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OWS: The satire creates itself

Someone said the other day — on Twitter? In a combox thread here? — that the only thing her left-leaning friends refuse to joke about is Occupy Wall Street. That must be treated with due reverence. No irony allowed, and definitely no snark! Thank goodness Jon Stewart and The Daily Show don’t take OWS as seriously as its supporters do. Take a look at this report from last night’s episode, in which Samantha Bee explores the class divide and ghettoization of pre-raid Zuccotti Park. I especially love the guy who won’t let the poor use his iPad 2, but who believes in a society in which everyone can have access to an iPad 2. Just not his, because he’s against “private property” not “personal property.”

Yeah.

Can’t imagine why these earnest people never caught on with mainstream America. Watch below for the funniest four minutes you’ll see today.

UPDATE: What Erik Kain said [1], especially:

change_me

I don’t particularly care about what the OWS folks decide to do. I’m glad they shifted the conversation to economic inequality, but I think the lack of a serious set of alternatives to the current system is in a sense doing more harm than good at this point. People mostly want jobs, so perhaps it’s time for OWS to hone its message down to jobs. Right now the conversation has largely shifted to the ne’er-do-wells within the movement. Bad apples and such. This is unfortunate, but the movement’s business model left it wide open to this sort of public opinion meltdown.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart [2] Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Occupy Wall Street Divided [3]
www.thedailyshow.com [4]
Daily Show Full Episodes [5] Political Humor & Satire Blog [6] The Daily Show on Facebook [7]

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "OWS: The satire creates itself"

#1 Comment By John Haas On November 17, 2011 @ 9:33 am

“And the parting on the left, is now the parting on the right . . .”

#2 Comment By MarkS On November 17, 2011 @ 9:33 am

I read this tweet by Rod Dreher: “#DailyShow on class warfare among #OWS. Priceless. Can’t imagine why these people never caught on with US mainstream”

That was immediately followed by this tweet by someone else: “POLL: 67% of Americans believe ‘the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and poor’ ”

Maybe “these people” never caught on, but the mainstream does appear to sympathize with their cause. Even Rod seems to, in the rare instances he’s not shooting the messenger.

#3 Comment By Rod Dreher On November 17, 2011 @ 9:39 am

Maybe “these people” never caught on, but the mainstream does appear to sympathize with their cause. Even Rod seems to, in the rare instances he’s not shooting the messenger.

Mark, seriously? How often do you read this blog? I’ve been saying for ages now that I agree with the general views of OWS with regard to the imbalance in our society, and the dangerous free rein the financial sector has. Do you not read my posts here, like the one I put up this morning damning the banks and Congress for allowing them to get away with so much?

If you only check in occasionally at this blog, I could see your ignorance of my position. But I even wrote a book in 2006, part of which was criticizing my own conservative side for being blind to the deleterious moral consequences of allowing business and financial interests to accumulate too much power.

#4 Comment By MichaelS On November 17, 2011 @ 9:42 am

Wait, were the scruffy guys saying absurd things really real, or were they part of the Comedy Central cast? If the former… too funny.

#5 Comment By MarkS On November 17, 2011 @ 9:44 am

Rod Dreher: “Mark, seriously? How often do you read this blog?”

I’ve been reading it for the two months since the OWS has been active. I don’t have a systematic count, but it’s my impression that in that time, the number of your words focusing on the issue are much less than the number of your words criticizing the protesters. Seriously.

#6 Comment By MarkS On November 17, 2011 @ 9:49 am

Rod Dreher: “But I even wrote a book in 2006, part of which was criticizing my own conservative side for being blind to the deleterious moral consequences of allowing business and financial interests to accumulate too much power.”

Good for you. And look how little your own conservative side listened to you and made income inequality an issue in the 2008 and 2010 elections. In the last two months, OWS has done more to highlight this issue than your book and posts have done in five years. But, now, you focus much of your attention on the shortcomings of the protesters instead of taking the spotlight OWS has turned on and using it to rally your conservative side from inside the tent to do something about the issue.

#7 Comment By Anglican On November 17, 2011 @ 9:50 am

Losers,with a capital L. Hipsters are vermin.

#8 Comment By Rod Dreher On November 17, 2011 @ 9:52 am

No, MichaelS, those guys are real.

MarkS, on my blog I tend to focus more on culture and religion, and come at issues from that point of view. I link to foreign policy, political, and economic analyses that I find interesting or compelling. On my previous blog, I wrote a fair amount about the culture of privilege among the bankers that led them to do as they’ve done. I write about OWS as someone who wishes we had an effective populist movement to rein in and reform Wall Street, but who finds OWS’s nature and tactics to be risible. What, I’m supposed to not criticize them because their hearts are in the right place? I feel the same way about the Tea Party, but they haven’t been in the news much since this new blog started.

