Monday, October 10, 2011

Days of Rage, Evenings of Indifference

above: uploaded 17 Sep 2011, below: 20 September 2011

below CNN:Erin Burnett: Wall St. protesters vague on details 4 October 2011

Slate, "Even the Protesters at Occupy Wall Street Are Confused About What They’re Protesting"
(This article was also titled: Vacant: The Occupy Wall Street protests and the creation of the post-Obama left. By David Weigel Monday, Oct. 3, 2011, at 3:24 PM ET)

Douglas Rushkoff, CNN: "Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it"
updated 1:09 PM EST, Wed October 5, 2011

Peter Hart,, "Erin Burnett Hears the Critics--But Still Misses the Point"

Dennis Perrin writes:
I admire these kids. They're off their asses. Agitating. Arguing. Providing a living example. There's passion and feeling in their dissent. They're willing to be punished. It's easy to mock them, but how many of you would take their place? Primarily when the cops attack?
Our owners fear any rustling from below. They'll throw whatever they have at those unsatisfied with our paradise. There are signs that the Wall Street protests will expand nationally. If so, get ready for serious shit slinging.

Yet I have doubts. The class war from above demoralizes as much as it incites. Countless people have surrendered. Faded from view. To demonstrate or occupy corporate turf doesn't seem like a wise option. You'll get beaten and arrested. For what? Making mortgage payments is tough enough.

I've been checking for signs of any thing related to Occupy Wall Street. They have links dedicated to Nancy Pelosi, Chris Christie, "Is the Supreme Court too liberal?", "Kids of illegal immigrants", even "Is Social Security constitutional?" But Occupy Wall Street? Thus far, zilch.

There are, admittedly, some items that may be peripherally related: "Can you trust Washington?" and "Distribution of money and wealth" but these are summaries of older and unrelated polls. You'd think the establishment media was blithely unaware of 'OWS',(Ha!) but one assumes they've been hoping the kids would just go away. I'm not even sure how accurate it is to characterize them as all or mostly kids but either way they didn't just go away, at least they haven't yet. One assumes the powers that be have a certain patience threshold with respect to how long OWS may go on, but it hasn't been reached yet. They recognize it's in their interest to seem indifferent at this point.

Finally, CNN released a poll today about OWS, saying that roughly half the population has heard of the protests going on. If a poll conducted after this has been going on for over two weeks shows 49% of respondents still haven't even heard of "Occupy Wall Street", how many do you suppose were even aware of the various one-day demonstrations in D.C. over the years, whether related to the Iraq war or other things ? 20%? 15%?

(I mean the noncommercial ones of course, mounted by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and their ilk, as opposed to those media spectacle faux demonstrations sponsored by Fox News or Comedy Central.)

It reminds me of the conceit of looking for "untainted" jurors for high-profile murder trials. I've always wondered about that, why it's supposed to be preferable to have incurious lunkheads as stewards of the juroring, or whatever you call it.

Poll: Half the country has heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests

An ORC International Caravan Poll released Monday[pdf link] indicates that 51% of Americans say they've heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement, with 49% saying they haven't heard about the demonstrations, which started in New York City 24 days ago and have spread to cities across the country.

According to the survey, 27% say they agree with the movement's overall position on the financial system and social change, with 19% saying disagree with Occupy Wall Street on those issues. Fifty-four percent of those questioned have no firm opinion about Occupy Wall Street.

The pdf link CNN provides barely scratches the surface. Maybe there were many other questions. I'm curious how people's views correlate to age, whether or not they usually vote, to level of education, and obviously viz-a-viz employment status and income. The perennial drum-beating about how persons with bachelor's degrees making so much more over the course of a lifetime than high school grads has struck me as a bit fishy for some time, and I wonder about how those numbers are derived.

A detour, of sorts: Discussing Slavoj Žižek means you get to use diacritical marks, which is always fun. I've read people like John Caruso and BDR saying he's an overblown fraud, but have tried to reserve judgment because I haven't read any of his books, just an occasional essay in The Guardian or Counterpunch. But he comes across as a clueless, egocentric jerk in this linked 2 part Youtube video [via] of his visit to OWS from this Sunday. Why do the kids co-operate with his insistence that they repeat everything he says, like extras in The Life of Brian? So Fox News can make fun of them?

