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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anti-Duck Commiseration

posted by on December 18 at 9:35 AM


This morning brought this letter to my inbox:


My name is Walt Sherman and I’m in charge of the Philadelphia “Shut the Duck UP!” campaign. We are fighting to quiet down the duck boats and make them stop disrespecting everybody. We have a blog and also an online petition.

I recently read Public Intern Steven Blum’s article, Assignment: Yell at the Ducks, and I was hoping to get in touch with him. I thought you guys might be interested in how quieting down the ducks is becoming a NATIONAL movement (check out!). Also, I wanted to see if he and Jessica, the girl Steven worked with, might want to sign my petition and help out in any other way they could think of.

Thanks for helping to Shut the Duck UP!

Walt Sherman

Thank you, Walt. Everyone else, if you hate the Ducks, why not help our Philly siblings out by signing the petition?

In closing, please enjoy this inspirational graphic from the Georgia-based


RSS icon Comments



Posted by Mr. Poe | December 18, 2007 9:43 AM


Bitch about ___________
ok now we're on to bitching about _______

OHHHH WHAT A WORld!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ohgosh | December 18, 2007 9:44 AM

I won't sign a petition for issues that actually affect people. Why would I give a fuck about whether or not people ride around on a lame tourist trap tour?

Posted by Jason Josephes | December 18, 2007 9:47 AM

Um, what's wrong with the Ducks, exactly?

Posted by Fnarf | December 18, 2007 9:48 AM

Um, what's wrong with the Ducks, exactly?

People have been bitching about the ducks for ages. Read Slog much?

If you don't think there's anything wrong with the Ducks, that's your opinion.

Posted by chompski | December 18, 2007 9:57 AM

Sorry. I am too busy working on my campaign against cheese.

Posted by Clint | December 18, 2007 9:59 AM

yeah, seeing people having fun sucks.

Posted by cochise. | December 18, 2007 10:01 AM

I liked the suggestion to attack them with water guns. I've softened my former militant anti-duck stance, but I still think they deserve some good-natured harrasment. If they want to be loud and obnoxious, play bad music and mock me while I walk down the street, they'd best be prepared for a little payback...

Posted by Hernandez | December 18, 2007 10:02 AM

The Boston Ducks are hella worse ... furthermore ...
who the FUCK cares. It's the type of obnoxious shit tourists love ... let them have it.

Posted by OR Matt | December 18, 2007 10:05 AM

@9: A water-gun ambush set up at strategic intersections could make a good time for both the tourists and the anti-Ducks militia.

Posted by Greg | December 18, 2007 10:06 AM

When are we going to stop the geoducks?

Posted by Ziggity | December 18, 2007 10:06 AM

Sounds like the shitheel condo owners who move to Belltown and complain about the noise from the nightlife. Move out of the city if idiot tourists having mindless fun bothers you so much.

Fucking assholes have to complain about everything.

Posted by Rotten666 | December 18, 2007 10:07 AM

Wanna stop the ducks yelling at people? It's simple: Wait for whatever godawful anti-noise resolution the council passes to become law, then document one of the drivers saying something through the little loudspeaker that's audible to somebody standing ten yards away, then fine the ducks $1000 for the first offense and $2000 for the next one. Rinse. Repeat.

If everyone cooperates, we can live in a city where nobody is having any fun of an audible nature anywhere at any time.

Posted by flamingbanjo | December 18, 2007 10:09 AM

I'm neutral on the Ducks, but thought it was interesting that others were so passionately anti-.

My favorite Duck-related lore involves a punitive practice undertaken by legendary former Stranger writer Kathleen Wilson and her girlfriends. Whenever any of them re-slept with old boyfriends they knew they should avoid, the punishment was a ride on the Ducks, alone, in shame.

For this reason alone, I support the existence of the Ducks.

Posted by David Schmader | December 18, 2007 10:10 AM

The ducks are are a Young Republican fratboy wet dream. They are Tim Eyeman's schmaltzy souvenir watches on wheels. They are symbols of colonialist tourism and utter disregard for the environmental context.

They are so much more than merely annoying.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 10:10 AM

The pro-duck lobby is out in force today.

Posted by rtw | December 18, 2007 10:10 AM

That story just made my day Schmader.

Posted by Rotten666 | December 18, 2007 10:11 AM

The Ducks are evil! They're big and silly-looking and are full of people we don't know! They elected Bush! They piss in my coffee! They killed the radio star and melted the polar ice caps all on their own!

Look, you live in a large city, with tourist attractions, and those duck-riders from the sticks keep a portion of your economy going. Either move out to Bellingham or get the fuck over it, ya pricks.

