As the D.O.B.’s story changes continue and my ethical soul-searching does as well, I’m reminded of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, and how some of the revolutionary pig characters in turn become oppressors (like Napoleon and his gang) or stay true to their ideals and suffer for it (like Snowball.) Napoleon and Snowball were thinly disguised versions of Trotsky and Stalin, at least according to my stepfather when he saw me reading the book at age 11, but it’s a mite harder to sort out who’s who in our unfolding housing drama. My drawings of them were based on hazy memories of an animated version I’d caught on TV one night (causing me to seek out the book) while babysitting my brother. The film was very Disney-esque in look and caliber of animation, but with a far darker tone and willingness to depict the brutality of the story. Searching it to see how closely I’d remembered the character designs, I found the film posted in it’s entirety on YouTube. And, um, I got Napoleon’s markings wrong. But the film is definitely worth a watch.
Speaking of dubious revolutions, anyone who read the snarky commentary on my Occupy Wall St. photos can surmise I’ve been taking this whole phenomenon in with a large grain of salt (if it makes you happier, organic homeopathic sea salt from a health food store that costs ten times as much as salt would anywhere else.) I want to be beyond clear that I don’t condone police brutality under any circumstances. I’ve seen videos of excessive force being used, particularly given how passive much of the crowd I saw was. Like hopefully others, I’ve called for charges to be brought against offending officers. But at the same time I’ve been skeptical of the lack of clear agenda these people have, and more disturbingly, their defensive insistence that it not be questioned, as though we should all put aside critical thinking and trust them as blindly as the radical bogeymen of corporations, banks, government, church, et al expect us to in themselves. I really don’t need the same old shit with it’s odor masked in cheap patchouli instead of Chanel No. 5. I was also dismayed for a long time not only by the lack of diversity in the crowd, but the lack of voices for whom the economic disparities have hit hardest. Why was no one saying they were there because they’d been unemployed for three years, or foreclosed on and living on the streets, or had vital health services cut that they relied on? On the first day we went with our friend and sometime bandmate Pronoblem, who had come in from Holyoke MA. At a free speak out I spoke on the need for housing for all and cuts in city programs and for those in the greatest need to truly occupy Wall Street and was met with blank stares. Following me an all American looking girl (ponytail, freckles, braces) got on the mike and said she’d driven up from Daytona, to be met with rousing cheers. WHOOO HOOO! SPRING BREAK!!!
I relate that anecdote with no indignation. Some types of people pay you a greater compliment with stunned silence than they do with applause.
But in the past two days, that’s changed a bit. They’re few and far between, but support has been trickling in from the types of people I was wondering about. A woman foreclosed on and struggling to feed her children in one article. An Iraq war veteran calling out the war profiteers online. People who call the system into question because of their experiences, not because “umm, like corporations are bad and stuff, right?” Unions. The rest of America, the ones who need to be reached and who need a change to make their lives work. We’re going back tomorrow, I’ve been told people who have actual things they need addressed can write them onto posters, which will then be used to formulate the actual goals. And yeah, I have things I can articulate.