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People of the Nookie

Somehow, I can’t quite imagine that the Freedom Riders [1] were like this [2]:

Metropolis reports [3], “Outdoor sex has been a topic of discussion at quality-of-life meetings held each afternoon inside Zuccotti Park. Some people have expressed discomfort with sexual activity in their midst, but Andrew Carbon, 26 years old, said protesters generally are loathe to restrict anyone’s behavior.” Carbon explained, “To be controlling someone’s own autonomy is a sensitive issue. It’s a bad image if it’s visible, but policing it is wrong.” Yeah, residents probably want OWS to crack down on the public pooping first [4], but we’ve heard that protesters have had sex on the tables at the site [5].

One protester who left his girlfriend behind in California has “shared sleeping bags with… several women” and says, “It’s a natural human thing. It’s part of our support structure. It’s nice to have someone to care about. It’s nice to have someone to hug and kiss.” As it happens, the NY Times Magazine had a photograph of two young protesters [6], and the 19-year-old revealed, “I’m doing well now, though. I drank six Four Lokos with Core, a beer or two. And then we ordered an iced mocha and two chicken fingers and large fries. I lost my virginity today. I was amped for it.”

“To be controlling someone’s own autonomy is a sensitive issue. It’s a bad image if it’s visible, but policing it is wrong.” Oh, for pity’s sake. Idiot.

UPDATE: Danny Goldberg is ticked [7]at liberals who roll their eyes at the drum circles and expressions of hippieness:

Yet it is precisely the mystical utopian energy that most professional progressives so smugly dismiss that has aroused a salient, mass political consciousness on economic issues—something that had eluded even the most lucid progressives in the Obama era.

… The price that Democrats and progressives pay for belittling or ignoring contemporary devotees of the hippie idea, who share the opinion that politics are corrupt, is to reinforce the impulse to “drop out” in a cohort that would otherwise be, for the most part, natural allies.

Spiritual values can expand the reach of political action, especially at a time when progressives struggle to connect to mass consciousness. Their causes have been mired in phrases like “single-payer” and “cap-and-trade.” For all of their virtues, policy wonks didn’t come up with “We are the 99 percent.” People with drum circles did.

“Spiritual values”? Like I said, People of the Nookie.

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22 Comments To "People of the Nookie"

#1 Comment By Surly On October 30, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

Oh, for crying out loud. Nothing propinks like propinquity. In other news, the sun rises in the east and some percentage of an assembly will behave badly and bring embarrassment onto the larger group.

Please quit acting like great aunt Sister Edna. Yes, some young people may be hooking up. But OWS isn’t about hooking up or sex or any sort of personal liberation. OWS is at its heart AGAINST the baby boomer’s “Anything goes” ethos. Yes, private behavior may be lamentable or even sinful, but one’s obligation to the public is what they are concerned about.

#2 Comment By Rod Dreher On October 31, 2011 @ 12:15 am

Now, now. How can I let an opportunity to make fun of some nitwit who says this go to waste?:

“To be controlling someone’s own autonomy is a sensitive issue. It’s a bad image if it’s visible, but policing it is wrong.”

I know you really, really want these people to be effective — I do too — but this kind of hippy-dippy foolishness has a way of turning people off. That, and public sex. Like it or not, there’s a reason 43 percent of Americans agree with the general stance of OWS (I certainly do), but have not joined them, and won’t be joining them. It has to do with this kind of thing. And it’s not that people think they’re going to get felt up as they yell at plutocrats. If you’re trying to build a movement based on a stance of moral righteousness, you can’t be seen to be behaving immorally. It will hurt your credibility.

I would be interested to know how OWS’s views on “controlling someone’s autonomy” can be reconciled with their views on one’s economic autonomy. Because they clearly want somebody to control the autonomy of Wall Street bankers.

#3 Comment By Lord Karth On October 31, 2011 @ 12:18 am

We still don’t know the answer to that most important of questions:

Did they use a condom, or not ? Millions of impressionable children (and their teachers !) are dying to know !

Your servant,

Lord Karth

#4 Comment By Senescent On October 31, 2011 @ 12:19 am

Might turn off the olds, but it turns on the youngs, and a revolution needs youngs more than it needs olds.

#5 Comment By Rod Dreher On October 31, 2011 @ 12:22 am

It’s interesting, though, to wonder what would have happened to the civil rights movement had it taken place today, in this kind of media and information environment. If the public had known at the time that Martin Luther King was shtupping women not his wife while he was on the road campaigning for civil rights, I doubt he would have been as effective as he was, to say the least. Does that mean that his cause was unjust? Of course not. But again, if you are going to lead or be part of a movement based on moral righteousness, you need to be righteous, or at least maintain that public image.

#6 Comment By Senescent On October 31, 2011 @ 1:37 am

As you yourself have said, over and over and over, contemporary morality is that the desires of the self is the only standard by which actions may be judged – if one person wants to do a thing, and the entire world wants him not to, it is right for him to do so, and wrong for them to restrain him.

By making no claim and exerting no effort to stop this, even amidst general distaste, they *are* setting a moral example and paying righteousness its due.

Same with the General Assemblies being run along the lines of consent with anyone possessing a liberum veto. That’s what it looks like when moderns take morality seriously.

#7 Comment By Senescent On October 31, 2011 @ 1:56 am

(And by so doing, they’re creating a public example to disprove any claims that you can’t run a society like that. With all eyes on them, running a society like that is exactly what they’re doing.)

#8 Comment By Dmitri Aleksandrovich On October 31, 2011 @ 3:02 am

Retarded is the only word that comes to mind (no offense meant for those who are actually mentally disabled). This kind of person and the other pot smoking, bongo banging, modern hippie types are the reason why this OWS movement (no matter how good the intentions are/ or not) is going absolutely no where.

