Friday, October 28, 2011


From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
I confess to being driven insane this past month by the spectacle of television pundits professing to be baffled by the meaning of Occupy Wall Street. Good grief. Isn’t the ability to read still a job requirement for a career in journalism? And as last week’s inane “What Do They Want?” meme morphs into this week’s craven “They Want Your Stuff” meme, I feel it’s time to explain something: Occupy Wall Street may not have laid out all of its demands in a perfectly cogent one-sentence bumper sticker for you, Mr. Pundit, but it knows precisely what it doesn’t want. It doesn’t want you.

What the movement clearly doesn’t want is to have to explain itself through corporate television. To which I answer, Hallelujah. You can’t talk down to a movement that won’t talk back to you.

Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message. It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another.
The media and a good many other folks want simple explanations from the protestors for why they are there, sound bites for those with short attention spans...sort of like a political campaign that stays on message. Of course, the protestors at OWC have the sound bites on their signs. But wait! The signs are often amateur jobs, obviously not paid for by the Koch brothers and their ilk, and they don't all say the same thing. Oooh, it's so confusing. People there have lost their jobs; others have lost their homes to the banks and mortgage companies; young people coming out of school or university can't find jobs. The homeless are present. The miseries are many. And to confuse the situation even further, there are those who are fairly well off themselves but wish to join in solidarity with the dispossessed, because, as Archbishop Óscar Romero, the martyr and advocate for the poor in San Salvador, said, “Let those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless.” And who knows? They/we could be next.
Hey, occupiers: You’re the new news. And even better, by refusing to explain yourselves, you’re actually changing what’s reported as news. Because it takes a tremendous mental effort to refuse to see that the rich are getting richer in America while the rest of us are struggling. Maybe the days of explaining the patently obvious to the transparently compromised are finally behind us.

By refusing to take a ragtag, complicated, and leaderless movement seriously, the mainstream media has succeeded only in ensuring its own irrelevance.

The media pundits look sillier and sillier - as if they didn't look silly enough already.

See the splendid cartoon titled 'The Silent Majority'.


  1. Awfully literate bunch down in Zuccotti Park. I recently saw signs quoting Balzac and Hannah Arendt as well as Hillel and Mark Twain.

    The reason they don't talk to the corporate media as a group (they will as individuals and speaking only for themselves) is to avoid being co-opted.

  2. Right, Counterlight, and they're wise to do so.

  3. They're freezing up this way --snow expected in NYC -The mayor is being pressured by the tea party in Richmond --to shut it down because they had to pay for a permit and 'those people' have not. The mayor went to visit Occupy --sent the health inspector early this morning --the site passed the health inspection!

    I visited again today --it is oh so cold --sleeting.... they all continue in my prayers.

  4. Poor dears. They have my prayers, too.

  5. Our mayor showed his support by seizing their generators. He's determined to shut the thing down and still come out with his hands clean.

  6. Bloomberg may, in the end, succeed in shutting them down, but his hands will be dirty. What was the reason given for the seizure?

  7. Well, yes. The powers can always fall back on health and safety.


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