The hubbub around the Occupy Wall Street movement is getting ugly, and the ugly looks like it’s going to spill right into the 2012 cycle. Over the next year we can completely regurgitate the language of our the 1960’s generation, and, who knows, maybe even top it off with a ’68-like party convention meltdown. Unhinge your jaw and get ready to swallow the rat whole and still breathing, America. The silly season is going to be sillier than ever.
In addition to accusing the bum protesters of turning New York into the filthy sewer that they’ve always accused New York City of already being, conservatives are desperate to inject the Occupy Wall Street movement with some good old American culture war. So far—so far— it’s not working.
Plenty have rushed in to cast the movement in the stereotypical language of the 1960s. Summing up the protesters, the Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle dug deep and used a criticism of the working class that hasn’t lost a step since The Road to Wigan Pier.
Boyle sure has come a long one-eighty since slamming Christian proselytizers while at Boise State.
Tea party porn director James O’Keefe was spotted at Occupy Wall Street in an outfit as over-the-top as his ACORN-assassinating pimp costume. With his banker collar and horn-rimmed spectacles, O’Keefe was clearly hoping to bait some protesters into a violent altercation, proving to his followers that they are all the patchouli pacifist hippies flower children they’re painted to be.
Meanwhile, one American Spectator editor named Patrick Howley, undercover as a protester, helped lead an ill-informed raid on the Air and Space Museum in D.C. After being pepper sprayed, Howley sat down and pounded out a report that indicted the protest. Except, in his passion, he also indicted himself as a leader and escalator of the event. The American Spectator has since edited his report with no correction. (The original is here. Update: We’ve been told that is actually not even the original, that it’s an early revision. This is said to be an original, though we don’t know that first-hand. The differences are intriguing.)
A few days earlier, Michelle Malkin went on Fox and Friends and slammed the protesters, claiming Apple’s founder for the conservative right as the “miracle of the spontaneous order of capitalism.” Jobs had not been dead for 24 hours.
That Jobs’ giving from the late 1990s through 2010 includes such conservative luminaries as Bill Bradley, Ed Kennedy, Rahm Emanuel, and—uh oh!—Nancy Pelosi was not going to get in the way of Malkin making a point.
A Tea Party leader who Tea Partiers insist doesn’t speak for all of them spoke for all of them, denying that the Wall Street protests are anything like the Tea Party movement. Then, with a completely straight face, Tea Party seed group FreedomWorks wrote that the Wall Street demonstrators “may be well-intentioned but lack basic economic knowledge.”
Back in January, we asked if the 99ers would become the answer to the Tea Party. While many credit the youth that now occupy Wall Street as the spark, 99ers, those who have reached the end of their unemployment benefits, were protesting Wall Street back in August of 2010. Now, the 99ers are organizing to join “the 99 percent.”
So a protest movement that wasn’t worth anyone’s time just a couple weeks ago, and was barely worth even ridiculing 13 months ago, is now a circus. Occupy Wall Street has all of the engaging class struggle zeal, anti-Wall Street and corporate influence pizzazz and huge turnout numbers of the month-long Wisconsin protests six months ago, but right in the media’s backyard and without any of the tedious need to go to Wisconsin. The event has even become a must-stop on the self-promotional tours of Kanye West, Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann. (A Glastonbury, except for assholes.)
But don’t worry everybody, Al Sharpton is there too, reports TMZ!
And as the Supreme Court has ruled, corporations are assholes too. So Ben and Jerry’s endorsed the protest, using the “stand with ____” declaration that’s become the common go-to language of the sloppily politicized. The whole thing was probably a good inside joke with the ice creamery’s billion-dollar Unilever conglomerate owners, which is battling unions over a plan to close its pension plan.
That sort of battle is going around these days. The next day in Nashville, Tea Party groups held a “We Stand with Gibson” rally in support of the guitar maker’s ongoing battle over wood imports with Obama’s “jackboots” at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. The Nazi allusions were numerous.