Did you ever believe that sitting down and screaming in the middle of a Wal-Mart was the best way to get your way? You did? Outstanding. Boy, have we got a movement for you.
In the sixth episode of the second season of The Big Bang Theory, Dr. Sheldon Cooper is asked to talk to a group of graduate students. In the episode, titled the Cooper-Nowitski Theorem, Dr. Sheldon Cooper explains everything that is wrong with everyone under twenty five. To quote...
Sheldon: "Looking out at your fresh young faces, I remember when I, too, was deciding my academic future as a lowly graduate student. Of course, I was 14, and I had already achieved more than most of you could ever hope to despite my 9:00 bedtime. Now, there may be one or two of you in this room who has what it takes to succeed in theoretical physics, although it's more likely that you'll spend your scientific careers teaching fifth graders how to make papier-mâché volcanoes with baking soda lava. In short, anyone who told you that you would someday be able to make some significant contribution to physics played a cruel trick on you, a cruel trick indeed. Any questions? [No one in the classroom says anything] Of course not. I weep for the future of science; now if you'll excuse me, the latest issue of Batman is out."
In short, the word special is actually special for a reason. This word should not be doled out or encouraged upon everyone whose parents can afford a good school. About twenty years ago, kids were encouraged to love themselves at unprecedented levels. 'Self Esteem' became one of the most important tenants of childhood development. The trouble was that achieving self esteem also came with some rather high benchmarks. To be considered talented on some level, you had to actually have some sort of talent. This was a problem for what was known as 'The Me Generation.' The Me Generation created 'Latch Key Kids.' The 'Latch Key Kids' were generally ignored by thier Me First Generation parents. The Latch Key Kids were told to go home, let them selves in thier own houses, make thier own food, and learn thier value systems from Sesame Street, He-Man, and most importantly MTV. When your nanny tends to sport stilleto bra boobs, you get some interesting ideas of how to raise children. More importantly, your moral fiber is generally water soluble. Self Esteem was just too good an idea only for the talented or truly special. There had to be a way for everyone to be full of.... well... self esteem.
The conclusion was not to find more and better ways to make children legitimately special. The solution was to lower the bar of speciality so low that any idiot could be special. The new equation for child rearing went as follows.
Confidence - Any Real Achievement = Entitlement - Any Real Accomplishment.
The Latch Key Generation (or what became known as Generation X) started to have children them selves eventually. The new generation became known as Generation Y. Y may or may not stand for youtube. Raising Generation Y became a critique on how the previous generation had been raised. Notably, that whole idea of allowing children to fend for themselves like a pack of wolves. Children now needed to be encouraged, trained coddled, and made special since birth. If little Suzie isn't saying a French word by the age of three, you might as well just avoid years of horror and fit her for a padded helmet right now. If little Johnny wasn't hitting clean-up by five year old t-ball, how in the hell was he ever supposed to make it to the major leagues? Every stage of childhood development was a pre-cursor to destiny. Its all destiny I tell you. Basically, you now have elementary classrooms filled with students who are bound to be the next Harry Potter, Albert Schweitzer, and Marie Curie all rolled up into one.
You can't take children this special and expect them to drain ditches or flip burgers. Never mind that Aldous Huxley brillaintly warned against the dangers of putting a society together of Alphas and Betas together in Brave New World. Rather than the desired effect of raising Kryptonian Super Geniuses, you now have a generation whom in the words of Sheldon Cooper "played a cruel trick on you, a cruel trick indeed.."
"*everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone's super...
No one will be." - Syndrome (The Incredibles 2004)
In the early part of the twentieth century, one of the great environmental causes of modern times emerged. This was the fate of the declining population and possible extinction of the proud California Condor. With the renewed environmental movement sparked by such luminaries as Ansel Adams and John Muir, the California Condor became a cause celebre to many. The preservation of this proud species with the pickiest mating habits this side of a Kardashian had to be preserved. Condors were gathered up and raised in captivity. The point of captivity all along was to proudly release the Condor back into the wild. They were raised, coddled, and treated like national treasures. Finally, at the end of it all, they were ripped from thier captive homes and set free out into the wild. The problem was that they had no idea how to exist in the wild. They had no idea how to exist in a non coddled environment without the whole world taking care of them. It was a completely foriegn and disturbing environment to them. As such, they ended up attacking humans for food as well as eating out of garbage cans. California Condors had been raised as special only to morph into children of an enhanced welfare state.