#9 Comment By MarkS On November 17, 2011 @ 9:59 am

Rod Dreher: “I write about OWS as someone who wishes we had an effective populist movement to rein in and reform Wall Street, but who finds OWS’s nature and tactics to be risible.”

Ditto. So what? In the past, I’ve tried to impress on you my impression that you fail to see how similar you are to those you criticize. Here is an example. I comment on your blog as someone who wishes we had an effective populist movement to rein in and reform Wall Street, but who finds your whining about the shortcomings of the OWS to be risible. You can huff and puff and ask, “Seriously?” but you aren’t changing my impression. Seriously.

#10 Comment By E.D. Kain On November 17, 2011 @ 10:00 am

Thanks for the link, Rod. I think the real shame of OWS is the fact that even on an issue where the public is largely sympathetic, the movement has so utterly failed to gain and sustain public sympathy.

#11 Comment By Andrea Francine On November 17, 2011 @ 10:00 am

More and more, the protestors look like wanna-be usurpers to the ruling class. If OWSers were serious about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor they would start with the least among them in their own midst. Instead they turn away the homeless or avail themselves of the scant resources meant for the actual poor. Or, like the society they decry as oppressive, they cloister themselves away from those who are not already relative products of privilege.

#12 Comment By Mr. Patrick On November 17, 2011 @ 10:01 am

I’ll take these lumps. Yes, we understand that mohawked genderqueers in a stoned drumcircle aren’t serious.

I wish that the polo-and-slacks set would realize that those who advocate raising taxes on labor and self employment income, so as to address inequality (the “53%”), and ending taxation on the proceeds of arbitrage, so as to stimulate job creation, are no less hilarious.

#13 Comment By Rod Dreher On November 17, 2011 @ 10:05 am

I think the real shame of OWS is the fact that even on an issue where the public is largely sympathetic, the movement has so utterly failed to gain and sustain public sympathy.

Shhh! Erik, you aren’t supposed to say that. America has failed OWS. So have bloggers. It is wrong to ever make fun of them or to point out that they are their own worst enemies.

#14 Comment By Brian On November 17, 2011 @ 10:13 am

“People mostly want jobs, so perhaps it’s time for OWS to hone its message down to jobs.”

No, no, no. The message from DC for years now has been “jobs” which means “let’s spend tons more (borrowed) money and say it’s all about jobs!” The public’s tuned that nonsense out by now.

There’s a massive schism right now about whether we can/should have a government that spends ~25% or more of GDP (as we have had for a couple of years and will for a while longer), or one where it spends ~20% or less (as it always used to), especially since it’s not clear how to raise enough money for the former (tax revenues are in line with the latter for most of the last century, regardless of how income and other taxes have been structured). This isn’t going to be resolved soon, probably requiring a couple more elections, although it probably won’t be cleanly resolved at all and we’re all doomed.

But in the meantime let’s pretend we can compromise and find areas of agreement, which should be possible about things like making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy, making tax breaks for health and day-care and other benefits independent of who you work for, etc. Remember when Pelosi said that Obamacare was awesome because now people could stay on their parent’s health insurance and follow their dream to be an artist, rather than having to get a job? Well, inside that huge pile of lunacy was a tiny kernel of sense. Let’s stop the myriad ways the government not just favors big business by corporate tax breaks and bailouts and the like, but favors them by pushing individuals from working for them rather than smaller, local entities.

#15 Comment By Jaybird On November 17, 2011 @ 10:19 am

I’m generally pretty left on most issues, but most “professional” leftist/activist types these days are a bunch of incompetent clowns, more interested in narcissist posing than they are in actually changing anything.

As with just about everything, The Derb has said it better than anyone else could ever hope to:

I detest the New Left, with their plain hatred of their country and her traditions, their faddishness and sentimentality, their intolerance and old-maid puritanism. The New Right is O.K., though a bit mealy mouthed and hypocritical for my taste sometimes, and too fond of airy moralizing, theologizing, and system-building. The Old Right was great, God bless them and preserve them, the few that are left. The Old Left, though, could whup them all!

Three Cheers for The Old Left:

[8]

#16 Comment By TJ On November 17, 2011 @ 10:26 am

LOVE the “personal property” vs. “private property” distinction. The Daily Show at its best.

