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Impressions of the new Occupants of Wall Street (absurdity and mockery are a few things that come to mind)


Shades of instigated brutality….

The kid who throws himself into the maws of armed men wears a backpack made in china. And another’s precious albuterol inhaler that is screamed for in full breath, not from lungs collapsed and swollen…. can easily be replaced (by his mother or his wife or his girlfriend or his loved one) down the street at the walgreens where his insurance is accepted.
Black-uniformed arms struggle to subdue a fat young woman thrashing, emboldened by her latest meal.  she screams “get off of me”; her voice echoes against the still bodies of those who have encircled her…. of those whom she claims are entrapping her; the camera catches her doughy double chin as she yells.
And a young man named Jason bends his legs in theatrics (not out of the weakness that starvation brings) as he’s carried off still by those other members of the “99%”

I know somewhere, somehow, this revolution will lead to something.  I know good, incensed hearts spurn revolution and that voices do not have to be gurgled in blood our mouths dry with lack of water to deserve to cry out against corruption… but something is just not quite right….. about this one… this revolution coming from cozy America

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11 thoughts on “Impressions of the new Occupants of Wall Street (absurdity and mockery are a few things that come to mind)

  1. sonicleese says:

    So…. A couple of more days into observing this thing, I realize I painted the entire movement of protesters with a pretty wide brush. I don’t necessarily feel that my initial impressions of what I had seen up to that point were wrong…. the theatrics of certain of the protesters STILL makes me groan…. but I do however believe now that the motivations of the majority of the protesters are rooted in sincerity.

    That said, I still can’t help but scratch my head a little. There is something that just doesn’t seem right…. For the first time yesterday afternoon, I actually heard NPR cover a bit of the story. A young woman, when asked to explain why she was there used the example that “Young people with Master’s Degrees are having to take jobs for $8/hr”….

    …. Now…. what about that seems wrong to me? The notion that a person with a Master’s Degree should be beyond making $8/hr is what seems wrong. It sounds elitist and spoiled. It sounds like she believes that a person with access to higher education is beneath a job that pays so little……..And that seems to sum up the absurdity of what initially struck me as so strange…. and shameful. It sounds like this young woman with one fell swoop of sentence (in the form of plaintive calls for revolution) marginalized the poor just like the fat, white-shirted cats on wall street that are so wrong in her eyes…………..

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  2. Perhaps her point was simply not verbalized as eloquently as you would have liked (or perhaps she did elaborate, but her response was truncated down to this minuscule soundbite).. I don’t think her statement was meant to marginalize the poor for being poor, but rather to point out that the economy is so far gone that a person with a higher education (and presumably associated skills) is being forced to take jobs that do not use those college-acquired skills.

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    • sonicleese says:

      she verbalized fine, and the meat of her perspective was succinct. what she said, and what i heard her say is no different than how you explain her point to be. the difference lies in how we view this point. i feel to put one’s self beyond a certain job because we have an education is a form of marginalization. it is a form of verbalizing class elitism. simply buying into higher education because you feel it entitles you to more money is, in my opinion, ignorant at best…. and arrogant at worst. sure, certain professions require certain levels of education and a wage that correlates. but that’s not what she said… she said (using paucity here) master’s degree (should)= higher pay than the working class…. which makes her protesting corporations and wallstreet absurd and ironic.

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      • As someone with a Master’s degree who will be paying off his student loans for a long, long time, you better believe I expect to make more than $8/hr. That’s WHY I went to grad school–to get paid more. I don’t think that’s elitist.

        But beyond that, the fact is 99% of the people in this country–from high school dropouts to people with PhDs–are making FAR less than the top 1% of this country. Because we have less money, we have less representation in the government. They’re protesting Wall Street because Wall Street is shouldering far less of the country’s burden than we (the 99%) are. Wall Street fucked up the economy and not only got away with it, they got bailed out by the 99% tax payers.

        What’s shocking and depressing to me isn’t that these people are protesting Wall Street, it’s that there aren’t more people protesting.

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      • sonicleese says:

        Apologies for not replying sooner…..

