Friday, September 30, 2011

Rant of the Day

A passionate Dish reader on the Occupy Wall Street demonstration:
When you can't answer what you're for and against and you want everyone else to fill in the blanks and you do nothing to keep your message from getting muddled by the very people you're opposing and it happens every time, then maybe you should get out of the protesting game altogether. Oh, and by the way, presentation matters. Nader's Raiders knew that. They knew you had to get your haircut, wear nice pants and a nice shirt. You needed to look sharp and respectable and unquestionable on issues of adult-hood. Guess what, wearing a camo-wife beater doesn't make you an individual. It makes you someone who won't make basic changes for a cause.

It's simple: dress better. Stop with cardboard signs. Have a specific message. Have goals both attainable and not. Refuse to move. Participate in active, targeted civil disobedience. Censor those from outside of the movement who are seeking to confuse it. I know you're uncomfortable with all of that, but I'm uncomfortable with having our dear corporate masters be able to point to white college kids with dread-locks, and sleeveless shirts as evidence of these 'godd*mn hippies.' We need to be unimpeachable in terms of character and approach. And we're not. We're just waiting to be co-opted by men like Cornel West who just want to be part of a moment.

But this isn't about moments. If you want something done, you can get something done. But you have to be willing to do that. You have to be willing to drop philosophy. You have to be willing to shave and cut your hair and wear a shirt and pants and shoes. If you want this to work, then a Midwestern mom has to look on her television and see young kids, nice kids and adults that aren't all too different from them in terms of attire or temper with a clear message. Every interview they give should be about a kid whose mom and dad lost their house to a bank foreclosure that was put forward illegally on a house that had a loan on it that was evaluated at sub-prime rates even though they qualified for something better. Every interview should be the saddest, most direct story and it should reinforce that these are people with families and a stake.

You know who else got the message on "presentation matters"?  Martin Luther King, Jr. and the black civil rights movement.  Few things can turn me off more than an unfocused rant about EVERYTHING that's wrong with leveled by someone whose appearance undercuts every articulate thing he/she might say.  I'm all for a demonstration by well-meaning American citizens who want to change the way things are done, but no one who would otherwise agree with you is going to give you a moment's attention when you remind him of all the stoners he knew in high school and college.

No comments: