Occupy Wall Street

The problem with promising to write a two-parter blog is that sometimes, between part one and part two, a current event happens that you’re way more interested in making a comment on. Hopefully none of you were dying to hear more loosely connected ramblings about the stresses and injustices of making a TV commercial.

Based on these signs, this could be a rally for like three or four different things.

Good Lord, how I hate those fucking liberals.

Now, to clarify, I consider myself a liberal. I’m all in favor of gay people being able to get married and women being allowed to have as many abortions as they want. What’s more, to some degree I genuinely support the idea of a big government – particularly one with a large and very well funded Department of Education and Veterans’ Administration (and healthcare, while we’re at it.) I drive a Subaru; I want to drive a Prius.

But I feel like as a liberal my views on certain other liberals are pretty similar to Chris Rock’s views on certain other black people. Namely, every time I turn on the TV there’s some attention mongering Code Pink assholes pitching a hissy fit about a Marine recruiting station, every time I get near a Whole Foods there’s some Henna tattooed philosophy major with an iPhone trying to get me to sign some anti-capitalism petition, and in college I took a class where the professor and virtually all the students engaged in daily, hourlong class discussions in which the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘Nazi’ were used interchangeably.

Point is, there’s a great number of liberals who are calm, well reasoned, rational people who support progressive causes and an intelligent dialogue, and then there’s liberals who love buzzwords, drum circles, and yelling so loud that the opposition doesn’t have a chance to speak. As I’ve said time and again, rhetoric and fundamentalism are the two things that are really wrong with this country, and they happen on both sides of the aisle. It just pisses me off more when liberals do it because I hate seeing my team acting like douchetanks.


It’s these liberals who are usually the ones holding noisy, poorly thought out protests and ultimately wind up getting pepper sprayed, much to my delight – that’s what you get for making my political views look stupid, hippies. In most cases, I’m of the opinion that running around in the street chanting is a good way to get attention and a bad way to enact real change* – remember all those Iraq War protests? How well did those work out?

*The Civil Rights Movement is an obvious exception to this rule.

So then, Occupy Wall Street.

I hate the finance industry too, obviously – everybody does. As Rolling Stone put it, they stole more money than most people can rationally conceive of in a few blinks of an eye, then went to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it. And none of them got punished for it; rather, they got their money back at taxpayer expense, which is basically anti punishment. In the interests of preserving the shitstained tatters of our economy, the TARP bailouts were a good idea, sure, but it’s still sort of offensive to those of us who live by the ‘What Would Batman Do’ credo.

The answer, as usual, is 'punch a dog in the face.'

In all seriousness, if I found out that some of these bankers had been killed or grievously wounded, I’d react about the same way as I did when I found out Osama Bin Laden died. Not to defend Bin Laden or anything, but he did heinous, terrible shit because he had a twisted ideology saying it was okay – the Wall Street people did heinous, terrible shit because they, some of the richest people on Earth, wanted to make more money.

So Occupy Wall Street is really a meeting of two groups I’m not so fond of – attention seeking ass clowns with dreadlocks on one side and human garbage wearing suits on the other. But here, I’m siding with the ass clowns – no contest.

I’ve been following Occupy Wall Street and I have to say, I’ve been fairly impressed – despite their appearance, there seem to be a few pretty intelligent, rational types at work there, and on a base, instinctive level I love the idea of regular people rising up against Wall Street’s excesses, my distaste for protests be damned. What’s more, the movement has been gaining mainstream support from celebrities and labor unions, which gives it a chance of being one of the few protests that actually accomplishes something, provided everyone plays their cards right.

But for Occupy Wall Street to play its cards right, they need to settle on a cohesive fucking message, already. How long has this thing been going on for and they still can’t say specifically and more or less unilaterally how they want Wall Street to change? The whole world is watching, but they’re not going to be watching for very long – if I can’t figure out what the protagonist in a script is fighting for, I lose interest pretty damn quick.

Right now, the closest thing Occupy Wall Street has to a message is, “Wall Street is corrupt and needs to change.” I think this video shows how well that’s working out:

What I see in this video is a bunch of angry people marching around and yelling, and then the camera pans up to a bunch of suits on a balcony, watching with disinterest. Until Occupy Wall Street organize all their power and anger behind one specific goal, the protest is going to be exactly as effective as it looks in this video: The protestors will make noise and the bad guys will watch.

All the yelling and drumming and ideology in the world can’t and won’t stop these fucking crooks from doing what they’re doing and getting rich at it. An agenda, on the other hand, is a stepping stone to change, because it gives people something to yell at their Congressmen about. Occupy Wall Street needs one of these, and fast – soon it will start to snow in Manhattan, and the occupation will be effectively over.

Truman Capps is unlikely to participate in the Los Angeles occupation because it combines his two least favorite things: Crowds and outside.