Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)
I'm beginning to think it's a bit unfair to say that the Occupy Wall Street movement isn't "about" anything. While there's no coherent message or point, it now seems pretty clear that it's about insanity in the public square:
It is not so easy to tell the protestors with crazy ideas from the crazies with the protestors. Indeed, New York City cops hauled a 24-year-old occupier to Bellevue Hospital this weekend for evaluation after he scaled a 30-foot sculpture and demanded cigarettes, a coat, the mayor's resignation, and hiring quotas for bisexual police and firefighters.
Occupy Wall Street? Occupy a nuthouse.
In Portland, a syringe-wielding man threatened to inject the AIDS virus into terrified demonstrators. In Toronto, a young man was arrested for aggressively smelling a woman's feet and attempting to pass off his bottled urine as an energy drink. In New York, photographers caught a demonstrator defecating on a police car.
It kinda makes you wonder if all those lefties who were so eager to trumpet the rise of their own tea party movement are regretting having hitched their wagon to this horse, no? Not that there still won't be those who defend it and suggest that it is growing in popularity and that people are beginning to understand the "passion is the message." No, it's not. It's passion. It is totally devoid of a message.
And there will be those who say, "You can't judge OWS by just pointing to some fringe figures." Funny, isn't it? These folks saying that are the same ones who judged the tea party not based on fringe figures but upon imaginary ones. They made up racist derelicts running around shouting epithets at black Congressmen and spitting on people are then judged the entire movement on a figment of their own imaginations. But even still, as Daniel Flynn points out, it's not the ?fringe' folks that really humiliate the OWS crowd:
A kitchen laborer who violently objected to fellow Occupy Oakland culinary workers awarding themselves two pieces of chicken instead of the one piece allotted to other camp dwellers found himself surrounded by a mob demanding his banishment. After initially pulling a knife on the posse, the exile returned to the camp with tape covering his mouth as a protest of the protestors' intolerance. A whack upside the head with a piece of wood ensured his permanent departure. A policeman told the Oakland Tribune that he found it "interesting for a group that claims to be against current civilization and rules to set up a far more oppressive society than our own."
In Salt Lake City, the homeless are upset that activists squat in the parks where they traditionally squat. The new squatters, in turn, express annoyance at the continued presence of the old squatters. "There seems to be a daily increase in the homeless population staying in the park, as word spreads about the free food, allowed camping, and other conveniences," reports activist Phoebe Bergvall. "When a woman delivered several pairs of new socks for OccupySLC, an obviously homeless man grabbed for a pair. She stated that while she also helps the homeless, her intention for these socks was in support for the protesters."
In Boston, the optionally homeless aren't getting along with the chronically homeless. "They're getting more than they need and trading it off," Jackson Bush at the information tent told the Boston Herald. "What we noticed is all the new jackets are disappearing quickly." Protestors report thefts of clothing, electronics, and other items. "It's turning into us against them," thirty-six-year-old Andrew Warner explained to the Herald. "They come in here and they're looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don't bring anything to the table at all. It gets really frustrating."
Incredible, isn't it? Raging against the machine, they have created their own machine. Standing up to the man, they have become the man. Resisting corporate greed, they have incorporated greed. The foolishness in OWS then isn't so much the fringe folks who relieve themselves in public, but the ?less nutty' ones.
Socialism working for those who don't; critics of police brutality meting out police brutality; some chicken dinners proving more equal than others; assertions of property rights by people who don't believe in property rights; would-be saviors scapegoating the would-be saved: this is 20th-century socialism in microcosm.
Advocating principles you can't live by is surely more insane than scaling a street sculpture to issue a litany of demands. The squad-car occupooer and energy-drink occupeer have nothing on the true-believing occupiers.
Exactly right. Which is why there are a lot of left-leaning folks who are slowing trying to back away from this rabble rousing bunch of unkempt, malcontented neo-hippies before someone can snap a picture of them.
Hey, wasn't it this group that President Obama embraced and supported? Imagine.