The Occupy movement and resulting marches galvanized the country. But ultimately, was anything achieved? "What were we marching for, exactly?" asked many a supporter. On the day of the second big protest in Oakland, I was walking downtown and passed an older black man sitting on his porch, "Oh you don't want to go down there today. That's a big old mess down there." A mess indeed. Riot cops, helicopters, the anarchist brigade, and black clothing, but not black faces, dominated. I can only presume, considering the long economically depressed condition of West Oakland, that this man had no love for Wall Street bankers, but still, Occupy held no meaning for him.
We'll preface this with a big dose of "We're just sayin'," but we learned today about an event happening Friday called the 1% Singles Ball. Yes, they mean that 1%.
"Meet wealthy singles at Nob Hill's most luxurious hotel," says the press release from the Society of Single Professionals. It refers to the Stanford Court Renaissance Hotel, which "resides on the land where Leland Stanford built his lavish mansion on The Hill of Palaces."
Time magazine wrote a story about this organization and its drive to promote events "catering exclusively to the very rich" -- the richest 1%, as it were, and the counterweight to Occupy's 99%. Read the story here, and we bet you'll say "Really?" just like we did.
Why do the 1% need their own events? Because they're lonely and afraid, according to the organizers.
"The 1% live in constant fear that their money will attract gold diggers, seeking to enrich themselves," states a press release from the group. The events "will be opportunities for the wealthy to comfortably meet people on their own level, so they can feel more confident that the attraction is romantic rather than financial."
What's weird about this? Let's reflect.
Golda Poretsky calls herself a "body love coach." It sounds a lot like a life coach, except her clients are women and men who want to remove themselves from what she calls "the diet roller-coaster" yet maintain their health and learn to love themselves. (She also has a business called Body Love Wellness, a background in nutrition and holistic health, wrote a book called Stop Dieting Now!, and has written for the likes of Jezebel.com.) Late last month Poretsky issued a challenge to progressive politicos such as the Occupy movement to include fat-acceptance in their way of thinking. She came up with a pretty impressive analogy on her blog that highlights the common challenges shared by the Occupy movement and fat activists.
Occupiers, she points out, reject the idea that if you just work hard enough, you can get an education, earn a decent income, buy a house, have a family, and whatever else you might want. Yet things such as discrimination, poverty, vast income disparity, and an economic system rigged to favor the wealthiest insiders stand in the way of these things for 99 percent of us. Poretsky also notes that some people (most of them on the political right) reply by essentially saying "Shut up, hippies! Get a job! If you just worked harder you could be rich like us!"
Then she compares this with society's treatment of fat people.
Reporting on the Occupy movement is a frustrating task, one that has been especially difficult for Susie Cagle. As a graphic journalist, Cagle covers Occupy Oakland with her signature blend of writing and cartooning. While her cartoons make her reporting stand out, they've also led to questions about her credibility. Since the movement began, she's been arrested, teargassed, and struggled to obtain a press pass from the Oakland Police Department. Despite that, she has continued to draw and write about Occupy. Cagle chatted with us about the future of the movement, the definition of journalism, and her work.
Me and my socio-political stand-up comedy crew, Laughter Against The Machine, just finished our first national tour. Collectively we went to six Occupations, in New Orleans, Portland, New York, D.C., and San Francisco. And I would like to make a request of you. Stop talking shit about the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Okay, maybe you're not talking shit about it. Maybe you support it whole-heartedly. Maybe you sleep there, blog, Tweet, Facebook, LiveJournal, go to rallies and protest to show your support of it. Maybe this is hard for you to read because you have tear gas in your eyes. If any of that is true, thank you.
But If you are like many of the people I've seen on my Twitter feed and Facebook news feed then you are sitting in the safe confines of the Internet, one of the most cowardly places on Earth, and you are having a snarkfest. Snark being the lowest form of communication, right below drunken frat boys who scream, "Wooooooooooo!" for no reason.
Ann Coulter's job is to say as many awful things as she can in the increasingly tiny slices of media time that she is afforded. Currently, she's peddling her book on talk radio stations around the country and probably wishing the folks at Fox would call her more often.
This morning, she telephoned Bryan Sussman at KSFO, San Francisco's official media home for people who complain all day that their views have no media home. As you might expect, they talked about her book (SPOILER: The villain is liberals!) as well as the Occupy movement. A total pro, she managed to say at least seven awful things in her twenty minutes:
Occupy Oakland is being evicted from Frank Ogawa Plaza (again). And as the movement continues its struggle to remain lodged in city centers across the nation, thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland one man and his guitar on Saturday did arguably more than anyone at the protests so far in getting the message heard, literally, by the power brokers of the world.
Makana, a Hawaii-based slack guitarist, performed at a dinner reception at the ongoing APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference, where Obama and leaders from Pacific-bordering countries are meeting to discuss issues such as free trade, military strategy, and energy use -- issues that most of the Occupy protesters would like to have a say in.
Twitter is a tool that, among other things, allows people to act like assholes in front of a global audience. Here's how some Twitter folks greeted the news of yet another young man murdered Oakland:
The Occupy movement has generated some exciting and downright scary moments in American society. From the heartwarming camaraderie shown by demonstrators in New York City to the Tiananmen Square like scenes in Oakland, the movement is brimming with stories and fables. So we took inspiration from current events to spawn TV programs that might resonate with the Occupy generation. Forget the politically incognizant shows like Gossip Girl, Glee, or The Real Housewives. Here are some ideas for OWS-based entertainment that genuinely touch on issues faced by this nation:
What goes through the mind of a BART cop when faced with fare-cheaters and agitated protesters? How does an officer decide between civility and strong-arm tactics while operating on such limited geographic terrain -- where one misstep can mean kissing an oncoming train and leaving work that day in a zipped-up bag? These questions are answered in a new reality series BART 911 -- a penetrating exposé that takes a hard look at the endurance and tolerance among members of a misunderstood and despised public transit law enforcement agency.
We've seen many moving, inspiring, and upsetting images from yesterday's general strike in Oakland, but none that seems to capture it all as well as this shot from Kate Conger, SF Weekly's street-fashion maven and all-around good egg. Below are more of Conger's photos, as well as her report of a day that started so promisingly -- and a night that ended so sadly.