat of losing federal highway funding — to still allow 18-20 year olds into bars, even though, “technically,” they aren’t allowed to drink. Wink wink.

Take a walk around downtown Lafayette on a Sunday morning. It’s littered with go cups.
Save the Downtown Go Cup, whomever it is, has a catchy slogan: “Downtown deserves the same freedom as the rest of town. Downtown deserves go cups.” There’s been quite a bit of activity on the page, although not the light-hearted repartee generated by Lafayette Gay Fire Fighter and his flock.

“Is there any passion on this issue?” opines SDGC. “Anyone willing to get active to try and stop this?” Clearly, SDGC cherishes the hard-won civil right to walk about with beer in a plastic cup.

The March on Selma this is not, but SDGC’s outrage is shared by others on the page: “Can you really imagine this?” offers another go cup devotee. “When the Saints win tonight, people would have to chug their drinks before being able to walk anywhere else... What’s next on the list of things we shouldn’t be allowed to do?”

Cruising. That’s what’s next.

The council also approved an introductory ordinance banning motorists from passing the same traffic control point more than twice in a two-hour period on weekend nights on Jefferson Street and other loci of alcohol-generated conviviality. One would think this would be the bigger outrage, since cruising is such an American pastime. But so far, no Facebook page opposing this indignity.

Later this month the council will discuss drawing up an ordinance that would bar 18-20 year olds from bars altogether, which will surely spawn a new identity on Facebook.

Meanwhile, back at Save the Downtown Go Cup’s page, one post brought it all home for me: “I heard they are trying to make the gay firefighter downtown straight!”

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