Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Runs Out of Ideas

Dear Occupy Wall Street,

Please invent your own 他妈的 iconography.



41 Comments / Post A Comment

BadUncle (#153)

On the other hand, who doesn't love Rodchenko?

deepomega (#1,720)

@BadUncle Ukrainians.

HiredGoons (#603)

@BadUncle: Man With a Video Camera.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

His mother's.

Matt (#26)

Remember Che t-shirts?

I was super-stoked to see that Direct Action! was playing, but the last Occupy The Subways record was pretty derivative and just kinda meh.

Plus, who wants to deal with Ticketmaster? I'll skip it.

keisertroll (#1,117)

I liked Occupy Wall Street better when it was called Attack The Block.

Rick Alfaro (#4,345)

Dear Abe:

Who cares?

Daniel Could've (#22,066)

@Abe Sauer I guess, but the margin of error on that poll is 3.5 percent. So. It's essentially meaningless.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Daniel Could've "those opposed to OWS have increased from 36% to 45% in that time."
How does that fit into the margin of error?

Rick Alfaro (#4,345)

@Abe Sauer Because of a lame poster rip-off?

La Cieca (#1,110)

@Abe Sauer What the political discussion in America needs a lot more of is this:

“What the downturn in Occupy Wall Street’s image suggest is that voters are seeing the movement as more about ‘Occupy’ than ‘Wall Street.’ The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message,” wrote Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling.

In the past couple of decades we have suffered such a dearth of pundits explaining to us how we feel. It's so comforting that someone finally is defining the mood of America in simplistic sound bites; it was so much trouble trying to think for myself.

Seriously, you know as well as I do that "approval" poll numbers are extremely volatile and may be swung by quite a few percentage points by a single well-plugged news story. Get film of a cop bashing a sleeping protester's head on the CNN loop for couple of days and then ask the same question.

Daniel Could've (#22,066)

@Abe Sauer That ain't what you said.

jfruh (#713)

But isn't that kind of the joke, combining the iconography of Chinese propaganda with the image of the Tank Man? Or am I giving them too much credit?

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh Definitely too much credit. It's a really shitty poster.

La Cieca (#1,110)

@jfruh You seem to be a bit low on kneejerk ironic snark, the dilithium that powers the blogosphere.

bobert (#10,044)

@La Cieca Kneejerk ironic snark is what Gawker/ex-Gawkers thrive off of. They know what the poster is meant to imply, of course. They also know it's way easier to post 3 sentences of snark than anything of substance.


Abe Sauer (#148)

@Pablo Goldstein Oh, but yes, let's do substance. The true irony of this poster is that the OWS movement is being defined (and is defining itself) in so many similar ways. While in the west we understand the 1989 Tiananmen protests as a "pro-democracy" movement, it really was not. There were HUGE competing factions that, after gaining global attention from occupying Tiananmen Square for a LOOOOOONG time, could not put forward a coherent set of demands. Plus, the loosely-organized group had no real single leader.

Like OWS, the Tiananmen movement spread into cities across China and "Six-Four" became a nationwide phenomenon. The press treated it like it didn't exist. The movement had a legitimate grievance but from its bad apples to its outside supporters, was easy to frame as less than grass-roots.

Working against them (in a PR way) and something that seems to be true, the more politically astute amongst the demonstrators recruited migrant laborers coming into the nearby Beijing train station to join the movement, even though these peasants had zero idea of, or allegiance to, the movement.

If OWS is really looking for inspiration from Tianmen they should look to the hunger strike part of the movement. It gets attention. But more than anything, they should understand that what they're asking for will not come easy or fast. In China, the liberalization the protesters wanted is only now happening (in some ways thanks to them). So, a best case scenario, is that OWS's general demands bring about those changes in a decade or so.

It's the long haul.

La Cieca (#1,110)

The other ingredient of that fuel, of course, is smug condescending prescriptiveness. What better catalyst for political change than to sit at one's laptop sneering at those lazy dilettantes who don't even have the common decency to starve themselves to death for their ideas?

Abe Sauer (#148)

@La Cieca There is a lot of ground to be covered between "sitting at one's laptop" and "camping in a public park for 2 months." I mean, the Tea Party brought about "political change" without anything like the Occupy movement. Unions in Wisconsin have, and are trying to do more, to bring about "political change" without doing anything like Occupy. (In fact, the Occupy group in Wisconsin is HURTING chances for political change.)

I'm not saying OWS's is a wrong approach, but, c'mon, it's not anything near the only effective way to be a catalyst for change and this attitude of "you're behind OWS or you're against their goals" is exactly the kind of garbage that will chase away otherwise sympathetic people.

La Cieca (#1,110)

@Abe Sauer I mean, the Tea Party brought about "political change" without anything like the Occupy movement.

Oh, if only OWS had had the foresight to let themselves be co-opted by criminal billionaires!

And nobody has said OWS is "the only effective way to be a catalyst for change." On the contrary, you're the one who's been working the hobby horse that OWS is a huge joke and embarrassment to the grown-ups. And now that you're challenged you're trying to walk that back.

I fervently admire your writing about politics in general and especially about the events in Wisconsin, which is why I'm so puzzled and disappointed by your blind spot about OWS.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@La Cieca "working the hobby horse that OWS is a huge joke?" Because I called a stupid poster a stupid poster? It's a stupid poster. It's a stupid derivative poster. When OWS feels insulted that Jay Z is profiting by selling "Occupy" t-shirts for $100 they should think of this poster.

La Cieca (#1,110)

@Abe Sauer Stop being defensive and disingenous and access the archives of the awl: you've never had a positive thing to say about OWS, and lately you've positively gone concern troll ("In fact, the Occupy group in Wisconsin is HURTING chances for political change.") The "stupid" poster is just an excuse for you to continue your ongoing rant against OWS, and this kind of pettiness is just not becoming to an intelligent journalist.

But this is not the place to continue the discussion, email is, if you're interested.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@La Cieca That's simply not true.!/search/realtime/abesauer%20ows

"the Occupy group in Wisconsin is HURTING chances for political change." It is. It's a stupid poster. Like this is a stupid t-shirt. When the Icanhazcheezburger gang is using the same ideas as your social movement, it's probably time to change your meme.

GailPink (#9,712)

Where did they get the money to design and print these nice posters?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@GailPink Having in mind how they are all spoiled trust fund babies, I don't think money is the object.

WaityKatie (#79,377)

@GailPink I believe they've raised a lot of money in donations. Why would trust fund babies give a crap about student loans or bank fees, anyway?

HiredGoons (#603)

wouldn't it be funny if Shepard Fairey tried to sue?

I'm confused. Which China is saying "Thanks!" The government who suppresses even oblique references to the Tiananmen Square Massacre? The vanishingly small percentage of intelligensia who knows the historical impact of that photo? Or everyone else who doesn't know what the fuck you're referring to?

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Bus Driver Stu Benedict The sister population of the America that knows what that photo means.

how dare you defuse my rant with a non-inflammatory reply

This is Shepard Fairey's design. So it's really Shepard Fairey who has ran out of ideas. Still very nice of him. Are you saying they should create their own artwork? Why not let the professional if he is willing?

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

@chauncey jones



"Shepard Fairey 'ideas'"


w1virtualoffice7 (#179,608)

Where did they get the money to design and print these nice posters?

BirdNerd (#4,196)

@w1virtualoffice7 SOROS.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@w1virtualoffice7 From China. Duh!

jkonrath (#9,354)

They really need to design a poster that uses the Papyrus font. I hear that's pretty cool right now.

Pandemic Endemic (#3,825)

@jkonrath Papyrus is the new Comic Sans!

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