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I am in New York for a few days of mixed business and pleasure.  When I mentioned to the trimgal that I would be dropping by the occupation zone, she insisted, "Don't you dare get arrested.  You have to pick me up at the airport on Tuesday."  I assured her I could behave.

I got to the Park at about 4pm, and walked around a bit, drinking in the chaos in action.
I have been reading on and off about the movement, and how decentralized, and even schizophrenic it was.  Now that I saw the people gathered, it was reinforced twenty-fold.

I can understand why people, and reporters, and pundits and politicians are wanting to know, "What do you people want?"  And it is clear to me, and anyone who visits the site, that the folks gathered cannot be easily categorized.  Any single label applied universally misses the mark.  

Based on signs and labels displayed, and positions advocated, I saw and heard:
Anarchists
Left-leaning libertarians
Pacificts
Veterans back to WWII (OK, I did not specificallly see a Korean War vet)
Environmentalists practicing their passion
And musicians

I will concentrate on the musicians, particularly the drummers.  

My background is in high school marching bands.  I was in a state champion band as a student, and then when I was a teacher a decade later, I also helped out with another state champion band.

It is not surprising that my taste in percussion is crisp, precise, and uniform.  This is not what you get at OWS.  You get a handful of drummers of different skill levels and styles.  Others join in to express their joy in the drumming.  Some lag behind the beat.  Some cannot anticipate the transitions the group is making.  An outsider searching for coherence and uniformity in the rhythmns produced would be sadly disappointed.  Professional judges from Drum Corps International couldn't begin to understand what was going on using their background.  And yet the drumming continues, and increases.

I leave analysis of the metaphor as an exercise for the reader.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for the drummers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Stokland, Catte Nappe, resa, kurt

    Those chaotic, raucus providers of the beats which drive us forward.

  •  In April you went to a Tea Party-which did you (0+ / 0-)

    prefer?

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Tue Oct 18, 2011 at 05:19:15 AM PDT

    •  OWS v Tea Party Rally? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dude1701, SwedishJewfish, Catte Nappe

      Oh, clearly this.  Though there was some similar vibe in terms of many voices with dissimilar goals.  (The tea-party rally I attended was a fairly localized affair, with little evidence of outside influence, slick marketing, corporate funding, or dare I say "bullet points".)

      But they were much more "buttoned down" than OWS.  The methods and means of expression were much more limited.  I am sure that this was in part due to the fact that they were gathered for only a few hours, rather than a month.

  •  We can't all be Buddy Rich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trimguy, Catte Nappe, resa

    but I do prefer singers who sing understandable lyrics.  Aimless walking just to be walking has never appealed to me but give me a Treasure Hunt and I'm game, which I suppose would be my own metaphor for your drumming example.

    I read a comment on an Occupy facebook site from a woman who actually quoted Beck about them going into the streets and killing you, which, by the way, was the least flaming comment she made.  Responders very nicely invited her to the Occupy site, and she and they could visit about things, and maybe she would change her mind.  Move away, JF, move away, JF, I said to myself.

    •  But we can all drum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      The elite would have us believe that we should only listen to the best.

      We should listen also to the joyful noise that we create.

      •  Perhaps I misunderstood your metaphor? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trimguy

        While I am a huge supporter of all the Occupy sites, physically, long term, they would not be places I would want to be in.  Much too chaotic and it is that dis-consonance that would wear on me.  

        •  Oh, I agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JFinNe, Catte Nappe, kurt

          I camp for a week or two weeks at a time, but it is a form of "glamour camping" with a wooden bedframe, an architecturally sound tent, and many luxories.  I am, I fear, a bit more "buttoned down" than the average occupier, especially as I approach middle aged.

          To clarify somewhat:  

          The corporate media would love to have a concise, bullet pointed list of demands, beliefs and common philospohies from the movement.  They will never get that, because they (heck, I guess I get to use "We" now) could never agree on everything.  

          MSM wants a single beat.  We are cacophany, disrhymthic but ever advancing.  Our critics will never be able to discern a coherant meter to our ramblings, because we are free verse, not a sonnet.  Damn, I just murdered another metaphor.

          But as the long term occupation site, yeah, refer to my initial title:

          A nice place to visit, but...

      •  Can we also all play the violin? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trimguy, resa

        There's something about a drum that causes people to look at it and say, "I can play that."
        This, I believe, is both a bug and a feature.  

  •  Off topic, but (0+ / 0-)

    I marched in a DCI corps way back in 77

  •  You missed a lot, IMHO (0+ / 0-)

    The only thing you came away with was a bunch of labels and a condescending view of drummers there?

    •  I fear you missed my metaphor (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, resa, kurt

      It was a wildly diverse group of people with conflicting views that cannot be described in a quick shorthand that the media so loves and our opponents would love to be able to sum up quickly and thus dismiss.

      It was a true example of "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

      I did not intend my diary to be a complete encapsulation of the two and a half hours I spent there, but rather a vignette.

      The precise drumbeat which was my background has an underlying purpose.  Stripped of its ornamentation, it is to provide a method of having everyone marching at precisely the same speed.  That is the metaphor for conformists.  There are some times and purposes for which conformity is good and useful; but many other times when it is superfluous and even counter-productive.  That this situation is one of those, I had hoped to convey by my feeble writings.  Apparently I failed.  For that, I apologize.

      •  Oh, I get it. (0+ / 0-)

        It's going to go over most peoples heads and come off as a little condescending I'm afraid.

        OWS is wonderful with a dose of asshole. There are these moments when the drum circle coalesces into total wondrous beauty - when it all synchronizes.

        Go back on the weekend when the weekenders are there and you will see what I mean. Go back after 4 or 5. Remember to buy something at one of the local shops to support the local merchants.

        It's all very unique and yet it's also very NY and very American at the same time. And welcome to NY.

        "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

        by resa on Tue Oct 18, 2011 at 10:02:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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