        Regarding the girl’s comments heard on the radio about her friends with masters degrees: Becoming indebted to one of these large financial institutions for an education that you will never be able to afford, does not make you a victim of anything but absurdity…..

        …. Greed is greed. And the solid impressions that I have formed after initially observing these protesters puts the finest point on the reality that every American is guilty of some form of it. In this nation, we are wealthier than any other; we are more powerful than any other; we are fatter than any other; we walk briskly with a sense of entitlement….. and we, as a population, are grossly solipsistic…. And it is wrong.

        In the sharpest sense, these protesters, in their well-made clothes, with lost albuterol inhalers, wanton theatrics and fat bodies who cry out in indignation are grossly accurate reflections of what is ironically wrong with most Americans……. whether we’ve paid more or fewer taxes.

        What’s more, being sadistically entwined with one another, our political system is just as guilty as is “Wall Street”.

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  3. librarygoblin says:

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but it sounds like you’re saying that because Americans are better off than most people in other countries, Americans shouldn’t protest about the inequality of wealth and tax burden. That doesn’t make sense to me. Just because we have it better doesn’t mean there aren’t problems that need to be fixed. And one reason why the protests are going on right now is *because* the government and Wall Street are so firmly entwined.

    I’ve lived in the Third World. I’ve see real poverty. That’s not what these protests are about. These protests are about the inequality of the distribution of wealth (which isn’t an opinion, it’s a statistical fact that the top 1% of this country has the majority of the wealth and resources) and the inequality of the tax burden (which is also a statistical fact). At what point do you think protesting and action is justified? Should we wait for our infant mortality rate to drop even lower? Should we wait for even more Americans to be uninsured and unable to get healthcare that they need? Should we wait for more libraries to close and more public schools to be defunded or shut down? Should we wait for the top 1% to get even richer and pay even less in taxes? Should we wait for more corporate regulations to be dropped? Do we need one more oil spill in the gulf with the guilty company getting off scott free?

    I’ll admit, I take this personally, because if I had the money and could get the time off work, I’d be out with the protestors in New York right now. What you may see as “privileged people mouthing off because they just want more,” I see as “people who have realized that just because we may have some creature comforts thrown our way, we’re grossly exploited by the top 1% in this country and are being rendered politically powerless by Wall Street’s influence over the government.” If it’s greedy to want a more equal distribution of wealth and tax burden…I don’t even know what to say to that.

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    • sonicleese says:

      Feeling entitled to things we can’t afford, credit card debt, credit card spending, general debt, obesity rates in children and adults, dollars spent in fast food and eating out, luxuries, cable tv, palaces that house custard joints and fountains in front of banks, 300 thread count back packs, million dollar sports arenas for high school sports, state of the art buildings that house books and technology, sub-urban sprawl, exorbitant water usage, waste, power demands and a me first mentality (should I go on?) The middle class is part of the problem… The American public is part of the problem… The american public helped create the problem and are now experiencing the backlash of our own greed……

      You see, my impressions of this protest stem from the fact that I just don’t believe that the American population is exempt from blame. We have not been blindsided by some unforeseen catastrophic event. We helped create the problem by our own greed and self interest. Financial institutions, entertainment companies, gas companies, oil companies, nuclear power companies, plastics…. They’ve simply provided the supply; they simply have provided an avenue to the things in high demand, those simple, um, “creature comforts”. Our relationship with this supposed tyrannical Wall Street has been blatantly symbiotic. Supply and demand, Josh is not an opinion…. it’s a fact. So… yes… let’s dismantle the current distribution of wealth and tax burden and success. And why don’t we start with the middle class……

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      • librarygoblin says:

        You think these protests are about entitlement? Seriously? I don’t see it that way at all. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the way the American media is reporting it, because the American media (even NPR) is owned by or relies on the top 1%. When the Tea Parties has a smaller protest about how “taxes are too high,” the US media is all over it, giving it some kind of validity. But if people protest that US corporations are screwing us, the press either ignores it or reports it as some privileged, whiny teenagers and perpetually-mouthy hippies.

