Friday, October 14, 2011

New Rule: Emulate Your Villians, or Don't...

For better or worse, I love me some Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher typically ends his show with 4-5 humorous rules making fun of pop culture and ridiculous aspects of society, and then one rule that receives a five minute tangent on how evil the Republican-controlled House is and the necessity of regulating corporations/making drug laws less stupid/clean air. Well, I've a new rule for next Friday's show: You can't support the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) as a liberal response to the Tea Party (TP?) movement if you once characterized the TP as a movement based on willful ignorance without acknowledging it makes OWS, by the transitive property, a movement based on willful ignorance.

Van Jones, the AFL-CIO, and other big names have now gone to bat for OWS over the past week, giving it the momentum to last for at least as long as it takes for NYC to get cold and drive the trustafarians back to The Island. We've also observed pundits and liberals jump on the opportunity to compare the movement to 2009's emergence of angry conservatives collectively known as the Teabaggerspartiers.

The irony lies in how those proud of this comparison so derided the Teabaggerspartiers as a collection of ignorant racists two years ago. They were denigrated for their reactionary nature (a characterization I agreed with, which is why I refused to let Brendan Boyle call me a tea partyist during our late night philosophical debates, regardless of my refusal to believe government is capable of consistently providing efficient services). I don't have a favorable opinion of the movement; it's become part platitudes, part multimillion dollar enterprise that allows Herman Cain to sell books and Sarah Palin to make expensive speeches. This is an evolution from when I just assumed it was willful ignorance and platitudes, personally unable to recognize the profit potential that Russo Marsh and Rogers exploited.

The point to all this is highlighting how the Tea Party Movement was once mocked two years ago, still deserves to be mocked, and the fact that former mockers are now desperate to compare OWS with TP as a force to be reckoned with. Maybe the occupation lasts through the winter - good for those actually making the sacrifice to occupy Zuccotti Park. But don't compare yourself to a movement based on willful ignorance - although your tactics may be different, it only exposes you as willfully ignorant.