Cain: Not rich? No job? Blame yourself (CNN Political Ticker)

Herman Cain: "Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."

( And he's supposed to be one of the less wacky candidates.) I hope somebody asks him about the phenomenon of CEOs occasionally getting performance bonuses for trimming their workforces, in light of the above.

He's right though, that ultimately the Occupy Wall Streeters represent a critique of capitalism, but I suspect that now that the establishment media has their angle of "the liberal tea party", this critique will be increasingly difficult to discern for people watching on television. At any rate, it probably behooves us to mistrust our own reactions sometimes, when we are convinced

"the American People are so...[insert quality x]"

because the media often works to make us give up on each other.

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At October 11, 2011 3:43 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

Who IS this person? I don't watch the "news" on television, and had never heard of Erin Burnett. Is she some kind of Valley Girl, or what? Vapid, smart-ass little cheerleader type with that idiotic accent, that perfect hair--what's going on? And the teeney bopper ignorance of the language "less than a dozen." Good grief, if this is what America is watching, we might as well hand in our peace signs and give up now.

At October 11, 2011 9:37 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Mimi,
Actually Burnett is considered something of a big deal in the cable television news world. She was with CNBC for several years until CNN recently lured her to their network, and they've been promoting her new show with them pretty heavily.

I wanted to make a joke about how, while she's cuter than Margaret Thatcher, she nevertheless represents the same view of the world but left it out. I think she worked as a financial analyst for Citigroup or one of the other companies for a few years before she landed the CNBC gig.

At October 12, 2011 5:23 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I stopped watching television years ago and haven’t missed it one bit. I don’t like the way television is shaping our culture, sort of promoting the status quo of idiotic blather.

I don’t know what will come of OWS but I have read somewhere that it is people of all ages and from very different walks of life though it seems various groups are seeking to gain some kind of advantage from it sort of like BHO and Libya and the so-called Arab Spring. But at least it is nice to see that more people seem to understand who the enemy really is. I think in the end that our masters feel fairly secure in that they run the country backed by a military police force and the fact that they control the justice (so-called) system. But yeah, I think there may be a point where their “tolerance” breaks down. Still, time is likely on their side with winter coming on. I sort of think their ignoring it is just their way of saying “fuck you” to all of us while laughing all the way to the bank.

Another good post, Jonathan.

At October 13, 2011 7:26 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Rob, yeah I think the coming cold weather is the most likely thing that will cause OWS to come undone.

Incidentally on Facebook I have an invite, not sure from whom, to attend OWS in Austin. The invite lists December 3rd as the stop date, although I imagine the weather will likely be milder in early December in South Central Texas than in NYC.

At October 17, 2011 9:47 AM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

It's not the protesters but their probable fate that keeps me away. In the end, the "Vampires": (see Mike Flugennock's recent cartoon) MoveOn, Big Labor, and the rest will take over and suck the life out of the genuine dissenters. They'll buy off/promote a select few and the rest will be sent packing-- to work for Obama or some other self-serving NeoLib shithead. It happens over and over, and I no longer find it worthwhile to expend the energy it takes to get my hopes up.

At October 17, 2011 1:41 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Ms Xeno, I don't doubt that you are right, that the professional left like MoveOn want to co-opt the OWS folks, because they're muscling in on their turf, and calling their legitimacy and relevance into question.

But it also seems pretty clear to me that large numbers of the OWS crowd are there in large part because they have specifically given up on the professional left.

Whether the lefty establishment can do it yet again remains to be seen at this point.

These 2 posts from Ian Welsh might interest you:

"...the professional begging class" 10.7

and 9.29

At October 17, 2011 3:17 PM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

Thanks, JV. I'll definitely give those a look. (It'll be a nice break from yet another pointless trolling of the local want ads, at least.)


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