My God, what’s happened?
*We could alienate the very people who might be our supporters.
Reality check: That’s the kind of people you want to suck up to—people who would be offended by a peaceful occupation of a park? With friends like these…
*It’s divisive. It sets up a separation between some kinds of human beings and others, between the 99% and the 1%. It’s not Buddhist enough. It’s not Zen. It’s not spiritual.
Reality Check: The super rich don’t want you. They don’t like you. They don’t need your sympathy. They’ve hired guys to beat you up. They’re not impressed by your attempt at brotherhood. You have lice. That limo coming at you? It isn’t going to slow down.
*They think they’re the first people to ever do this? Where were they back in [whenever] when we were [young]. They have no sense of history. We’ve been slogging away in the trenches all these years.
Reality check: Seriously? You want to emphasize how humorless and old you are? As they say on the television machine, “can I ask you a question? Shut up!”
*I feel left out.
Reality check: Go to a general assembly and tell everyone you need a lot of hugs.
*The Occupiers don’t have clear demands that a capitalist society can enter in a concise capitalist-style checklist and present on TV.
Reality check: Yeah. And yet there they are. Kind of unnerving, isn’t it?
*Dirty hippies. Who’s going to pay the costs of throwing out the personal belongings of the Occupiers? Hazmat suit deployment isn’t cheap.
Reality check: Nazi eugenicists shared your pain in the 1920’s. Obsession with cleanliness, ja. Racial hygiene, check. Nordic purity, check. Dirty Jews, jawohl. Everyone’s dirty who isn’t on our team. We’re pure, and the blond hair with highlights doesn’t hurt. Zer iz uh poopie in ze toilet and vee must scrub it and retain zee anal formation.
*Supposed to get a permit. Supposed to tell your Congressperson. Supposed to get approval. Supposed to think about votes. Supposed to do it the way it’s always been done. Supposed to have leaders.
Reality check: Daddy said no. Now what, little boy?
*Occupying land as an expression of free speech is a non-starter in the courts.
Reality check: Occupying a seat in the front of the bus was a non-starter in white courts. And yet we have all these black people in the fronts of buses now. Funny thing happened on the way to the front of the bus. The most important point about leaders and people who think they’re allowed to judge others is that they’ll follow when they have to. We occupy the space because it’s ethical, not because some rich judge surrounded by lackeys or because some politician surrounded by suitcases of cash from K Street gives permission. You think your soft-palate little democracy ga-ga goo-goo arrangement is the only arrangement of human affairs that exists? We didn’t sign on to yours.
*I want a different percentage number than 99. Some of those 99 are jerks too, you know.
Reality check: Yes dear. Thank-you for sharing. 69 isn’t quite the same somehow.
*OWS is a joke. More bleating. It will fail miserably. Nothing will change. The reason is obvious: the whole point of OWS is to further reinforce the idea that the real power is with the 1%. We have to beg them to change things. We have to demand change from them. They have to agree to it. But it is not the 1% who are bruising us with batons, burning us with chemical sprays, electrocuting us with stun guns, and worse. Who are these cops hiding behind the armor and masks? Are they not our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews and mothers and fathers and cousins? Are they not us?
My response: Ouch. This is the sleeper embedded here in the middle of the article. Hopefully the difference in font size will come through to indicate “sleeper.” Embedded in the article. Embedded, perhaps, in the middle of the movement. The words are those of a man in Argentina with the middle initial F, and the words aren’t dumb. Personally I take the 99/1 split to be about wealth distribution and spectacular greed, but if the movement means that the 99/1 split is that we’re the 99 kids and we have to supplicate the daddy leader, then Middle-F’s right and the power of the movement will be neatly diverted back to the belief in daddies and voting. Back to K Street. Back to the belief that it was Hitler who actually killed people rather than his willing executioners. Back to the belief that Bush was pure evil and tremendously important and we have to get the big O (as Lacan might say) to save us. Seventy-five folks braved rain Wednesday night, for example, to occupy or Occupy the Supremes. Oh-O—the big O again. Reminds me of the great O-Bum in the sky, our anal savior, ja. If these folks were occupying the street because it’s right to get in the way of car culture and its massive systemic violence, and it is, or because it’s fun to walk down the street in the rain, and it is, or they’re occupying some building because there are idiots in it who think they’re the Supremes, and apparently there are, then we have a movement. But if they’re just off to daddy’s house to beg and supplicate, then we’ve got a problem. Washington is a city filled with people who never grew up. These lesser gods are the last people to whom anyone should send pleas, petitions, supplications, or indeed any form of prayer at all. On a purely practical note, it is for this reason that seewalk-the-ungoogleable thinks that while occupying everywhere is a good idea, Washington should be the last place where we should bother. Now back to our regularly scheduled article:
*Plenty of these people in these Occupy encampments are on drugs, use needles, and have mental health problems.
Reality check: Isn’t it great? What a wonderful testimony to the kind of people who Occupy, that the downtrodden and the towntrodden and the messed up feel a sense of belonging and solace here, where there are so many people who can help direct them to social services in a supportive, caring way, or offer a bowl of soup, or just hang out.
*You people can’t count. You said five reasons.
*I can’t walk my dog in the park. Reality check: Oh, you have a dog that doesn’t like kisses and getting petted? That probably is a problem.
David Ker Thomson is a dirty street person with mixed metaphors and an unkempt stable of stock phrases that fall harshly upon the Ontario ear and he hasn’t used shampoo since 2008. His coats have duct-tape patches and he has two sons who swear a lot which and whom he finds cute. He is preparing, for Christmas delivery on the steps of the Cathedral Church of St. James, a jeremiad entitled “I Am a Dirty Man.” He lives the most expensive city—and lives in the most expensive city—in the nation of ’nada, and does so on less than $30,000/year or something. Some do it on far less. He abhors typographical errors. He claims to be the author of “American Friends” (2008) which can now be re-read as an I-told-you-so. dave dot thomson at utoronto dot ca