This is C-L-A-S-S-I-C:
Last weekend, dozens of photocopied McDonald's job applications were reportedly thrown from the Chicago Board of Trade building onto Occupy Chicago protesters.
Speaking of Chicago - glorious capital of The People's Republic of Illinois - this weekend I was debriefed by a high-ranking member of my personal intelligence organization, and he explained to me something I have suspected all along:
"As you know, Sean, my father was a union member all his life, and there's something the union has called 'Strike Pay' - that's a fund they have set up so when there's a strike, union members have a little money in their pocket. It's not a lot but it's there to help toward paying the rent, cover the bills, etc. To get Strike Pay, the union members have to go down and participate; walk the picket line, carry the signs. You go down and sign in, walk the picket line, sign out; it's about four hours a day."
"I heard these Occupy protesters, about 80 to 90 percent of them are employed. I just didn't know what the mechanism was."
"Exactly. They're professional protesters. They're on Strike Pay."
"That explains why, when they viewed the Occupy tents at night with thermal night vision sights, about 80 to 90 percent of the tents were unoccupied."
"Of course - their work is done, so they go home to Mom and Dad or whoever and then the next day they get up and go down to the Occupy protest and go back to work."
MEET THE OCCUPIERS:
Devon Balkind, 25, Occupation: Open-source everything. Days at protest: "Since day one." What brings you here? "This is the platform for the new paradigm." Do you have a message? “We’re all in this together. We’re getting screwed by our inability to be honest.”
So start being honest, NumbNuts, and stop screwing yourself.
Felicity, 27, Unemployed. Days spent protesting: "The entire time." What brings you here? “I came for solidarity and support.”Do you have a message? “Give us our future back.”
I see a great future for you honey - first step; go out and find a pimp.
Kyle Kneitinger, 22, Student. Protesting since Day One. What brings you here? “With the way things are going in the country, I can’t provide for others . . . I can’t provide for my girlfriend. I’m not here with any group, I’m more about compassion.” Do you have a message? “To Wall Street: Start caring about the people.”
You want compassion? What do you know for compassion? You sure as hell ain't going to provide for your girlfriend by living in a tent down in the park. Hey - here's a suggestion: why don't you explore the MARKETABILITY of passion? That way, your girlfriend can provide for YOU.
Ryan from Seattle, 20, Occupation: "I sit here." Days at protest: Since this Saturday. What brings you here: “I was just hopping freight trains, ended up here.”Do you have a message?: “Kill your television.”
I have a message for you Ryan: Do the gene pool a favor - kill yourself.
Sam D’Arcangelo, 21, Student. Protesting: "Since the beginning." What brings you here? “The political system in this country has been hijacked by special interests. There are things we can change.” Do you have a message? “To Wall Street: Nobody is telling you to give up everything, just enough for everyone to have something.”
You want a piece of Wall Street, Sam? You can have a piece of Wall Street, all your own. Get a job, save your pay, and go out and buy some stock. It's that easy.
Orian Lathrop, 24, Painter. Protesting since the 17th. What brings you here? “I want to get educated about this country, and I wanted to strengthen this community.” Do you have a message? “I would like to see us manifest some positivity.”
Painter? Is that like house painter? Or artist-type painter? You want to get educated about this country? Try walking up and down Sunset Boulevard in a purple leather miniskirt and gold fishnet stockings. You'll get an education, I guarantee it.
Rock Morin, 28, Photographer and out of work EMT. What brings you here? “I like to be near excitement.”Do you have a message? “Just a general sense of injustice. We want to be left alone.”
You want to be left alone, Rock? Stop pissing and shitting in our streets. Pack up your shit and move out. Get out from in front of our TV cameras. Hey - here's an idea: get a job! I know . . . what a concept, right?
Manuel Lightheart, 31, Financial consultant and part of the Light Tribe. What brings you here? "We come out for unity, out of consciousness. We’re here for love, not hate. Would you like some ginger crackers? An apple?” Do you have a message? “Love.”
Am I the only on hearing that music from the Twilight Zone . . . ? ? ?
Jacques, 29, Yoga instructor. First day of protest. What brings you here?: “A general interest in the whole movement; sympathy.”Do you have a message? “We’re here with you, we’re not against you.”
I don't want you with me, Flamer. Get away from me.
Erica Restrepo, 23, "Light worker" (Spreads light and love, another member of the Light Tribe). What brings you here? “Feeling out the vibe . . . we want to bring in a lot of love.” Do you have a message? “All you need is love.”
Do the Light Tribe a favor, Sister: get yourself checked out for STDs.
Steve Smith, 24, Occupation: "Nothing". Days at protest: Three. What brings you here? “I wasn’t going to participate until I saw people getting arrested for wearing the Anonymous masks. I have one, so I put it on and came down here as a show of solidarity.”
Occupation "Nothing" huh? That's inspiring - I really want to become a part of YOUR movement. NOT.
Samuel B. Cohen, Lawyer for the Movement, works at the Law Offices of Wylie M. Stecklow. What brings you here? “We were retained for our services by General Assembly until Friday. I have stayed to educate, not advocate. I’m here if you have legal questions. What does your firm do? "We work with mass defense following demonstrations. Our firm does a lot of work with Rev. Al Sharpton's non-profit, the National Action Network."
The strange pathways our choices lead to through the Journey of Life . . .
Aron Blue, 30-something, musician, activist, and teacher. What brings you here? "I knew about it from various activism channels. I worked at the Independent, was arrested two years ago during a healthcare march. This is my kind of thing." Do you have a message? “I have a song called ‘Don’t You Want to Be Free?’ And I feel like finally I’m watching people understand that more. It no longer feels like I’m writing songs in a vacuum.”
The vacuum still exists, only you're not in it anymore; it's in you. Between your ears.
Desiree DeLoach, 27, Unemployed. Days at protest: All of them. What brings you here? "Our education system is broken; we need to work on literacy in the United States."
Read any good books lately, Desiree? 'If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.'
Sam, 32. What do you do? “Went on a bunch of interviews today. ”What brings you here? “I came here to eat.”
Congratulations, kiddo. You're the only one in this pack of drongos who has a plan and is doing something about it.
Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”
As a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political ramifications of the “movement” - now known as “OWS” - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.”
Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on “transformational” change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.
Yet it’s not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.
Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:
• Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”
No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.
• Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.
While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.
• Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.
• A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.
• There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.