        Yes, the American public as a whole has overspent and overused. No argument there. But it’s not the middle class right now who are overspending and overusing things. Hell, there’s barely a middle class right now. Our generation is doing worse than our parents were. That’s not because we’ve overspent, it’s because what we’re paid and what job benefits we get haven’t kept up with inflation and unemployment. When people can’t keep up with their credit card debt, their student loans, their rent or mortgages, nobody bails them out. But Wall Street gets a free bail out, paid for by the taxes of the middle class.

        You want to talk about entitlement for things we can’t afford? Let’s talk about tax breaks and loopholes that allow major banks and other corporations to not only pay NO taxes but to also get tax subsidies from the government, while the middle and lower classes struggle to pay their own taxes. Let’s talk about politicians who say it’s unAmerican to tax oil companies while they simultaneously cut social programs for being “a waste of tax payer dollars.” Let’s talk about the top 1% who say returning to the taxes of the Clinton years (which would still be incredibly uneven) would cause problems in society while fighting to have arts programs cut and social services–which benefit the middle and lower classes–gutted. The protests are against the entitlement of the top 1%, nor for the entitlement of the middle class!

        Personally speaking, I know I’ve overspent and I’m not asking anyone to bail me out or give me what I don’t deserve. What I want is for the top 1% to not control our government, to stop giving them what they don’t deserve, to stop their entitlement.

        It’s not the middle class that caused the housing collapse. It’s not the middle class that has caused unemployment to be so high. It’s not the middle class that has brought this country to a situation that’s closer to the Great Depression than we’ve ever been. This situation came about because banks and other financial corporations were playing fast and loose with our money, they screwed up, they got bailed out, but nothing has changed to make sure things don’t get worse and or it doesn’t happen again.

        But as for entitlement…yes, I think the middle and lower classes are entitled to free health care. I think the middle and lower classes are entitled to a strong social safety net, so that people aren’t forced to worry about how they’ll eat or where they’ll live if they lose their jobs. I think the lower and middle classes are entitled to a job, free education. These things are all under attack by the top 1% and the politicians they bank roll.

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      • librarygoblin says:

        And I think that’s all I have to say on this matter. I should just stop now. I really, really offended by what you’re saying here, so I should probably just walk away.

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      • sonicleese says:

        I don’t think you should be offended…. Why take it personally? Let what I’ve had to say either embolden your own beliefs or give you cause to question them. Your input has caused me to do the latter….. However, ultimately, they do not change my mind about the perceptions I have formed about competitive capitalism at it’s worst and the American middle class’s role in it. Take a walk around any large intersection in Southern Johnson County and it waves in your face….. The American middle class has been gobbling up goods in the form of food, energy, loans, capitol, land….. And it was bound to go very very wrong. And it did. And now we’re shocked? I’m not saying that the things that have occurred within the guiltiest financial institutions should go without punishment… I am just saying that what’s been going on should not be viewed as some meteor out of the sky that has hit some poor unsuspecting population. Our population bred, bought into and fed the greed…… EVERYONE ought to be holding themselves accountable for what’s gone wrong. And I’m sorry, I am not going to placate for a western population who spends more in one year on their pets, than is spent on one human in Bangledesh. You wanna talk about redistribution? We haven’t had creature comforts thrown our way, we have bartered and stolen in our own way to get them…. The initial protesters that I posted about visually epitomized (for me) these things…..

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  4. sonicleese says:

    Thanks…. again….. for the time you’ve taken to write out your thoughts. This discourse has given my blog more overt action than it has experienced in a long while…..

    I’m not sure if you were insinuating that I have formed my opinion based on what the American media has built it to be. If you are, I say this. I have no idea HOW the “media” is painting this picture because I don’t engage in it for the most part. Yes, I did catch an approximately 2 minute story covering “Occupy Wall Street” days ago on NPR. But THE bulk of coverage I have gotten has been from OWS’s own website. And any news coverage I have gotten has come from Democracy Now.org… which is probably the most fair, un-biased and un-bought news hour out there… If you haven’t already, you should check it out…

    At this point I think the opinions we both hold are motivated by some deeper shards of discernment and perspective… So I will let your words speak for themselves…

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