#17 Comment By TWylite On November 17, 2011 @ 10:35 am

I’m sorta curious about the degree to which OWSers and their supporters have children or not. I suspect a lot are not parents. The media images focus on a lot of 20-somethings that look the part out of Central Casting (unkempt even for camping, dreadlocks or mohawks, piercings, etc.) and I doubt that is representative of the movement. The media like mediagenic people of any sort.
Parenthood makes your BST (Bullsh** Tolerance) levels go way down, decreases your level of self-absoprtion, and makes you a little too busy to camp out in public streets. Young adults without the responsibility of parenthood tend to have a rather skewed vision of how society should work. I know; I’ve been there. And the general assembly “demands” I’ve seen read like sophomore poli-sci midterm paper screeds: not very realistic.

#18 Comment By Charles Cosimano On November 17, 2011 @ 10:36 am

It would seem that the big difference between the left and the right is that while it is pretty difficult to take the Presidential candidates on the right seriously, it is impossible to take anyone on the left seriously.

#19 Comment By Polichinello On November 17, 2011 @ 11:45 am

The best way to reduce income inequality is to quit importing massive numbers of poor and unskilled people. They increase the spread and force down wages for the lesser skilled natives. Of course, one of the points pushed by the owser idiots is an open border.

#20 Comment By Polichinello On November 17, 2011 @ 11:57 am

From Derb’s column:
Woody Guthrie was sure enough a patriot. “This land is your land, this land is my land…” What’s that, if not patriotic?

Whose patriot? He and the other red singers did a 180 and were cutting anti-War songs when the Stalin-Hitler pact was inked, but then did yet another 180 when Hitler double-crossed Stalin.

Derb’s wrong about this one. Most of these slimebags were running interference for and actively promoting a thoroughly evil ideology. Their reputations have been saved only because our nation had to ally to with Stalin to deal with bigger threat of Hitler.

#21 Comment By MichaelS On November 17, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

“No, these guys are real”. Thanks, that’s amazing.

#22 Comment By Ken Hoop On November 17, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

Well, yeah, to Kain-but then again, what if substantial masses conclude even the “undesirables” in Occupy aren’t as bad as the criminal system suppressing them, and it, while impoverishing the outsourced and keeping the finance parasites in high cotton?

#23 Comment By Mark D. On November 17, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

This is my first post here, but I really enjoy the conversation and links.

In gratitude, here is an entry from the only other blog I read regularly (which operates under the same strong moderation policies you exercise.)

[9]

I think there is a lot of truth in this. I also think it’s the beginning of genuine social change, and thank God for it.

#24 Comment By Scott Lahti On November 17, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

“The satire creates itself”

Cf. Clive James in the TLS, 2004, from an [10] of a London production of Cyrano de Bergerac which, when I finished reading it whole upon publication, made me tear up in awe before its surpassing, cumulative command:

“A critic, in my view, should always report the reaction of the audience before he delivers his own opinion. Well, the first-night audience clapped dutifully at the end, and there were cheers for Cyrano himself, as incarnated by the film star Stephen Rea. But the Germans have a phrase that fits: der Beifall war endenwollend. The applause wanted to be over.”

#25 Comment By cecelia On November 17, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

I first thought – thank goodness someone is finally protesting then I thought – this movement is over because it became infiltrated by street people and bums etc, I Now – I am not sure what to think. The husband was in NYC today and came home with many interesting tales and I have been watching the take over of NYC on the news. On one hand – they are clueless as to how to run a protest (do not prevent people from getting to work, do not prevent children from getting to school, do not interfere with the local business). On the other hand I am watching these people non violently block the Brooklyn Bridge and line up to get arrested. There is something here – something that is very different from what we have seen before – and maybe that is exactly what is right about it – at a time when we do not trust our leaders – perhaps a movement with no leadership – or rather – a movement with a collective leadership – is exactly what is called for. Maybe it isn’t a movement – haven’t movements also been pretty discredited? Maybe they have no specific platform but haven’t we come to mistrust people and their platform to fix this or that which never fix anything?

What I see are people who clearly know something is very wrong in this country – and who have a serious commitment to effect a change. While it is one strange thing – there is something there.

And Anglican – people are not – never are – vermin.

#26 Comment By Leon Battista Alberti On November 17, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

Mark D,

I saw that title of the article you linked and was hoping for some sort of Dungeons and Dragons reference. I am dissapoint.

#27 Comment By Mark D. On November 18, 2011 @ 8:34 am

Leon – it very much is a D&D reference – see the end of the article, and the full “Chaotic Good” description in the comments.

#28 Comment By Mark D. On November 18, 2011 @ 8:41 am

Follow-up (brief) link:
[11]

#29 Comment By SnowCrash7 On November 20, 2011 @ 10:29 am

Yeah they are losing favor. Explains why the events of the last few days drew their biggest crowds ever.

#30 Comment By P. Smith On November 27, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

Great statement – You really have done a great job here and showed us the light.

#31 Comment By iPad Guy On November 28, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

I’m the iPad guy. Personal and private property are two different concepts.