Friday, October 28, 2011

OWS: "Screw the Pundits". Good on 'em.

One of the best parts about the "Occupy" movement? The fact that it baffles and enrages television and print pundits. Not all are as incoherent as, say, Canada's Andrew Coyne, who thinks that poor people should shut up because they have microwaves and color televisions(!), but it's pretty universal.

As Dalia Lithwick points out in Slate, that may be part of the point:

I feel it’s time to explain something: Occupy Wall Street may not have laid out all of its demands in a perfectly cogent one-sentence bumper sticker for you, Mr. Pundit, but it knows precisely what it doesn’t want. It doesn’t want you.
What the movement clearly doesn’t want is to have to explain itself through corporate television. To which I answer, Hallelujah. You can’t talk down to a movement that won’t talk back to you...

...Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message. It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another.

Think, for just a moment, about the irony. We are the most media-saturated 24-hour-cable-soaked culture in the world, and yet around the country, on Facebook and at protests, people are holding up cardboard signs, the way protesters in ancient Sumeria might have done when demonstrating against a rise in the price of figs. And why is that? Because they very wisely don’t trust television cameras and microphones to get it right anymore. Because a media constructed around the illusion of false equivalencies, screaming pundits, and manufactured crises fails to capture who we are and what we value.
They don't necessarily trust the Internet, either, though they surely trust it more than they trust the cable networks. Is it really any wonder, though? Television news is basically rich people talking to rich people about rich people's problems. Someone like Andrew Coyne doesn't have the foggiest idea how the 99% live, or what their issues are. It's an academic, abstract issue to him, which is almost certainly why he fell back to "what are they complaining about? Color televisions, people! COLOR!" These people want simple solutions to the problem of poverty because isn't their problem. They just want it to go away and stop bothering them with the minimum amount of hassle. 

People might have been willing to go along with that when the Great and the Good were benefiting their lives. Those days are over. The 99% are now of the opinion that they've been scammed by the pundits and their cronies, and they're PISSED. That's the message. What they're planning on doing about it isn't quite certain yet. But that's the message.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:36 AM

    If US banks had kept the same rules as Canadian banks, the massive economic meltdown probably wouldn't have happened. All thanks to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. In punditland, that's too complicated and doesn't fit the framework of what passes for conventional wisdom.