A Rather One-Sided Socratic Dialogue Concerning Occupy Wall Street

“The protester must be made aware that their freedom to express their grievances must not interfere with our freedom to conduct our life and daily activities”.

But if we come to work, and the boss calls us into the office, and informs us we’re terminated, doesn’t this “interfere with our freedom?” If a mortgage company fraud-closes our home, doesn’t this “interfere with our freedom?” If the cops close down a subway station in order to entrap OWS protesters, does not this interfere, not only with the protesters’ freedom, but with ours, when we planned to get off at that stop in order to get to work on time?

Don’t Julia and Brad “interfere with our freedom” when they block off a street to make a lighthearted romantic movie about Rich People In Love? Big studios can afford the investments, donations, and naked kickbacks that are in reality required to make a movie on location. Small film-makers often have to film guerrilla-style.

Doesn’t Ed Norton “interfere with our freedom” when he and his mates use a high tech, high power Roto Rooter to engage in months long projects, the purpose of which they never explain, of excavation, tunneling, and for all we know, archeology?

[“Hey lookit what I found today Ralphie Boy”].

Note for you young whippersnappers, that’s not “Ed Norton” the skinny actor it is “Ed Norton” as played by actor Art Carney, Ralph Kramden/Jackie Gleason’s sidekick in the old TV series which inspired, if that’s the word, the Flintstones. You know. The Flintstones. Yabba, dabba, doo. Oh never mind.

Like Hamlet’s father in the old play, Ed Norton and his mates may be worthy pioneers, tunneling under the earth; but they never explain why they make such noise.

Of course, the City “interferes with our freedom” in countless ways. There are eight million ways in which we are discombobulated in da Naked City.

Comes now Occupy Wall Street. Gee, how are they any different, and in many ways are they not rather an improvement? For one thing, their women are more attractive than the fat tourists. Their music and drumming overcomes the Cacophony and Pandaemonium. They would mount the Merrill Lynch Bull (that symbol of society become second nature: that Golden Calf which we must perforce worship) in a dancer’s gesture.

Edward G. Nilges, Occupy Wall Street, or, Something is Afoot. Pencil, pen, Conte, fuser, Gimp, 20 Nov 2011.

Our children love the OWSers because they smile and dance even as our children love the annual Gay parade even though our children statistically won’t turn out gay, and if they do, God love them, as we Irish say.

Why and how is OWS singled out for special censure?

I will tell you by way of a digression on my former business: software development. In that racket there was a strange abstraction, the “user”. The “user” was invoked as a sort of deus or daemon *ex machina* by people in meetings any time a manager, or incompetent developer, felt mentally challenged. He would then call and cry, formulaically, ritualistically, “but da User don’t give a rat’s ass ’bout all dat”.

It was never clear who da User was; Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra noticed that when that word, “the User” appeared in texts translated to his language, it was itself left untranslated as in “gewoort behoove sind der User gemootlikeit” or something (don’t try to back-translate, I don’t know Dutch: that’s pig Dutch, makemup Dutch).

This is because in a corporation power is mobile and you never know where it alights, therefore what we MEANT by “da User” was an abstraction, the solution to an inequality: He Who Must Be Obeyed Because He Has Minimal Intelligence, Minimal Compassion, Minimal Taste, and Maximal Power. Or, in the rare case of a Carly Fiorina, She Who Must Be Obeyed, etc.

In a city, He Who Must Be Obeyed is this abstraction. He Who May Be Brutalized is the solution to the reverse equation, and if you want to be He (or She) Who May Be Brutalized, be smart, subaltern and fight back.

Thank you for your attention.

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One Response to “A Rather One-Sided Socratic Dialogue Concerning Occupy Wall Street”

  1. If it was and idea world, we could end all the brutalize things that happen to people. But it is not, so the only hope is we do not take on that type of baggages toward others.

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