This is almost exactly the same philosophy that many in the Occupy Generation were raised under. The extended metaphor would actually be the Disney movie Bolt. Everyone that these people knew from birth played along in a fantasy world. The fantasy world told them they were the most glorious one of their kind. As such, success and riches would follow them all the days of their lives. This was the Pinnacle of Promise of Aunts Eternally Pinching Cheeks. In their minds, they had been raised to believe that they possessed world beating super powers. They knew karate as well as Bruce Lee. They were friggin' Einstein and could walk through time as well as wormholes. Every day was a good day to be them. After all, every family member, friend and authority figure in their life had played along with this Avatar world created for them. They were seven feet tall, blue, heroic, and astonishingly beautiful. The trouble came when they left the 'set.' The problem also was when they left the 'set.'
Thus you have the Occupy Generation's conundrum now immortalized fittingly by a figment of someone's imagination named Tyler Durden in the film version of Fight Club.
"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off. "
The trouble was that their well intentioned Me Generation parents never considered that their perfect children would step into the 'real world' as the 'real world' stood on the precipice of a total abyss. More to the point, the Wall Street Collapse caused the resultant Great Recession. This gives you an army of perfectly designed clone troopers all fighting for the same inglorious scraps of specialness. Of course, you have to process this one down the lines of someone who only has so many ways to process information...
"I did everything right. I am special. I am the best. The reason why I don't have a job right now commiserate with my talents is because some f*****s up in Wall Street f*****. Wall Street is to blame. They created a world that was never meant to be."
It wasn't the fault of the California Condor that it was born special and thrown out into the cold. The fault laid with the people who made the decision. The fault lay with the bankers. It was never that they were presented with an unrealistic expectation of the world as well as their own abilities. Someone else was to blame. They grew up right. the unsustainable should have been sustained.
In the movie Star Trek; Generations, the villain Soran teaches a few really great points. As such, Soran is often overlooked. No one identifies with Soran because no one really wants to see themselves as Soran. LIke some foppish British actor who is now in the indredibly nuanced role of a Giant Chicken, enough contradictary messages can lead to some very conflicting viewpoints. There was a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip several years ago that illustrated this point perfectly. Calvin decided to embark on a new me-first philosophy. In this philosophy, Calvin would do whatever the hell he wanted and quite frankly damn all the consequences. Hobbes thought that Calvin had such a wonderful idea that Hobbes would adopt this philosophy as well. Calvin had to rather sheepishly admit at the end "It only really works if I am the only one really doing it."
Soran was inside of the Nexus. The Nexus is a ribbon in which reality bends to your will. The Nexus also sustains all who are in the Nexus. Its a wonderful thing... as long as you stay in the Nexus. The Nexus does not expecially care who is in the Nexus. You may not even know who else is roaming around in this wonderland that artificially takes care of all your whims. The trouble is that The Nexus will not come back for you. You have to re-enter the Nexus on your own. This is if you happen to leave. Soran spends decades inside the Nexus. When he is ripped from the Nexus, Soran is willing to destroy a solar system just to get back into the Nexus.
The point is that if the un-reality seems like perfectly plausible reality to you - then the un-reality can leads to some really messed up logic. You can also be willing to destroy most anything in order for the world to allign with your world view.
Consider for a moment the basic tenants of a worldview in which you consider your self to be completely autonomously special as a member of the 99 percent. You wish to see the downfall of large corporations so that you may secure a better higher paying job. Protest the financial system for a more equitable redistribution of wealth. Become a political force for enhanced democracy by not voting and opting out of the political process. As long as it is greed benefiting everyone, no one has to deal with a negative personality trait. On some level, it all gets back to sitting on the floor in Wal-Mart throwing a temper tantrum until some one buys you a wa wa.
The actual history of what became Occupy Wall Street started in Canada. Ideally, Trey Parker and Matt Stone should have had a lot more fun with that one. The Canadian group Adbusters alligned with what became known as the New York General Assembly to launch a protest against corporate greed. No one ever bothered to get a permit for this protest. The decision was made to stage the protest on private property. This is how the protest famously came to Zuccotti Park. Zuccotti Park, despite the really exotic spelling, is not exactly Wall Street. When it was discovered that the movement was young as well as generally leftist, major media outlets were instantly sympathetic. Many journalists were swept up themselves in the ideas of the movement (whatever they were) and experienced something they had only rarely experienced before. In hushed tones, this would be called an erection.
Occupation was on. It was given to us by the same place that thought making Celine Dion was a good idea.
Well, there was no reason to actually stand around in the cold ... now was there? I mean. What sdort of occupation had to be endured without at least some creature comforts? So, tents, sleeping bags and questionable sanitation started to pop up and quite frankly plop down. Occupying was not exactly a boon to the local economy. The words 'dirty hippies' started to get bandied about. Other areas in the country started to jump on the 'Occupy Movement' up to and including bowels. Wait? Whats this you say? The town of Oakland, California is already given to leftist leanings as well as batshit crazy? Well, come one in brother. Towns such as Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Baltimore, and Tampa joined in the fun to protest their own sometimes non-existent financial districts. Mostly, they were like against stuff and junk and whatever. In Oakland, the fun of urban unrest was particularly uplifting. In one famous incident, the Occupy Oakland crowd actually shut down a local port. The protest started for better jobs and more equity in wealth distribution had finally succeeded in shutting down part of the economy. Progress, there is no stopping it, Of course, it would not be Oaklanf if the event was not marked by some random looting.
