October 14, 2011
Fox News invited me a few days ago to discuss Occupy Wall Street. Greg Gutfeld over at the late-night show Red Eye showed some interest in my column here at Taki, especially the “Alien Pod Person in a Room Full of Leftists” one. A lot of New Yorkers comment on that one. In this city, disagreeing with anything the left says is an invitation to be screamed at by a hysterical person. I’m not exaggerating.
I said yes but decided to go down to Wall Street before the taping. Most of the print media seemed to be portraying the protestors as crusty teenagers who defecate on police cars and grope random women. YouTube videos focused on uninformed college kids who think a government-enabled big-business bonanza can be cured by more government. I hate that shit. Obama hires General Electric’s CEO to chair his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and the next thing we know, GE has a record-breaking year—tax-free. He gives a dying solar company half a billion dollars and they go under. The solution? Let the government make MORE decisions. I don’t get it. So I went down there with a sign that said, “FUCK THE CEOs BUT…” and a T-shirt that said “COMMIES AREN’T COOL” with Che Guevara’s face crossed out.
I was a little nervous when I got there. I’d seen what happens to the likes of me at dinner parties, so who knows what adrenaline-pumped socialist teenagers would do to me at a rally? When I was 18, I wore a Lenin pin in my studded leather jacket and would have loved to stomp some wrinkly old codger in an anti-Che shirt. Still, I raised my sign and resolutely marched into battle. I saw some Latino types playing guitars and yelling about immigration. They had Che hats on, so my shirt and I danced with them. They laughed and carried on. Someone with a mop pushed past me yelling, “Mop coming through!” I thought he was kidding, but he explained they were going to get kicked out if they didn’t clean up. A kid in an anarcho punk shirt snorted at my shirt but clearly didn’t want to fight about it. We’re told it’s just little kids down there, but the ages seemed to range steadily from under ten to over sixty. The old people especially liked my joke, and almost all of them took photos.
I thought the movement had totally skipped over big government’s role in all this, but that’s not the impression I got from the people there. They weren’t there to get violent or shake their fists at the sky. They were there to discuss things. They’re not oblivious to Obama’s incompetence, and they don’t think a few rich people can solve all their problems. My impression is they are there to say, “We’re angry John Thain thinks he deserves $10 million for letting Bank of America take over Merrill Lynch.”
True, their solutions were all over the place. Every time they come up with a charter, there’s a huge debate on whether it “represents” them or not. As Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post the same day I was there, “Occupy Wall Street and its kindred protests around the country are inept, incoherent and hopelessly quixotic. God, I love ’em.” One of the signs said, “Unified Chaos.” As I pointed out on Fox later on, these protests will mark a point in history where the people said they weren’t just mad at big government. My wife works at a museum down there and recently texted me, “I might be projecting, but I felt like the suits getting off at that stop were a little less cocky than usual.”
Daily updates with TM’s latest