Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#4 - We're here. We're Unclear.

OK, I might get some shit for this one, but fuck it. IT'S A JOKE. Seems like about 70% of the folks who saw it laughed, 20% were confused, and 10% shook their heads as if to say, "You're not helping". But three things:

One, I think humor is important. My family always dealt with frustration with humor instead of anger, and it's served me well. Anyone who couldn't make fun of themselves would not last long around my mom.

Second, and more seriously, I actually think the lack of clarity of the demands of the protest is its brilliant secret weapon. Clarity will come.  In the meantime, there's crazy harmony and community down in Zuccotti Park among tons of people who are completely at cross purposes politically—left and right, libertarian and Marxist, the peacenik and the paranoid—but are unified in being pissed off at the right people. The moment the movement becomes about implementing their goals, things get a bit more perilous. The leaderless and improvisational nature of the movement also doesn't give much for the press, who desperately want a narrative, to which to react. Without a foothold, they fill their column inches and air time with something that looks like unintentional debate. It's a brilliant judo move, actually, and I'd encourage #OWS folks to hold off on that list of demands as long as possible, and let the press rack up unforced errors. They find this excruciating.

Third, and certainly not least, Occupy Wall Streeters are actually not that unclear at all.

The reality of what got us here is many, many interwoven things. (This slideshow of charts from Henry Blodget is a tour de force). The longer the conversation goes on about all of those things, the better. Remember, it's not the protestors' job to write the damn legislation. That honor falls to Congress, whom Larry Lessig points out are less popular now than King George was in Revolutionary times. In the meantime, #Occupy. Get used to it. And don't forget to laugh.

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