Things were all going so well. The competition between different Occupy movements for shameless media whoring became almost like girls sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories.
"Oh my God!!! Did you hear what happened in Nashville?"
"Yeah, some pig cop told this guy public urination was against the law..."
"Oh man, they are so going to use night sticks soon."
"Wait until the first person like dies..."
"Oh yeah, they are going to be sooo internet famous..."
It was such a good idea you almost had to wonder why no one had ever seriously considered living in tent cities and crapping on public sidewalks before. That is, of course, outside of your basic cult.
Several years ago, ESPN did a series of commercials about a Football University. Professor Berman introduced the Socratic method of teaching to relate to football. The question was asked what quarterback Neil O'Donnell should have done in Super Bowl XXX. The class gave several answers. Finally, Chris Berman said "Maybe Neil O'Donnell should not have thrown the interception. FUNDAMENTALS PEOPLE!!!" I can say from personal experience that I was not night sticked or arrested once during the entire Occupy movement. This may have had something to do with never going down to a public park, spending the night, or getting in the face of a police officer.
Of course, like to a greater degree the 'Boston Massacre' and to a lesser degree... well the Occupy movement.. those entrusted with keeping the peace are to blame for all of the disruption. The Occupy Movement was causing the cities afflicted by it in some cases thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. This was mostly in over time to police officers as well as property damage. After a month or so, clean up efforts started and clashes developed between protesters as well as the police. Warnings were ignored. Arrests started to pile up. The whole thing was written off as a crackdown by the man. Slowly, even reporters as MSNBC started to become flaccid again. The news cycles on the stories had started to dissipate and .. OH MY GOD.. Steve Jobs died. Jobs death was curious in it pointed out the emotional attachment that many in the Occupy movement seem to have to Apple products. After all, what is a draconian user license agreement in the face of a really bitchin' Ipad 2? He was thier favorite billionaire.
Being the first to receive escalating levels of pain was a badge of friggin' honor to these people. First, you had the first one to get whacked. Then, you had the first concussion as well as the first hospitilization. When the started whacking around pregnant and elderly people, the Occupy finally proved... that elderly and pregnant people could be just as big a pain in the ass jackass as everyone else? Not really sure of the heroic point on that one, but the important thing was people were getting smacked around by police. This was so that one day they could proudly apply to a good job in corporate America... with a police record. Again, the logic gets a little bit fuzzy but hopefully someone had attachment free sex with hippie chicks.
As a symbol of the Occupy Movement, there is no one really more perfect than Michael Moore. He is rich enough to be considered one of the One Percene yet feels like he should not be lumped in with 'them.' The man lives on the richest lake community in Michigan while unemployment is rampant all around him and says he speaks for everyman. Never was there a bigger contradiction in comfortable shoes. Michael Moore is what Occupiers aspire to be. He is rich. He makes movies. He is thought of a special. There is only one Michael Moore. Michael Moore fits the Occupiers sensibilities while more accurately embodying the sensibilities of Ayn Rand. As such, Michael Moore proudly marched with the 99 percent as if he belonged. In the end, he did.
We are the 99%
This is credited to some guy named like Chris on Twitter. The phrase was based on the amount of wealth controlled by one percent of the population. This one percent includes Michael Moore, but Moore is given a pass because he loves Canada and dresses really badly. Of course, Moore's ilk got to say..
We are the 1% Who Support The 99%.
In opposition, there are whats known as the 58%. The 58% pay 100% of the federal taxes which keep this whole operation afloat. For all of this protesting, Wall Street is actually enjoying a banner year. The only thing Wall Street ever really got upset about was anyone claiming the right to ever criticize thier compensation packages. Bastards.
In the end, The Occupy Movement found its scariest foe. The unbridled apathy and collective cannibalism that is a 24 hour news cycle. As Kim Kardashian can tell you, if you don't put on a sports bra, wedding, or sex tape; then news outlets get pretty unforgiving. After all, Whitney Houston up and died. Thats doing something. Sitting on your dead ass waiting to join in a DDOS attack of hacktivism can only go so far. Ask Julian Assange what it feels like to become an afterthought on The Simpsons. The latest 'event' seems to be that the Occupy Movement wants everyone to take a day off on May 1st. This would supposedly show the world all that one more day of nothing can accomplish.