Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Oh god please stop

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It’s not every day that Mother Jones and RedState will agree on something, but both have done just that when it comes to the professional protesters downtown. Compare Mother Jones’ analysis,

So far, Occupy Wall Street has brought out the usual suspects, as well as the odd Internet millionaire and a few ex-Wall Streeters. But it hasn’t drawn in a wide swath of Americans just yet. That may not be entirely its fault: In the midst of a recession, who’s willing to to take the risk and play hooky from their job or job search to camp out on Wall Street? So far, this is more a movement for dreamers than for middle-class Americans trying to make ends meet.

with Teresa Koch of RedState’s diatribe:

It’s been going on for over a week now (yes, really!) – a lovely little temper tantrum being thrown by a bunch of well-fed white kids who fancy themselves as some sort of modern-day, new age revolutionaries.  They study the Communist Manifesto and hate capitalism in all of its forms because it’s … well – evil, ya know?

As it stands, I should be a prime candidate for participating in this sort of hoopla. Consider: I’m recently laid off for the second time in two years. I’ve had to switch career plans twice in the last six years because of how quickly jobs dried up in what I’ve originally been trained for. Like every other lefty, I’ve watched Democrats live up to their reputation for resolute spinelessness against any form of adversity. And, yet…

I blame the hipsters. It feels almost as if they’ve hijacked what is to many a legitimate grievance in order to pick fights with cops. Hell, I hate the idea of hashtag catchphrase as the Call to Revolution. What about the rest of us who don’t give a flying fuck about Twitter (and don’t have time to read your inane crap)? You know what caused the Arab Spring? Not Twitter. But that’s just a minor quibble. I think this protest wont work is because of two observations:

  1. The folks protesting are, well, not starving. It ain’t as bad as it can be – which is why the narrative has reduced to girls getting maced already at the protest instead of why they’re protesting. Yeah, it’s bad. I know it’s bad. We have record corporate profits and yet the middle class is shrinking. I, like a lot of people, am worrying about where rent’s going to come from. But what’s that in your hand, protester? A $400 Apple-branded consumer product? I thought the point was that we were really hurting. I thought the message was anti-corporate. Why are you waving around a consumer trinket trying to catch videos of cops cracking heads? Because it draws attention from the fact that you’re loaded with shit that people – indeed, those poorer than you – will rob you for.
  2. The message comes first, THEN the protest. Nobody has time to wait for you to figure out what you want while you block traffic and beat drums. The message should be so freaking obvious and staggering in its immediate need that it oozes out of every pore. Instead, we get this stultifying return to form over function where these people chant that they need to be heard and then… mumble. What, have you forgotten? See, I’ve marched in a few protests, and the one thing you do NOT need when you stage a demonstration is a confusion over what you’re demanding. If it’s an anti-Iraq War protest, leave the Free Palestine flags at home. If it’s a message for more jobs, don’t waste your breath on capital punishment.

They think they can get this to swell, but the thing is, the original protesters detract as much as they attract, even among people who may agree with their politics. Sure, I want things to be better, but things need to be worse first before people are willing to take to the streets, and when people take to the streets, they need – need – far better spokesmen than the folks currently downtown.

So, please, hipsters… stop it. You’re not helping.

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