What It’s All About

This Rolling Stone article about Occupy Wall Street summed up much of how I feel about the Occupy movement.

It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it’s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

That’s it in a nutshell. Income inequality, corporate power, etc are all symptoms as much as they are causes but it’s more than any one thing. I’ve been disillusioned with mainstream (for lack of a better word) society for a long time. I don’t want to win by beating someone else. I don’t want to be a multi-millionaire.  I don’t want power. I want to live my life, with people that I care about, and do a job that’s worth doing and I can feel proud for accomplishing. All the jobs I’ve tried. haven’t felt satisfied because there was so much BS in the way of doing the worthwhile bits.

Then I discovered webcomics and was impressed by those that succeeded in turning their comics into independent careers. Some of those stories were what inspired me to make a real attempt at being an author. But even writing started to feel wrong once I got to the stage of trying to get a major publisher. There were so many hoops to jump through and my actual writing played almost no part in whether I succeeded or not.

It wasn’t until I decided to go with a small local publisher, essentially self-publication with professional help, that I’ve felt satisfied with my career. Even if I never sell a single book, I am satisfied with my effort. If I do succeed, I won’t have done it alone. But I will have done it without having to “take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness”.

That is what Occupy is about. It’s about recognizing that society is broken, but it doesn’t have to be. There is another way.

But read that article. Matt Taibbi says it way better than I could.

That, to me, is what Occupy Wall Street is addressing. People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.

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4 Responses to What It’s All About

  1. El Guapo says:

    Interesting interpretation. I also enjoyed the RS articles on it.
    But now that protesters have been evicted in many cities (there were only about 2 dozen to day in Zucotti Park NYC this morning), will the movement continue and coalesce and force change in societal values, or politics(ala Tea Party), or will the sentiment just fade back into a general sort of miasma?

  2. Maarkean says:

    That is the million dollar question. I hope and believe the overall public interest in this is strong. Now that the public consciousness has been awoken, it won’t be a matter of just shutting down the camps to kill the idea. And the movement isn’t over. There may be less overnight occupations, but the drive is still strong.

    That said, it could die. If we let it. If we stop talking about it and stop pushing for change.

  3. Before that RS story, the most coherent opinion I could formulate about the OWS mood came from a sign somebody was holding up that said, “End The Bullshit!”

    Amen to that.

  4. Maarkean says:

    Haha. That’s a good summary.