I'm not gonna lie; #Occupy annoys me. Not because I disagree or anything. And certainly not because it's physically or logistically inconvenient, though my job will take me to the neighborhood around the World Bank one day this week, which may well be entertaining. But it's not like #Occupy Gaithersburg is on the way. No one's dumb enough to try to occupy Gaithersburg.
Of course #Occupy is intellectually inconvenient: Though I try very hard to leave complicity-whinging to others, how guilty should I feel about the obvious need for massive wealth redistribution? Is my bank evil, and is the bank I'd switch to, if I weren't so fucking lazy, simply less evil? How will my autistic son fare in the new world order, which will presumably include far fewer of the processed crunchy, salty chip-type foods that are, along with pizza and McDonalds, the great mass of his diet? Can I just pay some more taxes and avoid actually getting lined up against the wall like the motherfucker that I am?
But I'm callous, and it's easy for me to give these questions (other than the one about Bam-Bam) only a few moments' thought before I dash off to the next part of the thrill ride that is my day-to-day existence. So that's not it. What annoys me about #Occupy is the massive outburst of fucktardery it engenders.
No Message: I keep reading about how #Occupy is doomed to fail because it has no message. The level of lazy or obtuse it requires to not be able to discern a message here is stupefying. Look. My personal favorite, for reasons known to those of you who know me as something other than a cartoon Internet rock star, is "You Know Things are Messed Up When Librarians Start Marching." Super bonus points to the librarian in question for fucking up the capitalization, not that that's relevant to the matter at hand. "Close Corporate Tax Loopholes, Tax Religious Groups, End the Wars, Legalize Weed, and Bring Back Arrested Development" is also exceedingly awesome.
So the movement is stupid because not everyone is protesting about the same specific symptom of our culture, our economy, our governance? The movement is irrelevant because you're too lazy to read the signs and discern some obvious themes? Get bent, asshole, but more to the point, shut the fuck up.
The same goes for the linked complaint about the movement's lack of discernable leadership. Look, I think the Greek demos style consensus model is pretty fucking lame, and not tremendously effective in the sense of focus. So the fuck what? Friend Jack Crow makes, as a general proposition, some engaging arguments about power (I don't agree with him when it comes to function, but I find it hard to argue with him about the dynamic). What, exactly, is wrong with letting #Occupy experiment with actualizing shared power--especially when all it's sharing is power over how to protest?
Dirty Unwashed Hippies: OMGWTFBBQ, how incredibly fucking dreary. Edroso does a better job with this than most of the other bloggers to whom I pay attention. Hippie-bashing (except as practiced by Eric Cartman) is every bit as massively retarded as it was when Richard Fucking Nixon pioneered it. It's especially totemic for fans of police riots. Like...oh. Nixon. Never mind. I don't know what it is about peoples' hair that makes other people want to shoot them. It's pretty fucking psychopathic, no? Unless you're talking about Kyle Beckerman. Someone hold that useless shit down while I shave his head, please.
The dirty unwashed hippie meme has begot the safety and sanitation meme that many cities are using as justification for their police riots. This is pretty fucking simple to me. The First Amendment does not guarantee the right of peaceable assembly as long as you don't take a dump in the park. It doesn't guarantee the right of peaceable assembly as long as you leave room in the park for mommies and their baby carriages. Camping out at McPherson Square is not the same fucking thing as crying wolf in a crowded theatre. Using some turds on the ground as an excuse to suppress the Constitution is like...well, it's not like anything. It is what it is, and the notion that you're in the wrong if you're attacked by rioting police, that you deserve to be shot or gassed or beanbagged or whatever when you're attacked by the state is simply unAmerican. At least it is if you're the Tea Party, which is peopled by citizens who think that the Second Amendment is there to defend them from the government.
I happen to think that, if you're at McPherson Square and the police attack (they won't--it's not surprising or coincidental that DC is among the places where state-sponsored violence hasn't erupted, because My Local Law Enforcers, for all their flavors and stripes and kit, have Been There more times than I can count, and they're not dumb enough to be provoked, which is both gratifying and scary), your two reasonable and lawful options are to run the fuck away, or put your hands on your head and wait to be arrested. I'm not surprised that some people choose, under that particular stress, to throw shit at the cops, or otherwise resist violently. That they do does not obviate that they were, themselves, assaulted by the state on specious grounds, and it doesn't invalidate the movement.
You're Under Arrest for Closing Your Account: Yeah, really. I got to this at a chain of links that began at LGM and ended with a video from #Occupy Santa Cruz. Two protesters entered a BoA branch in Santa Cruz to close their accounts. No following word on whether, when they left the signs outside the next day, they were allowed to close their accounts, but it says here at Alternet that BoA charges a fee for account closure.
The protesters in that video weren't arrested--in fact, it appears that the Santa Cruz cops, at least the two in the video, aren't stupid. Not so (allegedly) at a Citibank in New York, where Citibank officials (allegedly) locked protesters in and had them arrested as they tried to close their accounts. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with these people? How fucking stupid/arrogant is "I've got your money, shut up, I'm calling the cops"?
My question earlier was not entirely jokified; the money from which our family operates is in accounts at CapOne, which purchased Chevy Chase, a local/metro operation, a little over a year ago. We're credit union members (Ilse is, as you may recall, a unionized public employee), but that's a pain in the arse logistically. I'm also a USAA member, and I could bank there. While I have the impression that it's not in the same class of banking evil as the big fellas, I don't pay enough attention to know.
You're Fired: BFF and many others wrote last week about Lisa Simeone, who got fired by a production company associated with NPR for her #Occupy-related activities. She may or may not have been unfired; I lost track. NPR may or may not have gotten her fired; I'll never know. Lisa Simeone was no longer a journalist; all of her professional broadcast activities were about music.
More laterly, or maybe concomitantly, a journalist named Caitlin Curran went to an #Occupy protest in New York, and held up a sign, and got photographed, and the photo went all Internetty, and she got canned as a freelance Web producer by The Takeaway, a public radio production of, it appears, no consequence or integrity (hint: their Web site features a NYT semen-exchange widget). Pearl-clutching commentary on her piece on Gawker sets a pretty rigid standard for journalists, apparently allowing no research or opinion of any kind. Of course, we could just tell that to Fox News, but TBogg focuses it even better, reminding us that snarky, stupid #Occupy-basher Erin Burnett, of notoriously liberal mainstream newsfeces outlet CNN, is engaged to a Citibank executive.
In Conclusion: Of course, this is all just alternately formed, and better-formed, inconvenient intellect, so all that up top was a fucking lie, at the bottom, like it usually is. And of course I still have no desire to blow up our culture to fix anything. Of course I'm willing to have my life changed some--I'm serious about paying more taxes, about redistributing some of my wealth (which is not, to me or mine, substantial, but is far greater than that of a ridiculous percentage of humans) in some meaningful way, and assuming I'm not the only one going up against the wall--it's not like I'm even close to the one percent.
Here's the biggest intellectual inconvenience: Do those limits to my willingness make me a dick? I don't think so. I don't know if most Occupiers think so, either. But I'm watching and listening, because that's sure something I'd like to know. That others, many better off than me, some less so, are so fucking dismissive of the movement, is their poverty.
The Accounting Beyond the Account
1 day ago