A clean, well-lit place to vent
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I heard Diane Rehm's show on NPR this morning when we were on the way to work and got so excited when I heard Diane wonder "how would one interview a 99%er." We had been reading the interview that Mark Slackmeyer was doing with a 99%er and both looked at each other and busted out laughing. How reality and imagination have intertwined in the brain of Garry B. Trudeau! Wonderful.
As a 63-year-old Boomer I've been looking into the mirror of this comic strip for a long time. Santa Rosa is a dynamic city with all the urban problems, only we are doing something about it with Occupy Santa Rosa City Hall. We are sharing our food with the homeless and the hungry, we are making space for everyone to have their voice heard; from folks like your character with bags over their heads to single mothers to drug addicts. Not only the wealthy -- who can afford ads telling us coal is now clean and extraction of natural gas won't bother our drinking water anymore -- need to be heard.
The whine about how boomers are self-involved has a great deal of currency these days. But I never heard it until our kids -- the children of the boomers -- got out into the world and discovered that it was only their own parents who worshipped the ground they walked on. If someone is going to call me self-involved because I don't think the sun shines out of their orifices, I'll survive the epithet. And I'll believe it's true as soon as I am called that by someone who gives more time, money, and energy to charity and good works than I and my generation did and do.
The current STRAW POLL asks "How preoccupied are you with Occupy Wall Street?" I think that we all are a little too preoccupied with it. Notice how long it took for Michael Moore to arise out of his Piano Box and take a stand. He is in Oakland today preaching probably because of the poor way the City of Oakland, one of the worst gang violence locations in the United States, handled the protesters. We, the people, need to get on the same sheet of music and present a 99% front to the issues at hand. Look at the protests and all the dissimilar placards being held up. Chaos at its finest!
You had me GB. You really did. I was getting livid at your portrayal of the OWS dude as an incoherent moron. But your initial portrayal was as misleading as the MSM's ongoing portrayal, and with yesterday's and today’s strips I'm on to ya. Well played, sir.
Doonesbury's got it wrong. The 999 plan should be upside down, not the 99 percent. Nevertheless I am typing this with a bag over my head.
I'm a 27-year-old who's read all your strips (more than once), and I can't believe you could be so wrong about OWS. This movement's just getting started, and you're going to be ashamed of your cynicism before long.
Granted that OWS is not a cohesively formed movement like, say, the Tea Party. And perhaps there are more than a few unusual types involved. But to treat it the way that GBT is doing in the strip now? It feels like a cheap shot. Any movement that lives on the street will pick up street people, obviously, but I don't think that this bag-wearing double-speaking little man in the strip speaks to the kind of people who are out there, to the people who will join them. And it will grow. A lot of people don't have work. They have nothing better to do. I think it's only just begun. Much as I have appreciated your strip through the years, I have to say I'm disappointed with your treatment of OWS.
It's worth mentioning that Michael Moore is on a book-promotion tour. This man has been so demonized that I can't help but think that he is right on target, whatever he is talking about currently.
Ah, Mark! Some of us remember his megaphone days. Experiencing a revelation about oneself is always good, however late it comes. I didn't think the strip would be negative on OWS, even though it's hard not to go out there and try to shake an agenda out of 'em. But right now, a "pure" voice of the people, and especially the presumptive occupants of our future, may be what's needed: a message that can't be co-opted. There aren't many of those left. Even NPR this morning was saying "people seem to be okay with the idea of a flat tax and letting the rich get a break." This "people" isn't okay with it.
To the extent that Boomers are considered to have been born post-WWII, it may technically be unfair to that generation to attribute to it Abbie Hoffman's and Jerry Rubin's behavior. Hoffman was born in 1936 and Rubin in 1938.
I'm amused that people are giving GBT a hard time about the "clowns" comment. So far citizen X hasn't shined, so I'll give his words due respect. But even Zonker makes a good point once in a while, so I wouldn't be surprised if GBT uses this character we're poking fun at to poke a little fun of his own. I think OWS is great, but it's not above reproach.
I went to camp with a kid who wore a sack on his head. Best leader I ever knew.
Yesterday's comment about the ego-driven Sixties radicals was fantastic. As a reporter for the U. of Chicago student newspaper, I was at Grant Park on the day of the Democratic Convention rally/riot, and listening to Eldridge, Abbie, Mailer, etc, I got the ego message loud and clear, all afternoon. So did the two middle class N. Chicago women sitting next to me, the kind of people that the movement needed if it was to effect any change. We all went home and watched the catastrophe on TV. Actually, when I got home I found that my house had been broken into!
I think "clowns" is an inaccurate term for the leaders of many Boomer-era protests (e.g., Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin), just as I think it is inappropriate for Michael Moore (who does not appear to be genetically capable of not slipping in a product reference to a previous or upcoming book or film in every single interview he does). These people are who the clowns elevate to leadership status. In that regard, the Boomers excel at shooting themselves in the foot. As the OWS movement winds down, let us all thank the Boomers for showing us the way to failure: Don't have a plan. Don't learn from your enemy. Don't actually do anything. Scream like hell if you don't get everything you want.
I watch with frustration as the have-nots try to be heard by occupying various cities with varying degrees of success, but I am not sure what they have accomplished. I watch the haves bicker amongst themselves, in their grey suits and red ties, over how much of their obscene wealth we should be allowed to pry from their greedy hands, as we "lefties" try to restore some measure of decency and social justice to this country. In the morning, when I get my daily DB fix, I am just grateful that Mike, Alex, B.D., Toggle, Joanie, and all the other lovely "people" that GBT has given me in the past 40 years remind me that, even though they are cartoon characters, those thoughts popping up over their heads that pop into my head too are coming from somewhere, so I can't be the only one who sees the world just a bit off kilter.
And the "leader" is -- just another white guy. Not to be all PC, but there are a lot of women and people of color out there occupying Wall Street and other locations across the US. I don't expect a black, lesbian amputee or anything, but would it have killed the bit to show a woman or maybe silhouette the last panel? Though, come to think of it, he does look a bit like Scott Thomas Olsen, the Iraq war vet injured by cops in Oakland. Carry on.
It is sad that Citizen X was not aware of Marvelous Mark's previous career as student activist Megaphone Mark, otherwise he might have tread more carefully when commenting on the character of yesteryear's protesters. Why I bet Citizen X has never even heard of Rev. Scot Sloan, the fighting priest! On a related note, it is good to know that GBT has not gotten tired of covering and making some jokes about protest movements, even after 40 years of doing so.
I'm not sure how I feel about the kid with the paper bag (except it's a bit funny), and I'm a real supporter of OWS, though not in a position to be living in a park in NYC or anywhere else at present (have other major responsibilities right now). But I do not think any human social movement can exist long without a semblance of a leader, not because the movement will fail, but because human group dynamics tend to produce leaders naturally. It's like a box of rocks -- you shake it and the little ones settle to the bottom, leaving the bigger ones on top. (What? Human Beings are like a box of rocks? Ummm, yeah, sometimes.)