I’m probably late to the whole discussion, but is that Occupy Wall Street thing still happening?
It is? Ah, okay. (Sorry: haven't kept up with the news since the Hallmark Channel started showing their fine and non-stop array of specially-made holiday movies. Did you see the one where the two dogs' owners fall in love in the No-Cal wine country and the hounds themselves actually have voice-over lines? Spectacular!)
Back to Occupy Wall Street. Let me say right up front that, in spirit, I appreciate and share the anger that inspired the whole thing. The system is broken. The system is WAY broken. I have no idea how to fix it and, worse, as with many of the protesters, we despair because it’s reached the point in this country where we no longer believe the system can or will be fixed.
Now, having established that, I also suspect that, as long as Phish and/or any derivation of the Grateful Dead and their myriad spinoffs isn’t (or are not) touring, then, yes, we will have a lot more of the Wall Street protesters than we otherwise would have.
Because, for a LOT of the Occupants, this ain’t the first rodeo. For a lot of these folks, their principal DNA is exactly the same as Deadheads or Glides because they're the same people — and as long as they don’t have Phish or the Dead to follow around, well, there’s nothing else for them to do. They don’t actually exist in American society as functional or contributing components; rather, they’re sorta like flies at the Picnic of Life.
And so they settle in, for the time being, along with the more genuinely angry Wall Street Occupiers.
One suggestion: while I get the whole “freedom of assembly” deal, what if you had to at least correctly answer the following questions before you could enter and pitch your tent in Zuccotti Park? This would provide us with a smaller but more genuine and respectable Occupy base.
1. Who is Lloyd Blankfein?
2. What is the Gramm Leach Bliley Act?
3. You brought toothpaste and deodorant, right?
4. You're uhm, gonna have to leave that flute here at the gate.
I bring the whole Occupy thing up as your official Aging Rock Dude because my pal and properly wondered: Where (or what) is the rousing musical anthem for the Wall Street Protesters?
Haven’t all the great protest movements over the years had some iconic Woody Guthrie or The Boss or Bob Dylan or that woman who sings “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” (while Pete Seeger smiles and nods gently) or Neil Young/Willie Nelson/John Melon Cougarcamp or Bob Geldorf/Bono to provide a soundtrack?
Oh, sure, Tom Morello showed up. Wilco, Radiohead, Talib Kweli, Conor Oberst and Kanye West have all shown up in support. Deer Tick organized a benefit to protest police brutality. The front man for Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Magnum, performed a surprise set in the park causing dozens of folks to say, “Who, again, is Neutral Milk Hotel?” Peter Yarrow was there. Michael Moore. Russell Simmons arrives on an almost daily basis. Now, I haven’t heard that any of these folks have actually abandoned their apartments in the Dakota or their suites in the Ritz-Carlton to actually establish residency, but it’s nice to know they can carve out a few hours to help the cause.
Maybe I’d be less critical of the Star Power folks if they’d just supply some MUSIC! Sorry, but an impromptu set by that Hotel guy ain’t gonna cut it.
Come to think of it: where are Phish and the Dead in all this?! Why don’t THEY show up and play?
Or, if Mayor Bloomberg was smart, he could book Phish AND the Dead for a five day festival in — hmm — Philadelphia! Yeah, Philly! Zuccotti Park would clear out faster than Black Friday shoppers under a pepper spray attack.
In the meantime, if you hear of any Occupy Wall Street theme songs, or have any suggestions, let me know.