Originally Posted 10/16/11:
I went down to Occupy Wall Street yesterday. Occupy LA, rather, in front of City Hall. I wanted to see what it was about, what people were actually protesting, what they actually wanted. Also, I figured there would be girls there.
The talk on the internet seems to be that OK, it is understandable that people are pissed off about “the way things are right now,” but the “movement” has no concrete goals and really stands for nothing besides inchoate frustration. And so while it’s growing, while it’s spreading worldwide, while cops are cracking heads in Zuccotti Park and Carbanieri vans are on fire in Rome, until this “movement” gets its shit together and actually asks for something it’ll all be for nothing.
From what I saw at occupy LA this is entirely accurate. First, I was a little disappointed that it is in fact a peaceful, organized protest. There was a march right before I got there, which seems to have gone smoothly and in an orderly fashion. There is a tent city around City Hall that is completely confined to the grass with fastidious volunteers appearing out of nowhere every five minutes to pick up cigarette butts. Protestors happily stayed contained in the few streets that the city had conscientiously blocked off to keep shit from getting out of hand, and gathered around a stage and PA system that seems to have been set up with all the appropriate permits. There was an adequate amount of Port-o-sans. The few cops visible were the LAPD’s bike-bound squad of “courtesy officers,” or whateverthefuck they’re called. They wear purple shirts that make them look like the world’s most militant kickball team. They kept to themselves, returned eye contact and smiled when smiled at. This is different, I gather, from New York, where the NYPD is crushing people’s femurs and throwing haymakers at nancy-boy college kids. As is their wont.
I wonder if this comes down to the difference between the city’s mayors. Bloomberg is a billionaire businessman who made his business billions off a proprietary information network for other businessmen to get tips about business. A paper pusher for paper pushers. The ultimate meta-captain of non-industry; basically a glad-handing blue suit stuffed with hundred dollar bills. Of course he wants to just get the freeloaders off the lawn. He doesn’t strike one as the head cracking type, but if it gets in the way of money, that’s what needs to be done. Also all his cigarette-banning shit and no bicycles on the grass, etc., shows a totalitarian instinct. Villaraigosa is an unprincipled intellectually bankrupt game show host, but at least on the surface he stands for unions and immigrants and that type of Old Left shit, so it makes sense that his instinct is to peacefully let the hippies camp out outside his office.
Anyway. My shameful urge to see cops punched and tear gas going off was not slaked, and the protest was exactly what I expected it to be. The protestors stood for exactly nothing, or at least collectively they stood for nothing; individually there were countless micro-agendas that people had brought in in an attempt to glom on to the movement. Lyndon LaRouche disciples authouritatively screaming at people. Medical marijuana advocates. Anti-human trafficking activists. An Indigenous Peoples Committee with actual daguerrotype-looking Native Americans involved. There was a big banner about chemtrails, which is what people call visible jet exhaust that they think is the government dropping chemicals from the sky to sterilize blacks or cause autism or something.
And they had bands, and speakers. The speakers were middle aged Chicano Studies professors offering the exact reheated Trotskyist boilerplate you would expect, which the young people were politely supportive of even if they seemed a bit bored. The only people who seemed genuinely excited were the old people. The old hippies, who looked delighted to be pulled down from the attic and dusted off for some old-fashioned agitation. I’d seen plenty of these types up in Santa Cruz and our LA hippies were exactly the same; focused on Dick Cheney and the wars but now trying to tie this stuff into the issue of money.
I ran into a girl, someone I’d been on one date with off OKCupid and never called again. Despite this she was happy to see me and introduced me to her friend, who was, judging by her hairstyle, a true believer. The OKC girl was cute, way hotter than I remembered, and I had to go back and kick my past self in the ass for not getting a second date and sealing the deal. What was I thinking?
They asked me for my thoughts on the protest and I started to tell them the truth, that while I felt I stood for whatever vague principle they were having trouble articulating, that at least in LA this is a nebulous jerkoff that will ultimately amount to nothing. I brought up the chemtrails banner– shit like this is what gets legitimate movements dismissed as nuts. I was doing well, seeming smart about politics with a little humor thrown in; I was on my way to recovering from my earlier blowoff and earning my way back into the hot girl’s panties. I would text her later to say “cool to see you at the protest” and casually ask her out for a drink, and the ass would be mine. But then her friend was like “well, you know there is something to that chemtrails stuff.”
What do you do in this situation? There is nothing to this chemtrails stuff; only a retarded idiot could possibly believe in this type of thing even for an instant. I had an urge to bite her head off and yell at her for even suggesting that such a thing might hold water.
But I opted for the pussy. I shrugged it off and said nothing. I took a bus back home and texted the OKC girl and then jerked off to her facebook photos. We’ll see if she gets back to me.