Tubas are fundamentally silly instruments. At best, they sound like a jaunty cartoon elephant blowing bubbles out of its trunk, and at worst, they sound like a big sloppy elephant fart. Nevertheless, silliness does not disqualify one from participating in the fight against racism, fascism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and all other forms of oppression, as our Juggalo comrades have proven. In the right context, it might actually be an asset, as in the case of the musician who turned a KKK march into a Benny Hill bit by marching alongside them with his tuba.
Although it’s re-emerged in recent days in the aftermath of Charlottesville, the clip is actually from 2015, when a sousaphone (a.k.a. marching tuba) player named Matt Buck decided to make the attendees of a KKK march in Charleston, South Carolina feel stupid by serenading them. “I didn’t really know how to show my opposition, so that was my way of doing it,” Buck told the Charleston City Paper at the time. “My goal was to embarrass them, and I think I did a little bit.”
The German town of Wunsiedel in Bavaria dealt with its neo-Nazi problem in a similarly mocking manner, by holding what was billed as “Germany’s most involuntary walkathon.” For every meter the Nazis marched, local residents and businesses donated €10 to the group EXIT Deutschland, devoted to undermining the very same violent right-wing hate groups that had descended upon the town. Cheerful signs reminding the Nazis that they were walking against themselves, bananas for energy to keep them going, and constant updates on how much money had been raised to fight them completed the mockery. In the end, €10,000 was raised, and the approach has spread across Europe.