This is radical individualism at its worst because those at the OWS protests cannot even find a common unified cause to “protest” the financial institutions over. They have all come with their own gripes and many have come “for the party”. This lacks all organization, lacks all discipline and is frankly a disgrace especially for the real leftists in the crowd who want a socialist society. How can you create a socialist society when college kids are coming to this protest for sex, beer and weed? You look at the Greek and Italian trade unionists and socialists protesting the austerity measures there and you see organization and discipline. Here you see woodstock with picket signs.

#9 Comment By Roland de Chanson On October 31, 2011 @ 7:29 am

Martin Luther King? I’m shocked, shocked to find out that shtupping was going on there! An him a man of the cloth! Cloth but no clothes I guess. Then again he was just following in the steps of his namesake.

#10 Comment By MH – Scientismist On October 31, 2011 @ 7:41 am

The play on words of a play on words was totally worth the scold.

#11 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On October 31, 2011 @ 8:06 am

Actually, back in the day, the guys from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee headed north, and had it away with the girls from Sarah Lawrence.

There’s usually a lot of sex in these situations. Lots of adrenalin and transgression going on.

#12 Comment By Rod Dreher On October 31, 2011 @ 8:35 am

You look at the Greek and Italian trade unionists and socialists protesting the austerity measures there and you see organization and discipline. Here you see woodstock with picket signs.

That’s just it. Nobody can really be surprised that this sort of thing is going on. Young people + crowd + time = nookie breaks. But boy, does it make you look bad to the outside. The capper is the protester I quoted babbling on about how sacred personal autonomy is, and how even though it causes a “bad image,” that “policing it is wrong.” Hippie, please.

#13 Comment By TWylite On October 31, 2011 @ 9:30 am

Well it is getting pretty cold up there. This sounds more and more like a Northeast amateur version of Burning Man, the true heir of Woodstock. They have similar platitudes about “creating a new society”, even though it’s really about the partying. At Burning Man, everyone knows in the back of their minds that they only need to sustain the fantasy camp environment for a week or so. Also, Burning Man apparently has a genuine executive committee that plans the key stuff beforehand, and they now have several years of experience at it. It gets a little harder trying to make this kind of thing last year-round for keeps, like the real hippie communes that quickly fell apart way back when. They are making the mistake of thinking that authority of any kind equals Authoritarianism, and the antidote is the polar opposite of Consensitarianism, which is really just slow motion chaos.

#14 Comment By Jaybird On October 31, 2011 @ 9:59 am

So young. So horny.

Why can’t they just stop being so young and horny?

#15 Comment By dcs On October 31, 2011 @ 10:08 am

Like it or not, there’s a reason 43 percent of Americans agree with the general stance of OWS (I certainly do), but have not joined them, and won’t be joining them.

Nor let their daughters join them if they think they will lose their virginity to some hippy they just met.

#16 Comment By Russell Arben Fox On October 31, 2011 @ 10:09 am

Rod, have you seen this?

[8]

Are you sure that those you and others are talking about as a way to emphasize the apparent flakiness of OWS are, in fact, the people who are actually there to occupy?

#17 Comment By Scott Lahti On October 31, 2011 @ 11:27 am

“One protester who left his girlfriend behind in California has ‘shared sleeping bags with… several women’ and says, ‘It’s a natural human thing. It’s part of our support structure. It’s nice to have someone to care about. It’s nice to have someone to hug and kiss.'”

Comrades, how can we fail to spot the famed [9] defense – in his worthy attention to late-bourgeois culture, in this case Viennese operetta, he is merely Partying like it’s 1925:

♫ Girls were made to love and kiss
And who am I to interfere with this? ♫

#18 Comment By Hector On October 31, 2011 @ 11:28 am

Re: Nor let their daughters join them if they think they will lose their virginity to some hippy they just met.

I don’t think that young adults normally ask their parent’s permission to go to protests.

On a more general note, it’s worth remembering that movements which don’t believe in authority and command structures, generally lose out to movements which do. Case in point being the way that the communists won out over the anarchists in Spain during the ’30s (before the Fascists rolled over both of them). ‘It is forbidden to forbid’ makes a nice slogan, but in any practice, any political movement which wants to get anything done soon learns that it has to forbid a great deal.

#19 Comment By Scott Lahti On October 31, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Somehow, I can’t quite imagine that the Freedom Riders were like this

Apparently, they were not averse to public nudity, especially to the extent their free-riding was literally on horseback, knowledge that was familiar even to the authors of [10]:

♫ Lady Godiva was a Freedom Rider
She didn’t care if the whole world looked ♫

Of course, since she was, after all, a Lady, this led in short order to the classic union song from days of yore and especially mine workers,

[11]

#20 Comment By Charles Cosimano On October 31, 2011 @ 11:52 am

Not let their daughters join them? How the hell do you think they are going to stop them? These are adults. They are going to do what they want and if the parental units don’t approve, too bad for the parental units.

#21 Comment By Stef On October 31, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked. (clutches pearls.)

Seriously, how could anyone watch the film “Woodstock” (or have actually gone, which I didn’t), and not think this was going on?

Rod, if you haven’t already read it, I think you would really enjoy T.C. Boyle’s novel “Drop City.” It’s what happens when a bunch of San Francisco hippies run smack dab into cold weather.

#22 Comment By Dan Berger On November 3, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

@Senescent:
Same with the General Assemblies being run along the lines of consent with anyone possessing a liberum veto. That’s what it looks like when moderns take morality seriously.

(And by so doing, they’re creating a public example to disprove any claims that you can’t run a society like that. With all eyes on them, running a society like that is exactly what they’re doing.)

You might tell that to the Poles; the principle of liberum veto in their Assembly of nobles did not serve them well during the Middle Ages.