Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yo Media: Occupy This

Above are some pictures I took at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park, as well as a couple showing the mounted cops (very nice folks, I might add) in front of the Stock Exchange on Wall Street. In the bottom photo, anyone know why those chunks are missing out of the granite on the wall that woman is passing by? It's the old J.P. Morgan Building (the "House of Morgan") at 23 Wall St., right across from the Stock Exchange, and the pitted stone is bomb damage from a 1920 bombing in Wall Street that killed 38 and injured many more -- evidently the deed of an Italian anarchist group reflecting social and political unrest after World War I.

Anyway, Zuccotti Park was where I often ate a brown-bag lunch during the years I worked for the Wall Street Journal in the 1980s. The Journal's headquarters were on Cortlandt St. (above the Woolworth's that later became a Century 21, and there wasn't even a sign out front telling you that the Wall Street Journal lived upstairs) and then Dow Jones moved two blocks away from that rat-mazed hovel to a grand tower in the World Financial Center complex across from the World Trade Center. So I know the territory, though I will never, ever get used to that breathtaking expanse of empty air where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

When I visited recently, I was stunned at the disconnect between what I'd seen described by those braying pantloads on TV (the Fox News mob braying the loudest, per usual, but fatuous CNN dopes like this one also doing their part), and what I actually encountered at the site. For one thing, it wasn't filthy; it was cluttered. It wasn't tense. It was nothing at all like the late 1960s and first half of the 70s.

I was going to write about this striking disconnect, but there is no need now. Dahlia Lithwick has done it masterfully in this piece by her in Slate yesterday. Two quotes:

--"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."

--"One of the most fatuous themes of mainstream OWS coverage is the endless loop of media bafflement at this movement that doesn’t have a message. Here’s CNN’s Erin Burnett in a classic put-down of the OWS’ refusal to tailor its message to her. It takes a walloping amount of willful cluelessness to look at a mass of people holding up signs and claim that they have no message..."


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