Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy: The remake

The "occupy" melodramatists and the movie industry have much in common. Both are running on empty for new ideas. The best they can come up with is new versions of old titles.

One of the oddest things about the World of Ironies we currently inhabit is that the New, or new New Protesters, profess to be victimized by the Baby Boomer generation. According to the script, their greed and reckless entitlement spending has left younger people hard done by. 

So who do these brave new disestablishmentarians emulate? The Boomers in their 1960s incarnation.

I haven't myself been to any of the "occupy" events -- I don't like crowds -- but I've seen quite a few photos and videos by now. It all looks jolly familiar. Peace signs, anti-war signs, eat-the-rich signs, f*** the politicians signs. Nietzche banged on about the Eternal Return. I'm almost a believer. These protests are pretty much the same as their counterparts in Berkeley I witnessed, and sometimes participated in, back in the '60s. Okay, there is one visible difference. In Berkeley they hadn't yet decided that the height of cool was to imitate New Guinea headhunters and decorate your body with tattoos.


Now, the New York Daily News informs us, the circle is complete. Mr. Old Left himself, Pete Seeger -- Pete Seeger! -- has lent his 92-year-old presence to an occupy-themed march. The story doesn't say if one of his acolytes carried his banjo so he could strum and croak out "The Banks Are Made of Marble." With a guard at every door, and the vaults are filled with silver that the miners sweated for, etc. "And I'd like you all to sing along!"

Oh, and Arlo Guthrie. Check. The gang's all here. Let's have a hootenanny.

To be clear: The system has crashed. The economic Day of Judgment has arrived. Serious reform is needed. But it's not going to come from the occupiers. They know nada about history, economics, human nature. All they know is what their left-wing teachers have drummed into them for decades, that the world's problems are down to 1 percent of the population, the Wall Street ogres (FDR's "malefactors of great wealth"). Make love, not money.

This is the bumper sticker generation, the privileged children and grandchildren of the detested Boomers. They're dead against entitlements, except their own; life is supposed to be easy, the government should take care of everything and leave them with no need for gut checks, no choices forced on them except which ring tone they want for their smart phone, which "skin" for their iPod.

They did cartwheels over a mountebank who promised them hope and change. They thought diversity was the ultimate value, there should be no borders, and everyone who could sign their name should be able to get a mortgage courtesy of the Community Reinvestment Act.

They understand something is wrong. But their pitiful education, their popular culture, has left them with no analytical tools to sort out the story beyond slogans, no considered ideas about what to do. Their demands are a Turkish omelette of utopian causes. 

Well, occupiers, there were villains on Wall Street and enablers in Congress. But it was your entitlement mentality -- for the welfare class, for illegal immigrants, and most of all for yourselves -- that has you sleeping in the park. Think about it, if you can possibly disengage yourself from the Alinskyite propaganda you've been force-fed. And I'd like you all to sing along.



Van Wijk said...

I don't like crowds

Smart man.

Is it possible that each of these Occupy events consists entirely of NYU grad students and aging Marin County hippies? Because that's what it looks like.

In Berkeley they hadn't yet decided that the height of cool was to imitate New Guinea headhunters and decorate your body with tattoos.

To each his own. But we were tattooing ourselves for thousands of years before making contact with the headhunters.

Van Wijk said...

That was a particularly powerful article, Rick. Well done.

Rick Darby said...

Thanks, Van Wijk.

I hadn't yet read them when I posted the entry above, but two other writers have found comic relief in Pete Seeger, here and here.

I almost feel sorry for the old fool.

Anonymous said...

"malefactors of great wealth"

Teddy, not Franklin.