Posted by tsm | December 18, 2007 10:15 AM

That's what I meant about the Young Republican aspect: as long as it makes a quick buck, we have to embrace it.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 10:22 AM

@10 - yup, that's the general idea: express one's duck-related frustrations with a little random mischief that all parties will, in the end, enjoy. I'm thinking we could dress up like homeless people, camp out in Westlake park until a Duck cruises by, then BAM! A barrage of super soakers pointed at the tourists and their vaunted tourist dollars...

Posted by Hernandez | December 18, 2007 10:29 AM

I love the Ducks and I live in Fremont.

In fact, I like to wave to them.

Why can't we have public transit ducks from the UW, Wallingford, and Fremont to South Lake Union - it would make more sense than trolley cars and we could build new ones that are bio-diesel ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 18, 2007 10:32 AM

Please, elenchos. The ducks' imprint on public space is relatively minor. They are tour buses. You have to embrace it because part of living in a big city is coexisting with lots of people who aren't quite like you. Which, ultimately, is what the anti-duck Seattleites are so horrified by.

Posted by tsm | December 18, 2007 10:34 AM

They're totally dangerous to pedestrians. The driver has a huge blind spots. They distract drivers. They can be deafening. And they're obnoxious.

Posted by chris | December 18, 2007 10:37 AM

Just you wait, we're going to have duck buses when 520 and the viaduct are closed for construction at the same time.

Posted by Laurel | December 18, 2007 10:39 AM

In Pittsburgh, the ducks mock us plebians as we wait for the bus. The most satisfying anti-duck activity is to yell "Quack, Quack Mother-FUCKERRRRRRRR" at the duck. I really don't see any point to removing the ducks even though their riders/drivers grate on my nerves after a long day. But I think heaping them with profanity is fair game. After all, they ride the ducks to get a sense of urban ambiance, right?

Posted by oljb | December 18, 2007 10:42 AM

I didn't realize Ducks were so widespread... I wonder why we don't have them here in Chicago? Eh, I am too lazy to find out.

Posted by Julie | December 18, 2007 10:42 AM

@13 GENIUS. I don't live downtown, but I do get annoyed at those shrieking Duck drivers.

Posted by Katelyn | December 18, 2007 10:48 AM

i was anti-duck for about a month when i first discovered them because of the notion of people paying to ride around to look at people living in "an interesting city", which in essence can make some pedestrians feel a like they're in a zoo.

then i realized a few things:
* who cares. mo money mo money
* i guess people in each of these cities do kinda live in analogous zoos if you take a mudedesque approach
* really. who cares. mo money etc

however, if you really must sabotage a ducks experience for people, it's easy. just go out as a hobo, then just drop your pants and take a dump when a ducks boat goes by. the latter may get you arrested but sometimes you have to risk something for true sabotage.

i'm not brave enough to poop for a duck yet.

Posted by mackro mackro | December 18, 2007 11:00 AM

We need to bring back the time-honored tradition of vitriol.

Posted by Le Grand Guignol | December 18, 2007 11:00 AM

actually drop the hobo part. just proceed to Step Poop.

Posted by mackro mackro | December 18, 2007 11:01 AM

When I found myself strapped into a giant twenty passenger dune buggy tour of the Oregon Dunes, I knew it was essentially Ride the Ducks on sand and I was deeply, deeply ashamed. The driver would honk at ATVers who would wave at us while I cringed. But it was the only way my 77 year old grandma could experience the dunes, and it was actually fun. What I'm saying here is give Ducks a chance.

Posted by it's ME | December 18, 2007 11:45 AM

Some people just need to bitch and complain for the sake of bitching and complaining.

I live in Fremont, on 34th, so I see the ducks all the time. Are they annoying, yes, do I want them gone, no. WTF people, the ducks are a tourist attraction in themselves, and that's what brings people to this city in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Do you want Seattle to be dead and boring (like it is now in the dead of winter), or alive and vibrant? I'm not saying it's the ducks that make this happen, but they do play a part in making Seattle a fun place to visit. I've never riden the ducks, but I sure the hell tell everyone who comes for a visit that they should.

Lighten up, fuckwads.

Posted by todd | December 18, 2007 11:52 AM

Hey transplant fuckwads-

the ducks need to go.
the loud, obstructive harassment needs to stop.
you need to find something else to defend.

Posted by SEATTLE NATIVE | December 18, 2007 11:57 AM

You mean that the Ducks are a national threat? I had no idea, I thought those were just a local menace!

Posted by Tlazolteotl | December 18, 2007 12:15 PM


I designed the "le canard non" mark as a gag gift for a friend of mine. Sure there was annoyances felt in the past with what they do, but it was mostly out of humor that it presented itself. I ended up printing stickers and t-shirts and sold them online for a time. It was fun seeing peoples reaction to this project.

