Pity for Larry Ellison Curtails Planned America's Cup Protests

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If the 49ers need a morale boost after Sunday's crushing Seahawks loss, they can take solace in being nowhere near as pitiable as Oracle Team USA, which narrowly lost Race 10 to Emirates Team New Zealand at the extremely disappointing -- and now widely disparaged -- America's Cup regatta.

That puts the score at 7-1 in the best-of-17 race series, which could end as soon as Tuesday.

Despite a billionaire backer, a far-reaching technology pipeline, and a hand-picked home advantage, things have gone badly for Oracle. Add to that the $13.4 million that San Francisco squandered on this ill-fated regatta as of June, to recoup only $8.4 million from private fund-raisers. It's been a debacle on the water and off.

Things have gone so badly, in fact, that a group planning theatrical protests of the America's Cup and yachting billionaire Larry Ellison have called off the show -- over pity for Ellison.

That's right. The San Francisco Institute of Possibility, which had planned a series of stunts to mock America's Cup, announced Sunday that it would forgo the proceedings.

Executive director Chicken John Rinaldi says that while the race initially provided ample opportunity for satire, it eventually began satirizing itself. "...As disasters kept piling up it just stopped being funny, you know?" he says in a press release detailing all the hi-jinks that would have ensued, had the protest actually happened.

Among them:

A group of fake 19th Century commodores yelling fake nautical jeers at the sailors and spectators.

Large electronic signs to count how much money the city is losing per second.

Larry Ellison look-alike panhandlers, asking spectators for public development rights.

A kissing booth hosted by another Larry Ellison doppelganger, with patrons dressed as Ed Lee.

All of which would have made for a fine production, had the six-member board of San Francisco Institute of Possibility not tabled the plans at its last meeting. According to people present, board members decided their role, as conservators of the arts community in San Francisco, is to "comfort the afflicted, rather than afflict the comfortable."

And as Rinaldi points out, in a race where many sailors dismiss their vessels as"godforsaken deathtraps," "comfortable" may be a point of contention.




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