Then my friend turned malicious and decided that due to the failure of our other project and the animosity that it created, that he would post my artwork online for anyone to download and print. I was angry at first, but then thought "Why not" as long as my creative copyright was maintained I have no problem giving up my work for fun. Recently he started selling t-shirts that source my work, and this is a problem of copyright infringement.

Posted by chris | December 18, 2007 12:17 PM

I'm no fan of the ducks but these guys are like the 9/11 Conspiracy people.

Posted by Gomez | December 18, 2007 12:28 PM


Fuck Nativism, you fucking nativist.

Posted by oljb | December 18, 2007 12:28 PM

Chris at 35: Let me know your last name and I'll credit you below the image.

Posted by David Schmader | December 18, 2007 12:34 PM

Also: Re: Your story: That sucks, especially since your design is the wittiest and most stylish component of the entire anti-Duck movement.

Posted by David Schmader | December 18, 2007 12:36 PM


Ooooh! I'm going to download and print these!!!


Posted by Mr. Poe | December 18, 2007 12:37 PM

No reasonable person would look at the practice of yelling at and harassing people minding their own business as being nothing more than a tour bus. It's obvious to anybody that riding around in a bus, of whatever weird design, is one thing, but the the uninvited insults are something else.

Talking up tourism as a green industry is 20 years out of date. Jetting to Seattle is dirty and unsustainable, and if we can make the tourists stay home, the planet will be better off.

No honest person would trivialize how bad the ducks are. Unless there were some powerful influence making them say these absurd things.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 12:44 PM

You've found me out, elenchos. I am indeed accepting checks from the all-powerful duck lobby to write my Slog posts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the bank, taking care to whistle loudly and cheerfully as I walk, and thus make every native Seattleite I pass seethe with rage, compelling them to write scathing posts about me on their blogs as soon as they get home.

Posted by tsm | December 18, 2007 12:51 PM

That's not funny.

Just because you're sarcastic about it doesn't prove that they're not paying you off, does it?

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 12:56 PM

If you're gonna mention that girl Jessica again, I think you have to repost pictures of her. That way everyone, uh knows who you're uh talking about.


Posted by PdxRitchie | December 18, 2007 1:32 PM

Meh.. I usually just flip them the bird.

Posted by w7ngman | December 18, 2007 1:38 PM

I still think Jessica is way hot, @44, so I agree with you, even if ducks are not a prob in my book.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 18, 2007 1:48 PM

A Japanese 75 mm field artillery piece should be able to stop them readily.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 18, 2007 1:51 PM

i was kayaking in lake union when a duck came by. All of the tourists were seriously pointing at me and quacking like i was exotic wildlife or something.

Posted by robin | December 18, 2007 2:12 PM

Is it our good looks that attracts the obnoxious duck harassment? That would explain why some people don't mind them so much.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 2:18 PM

I like chompski@5 asking Fnarf if he reads the SLOG much. Classic.

Oh, and another vote for bringing Jessica back.

Posted by Big Sven | December 18, 2007 2:40 PM

I am over these duck mobiles going around town and telling the same bad jokes day after day. Get some new jokes or get out of town alright? You guys got my support!

Posted by Charles | December 18, 2007 2:42 PM


"if we can make the tourists stay home, the planet will be better off."

Just not the 60,000 people in the Seattle area whose jobs depend on tourism. But by all means, e, let's just get rid of all the industries that you don't think justify their environmental footprint. Please submit a list and we'll just shut those down this weekend.

Posted by Big Sven | December 18, 2007 2:43 PM

Those 60,000 people could get jobs figuring out how we are supposed to survive after we have destroyed the planet with all the carbon from useless jet travel.

Jobs are important. Who wants to be against jobs? But who wants to be against having a habitable planet?

Poor Jessica. She thought being beautiful was a blessing, until she found out that she'd be quacked at by fat people from Indianapolis who are killing the Earth.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 2:51 PM

@51 - hey, they got a writer's strike to continue with, have a heart.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 18, 2007 3:13 PM

Glock glock!

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 18, 2007 3:47 PM

elenchos, why do you hate travel so much? what are you, amish?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 18, 2007 5:07 PM

Travel is not a green industry, that's all. If you work in travel, your shit stinks too, and you shouldn't pretend it doesn't.

Posted by elenchos | December 18, 2007 5:24 PM

If loving to travel means that I can't be environmentally conscious, well then screw the environment.

(I happen to think that's a false dichotomy, but I am sure of which side of the dichotomy I'm on. Screw the trees, I'm going to Paris.)

Posted by Lee Gibson | December 19, 2007 8:05 PM

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