Thursday, October 13, 2011

Melville: the Key to Understanding Occupy Wall Street (or: How Literature Can explain Everything)(or: Stick This in Your Dismissive Pipe and Smoke it)

Two great quotes from the best piece on the Occupy movement I’ve seen:

“The point of Occupy Wall Street — and the Occupy movements around the country — is to put a face to America’s dwindling middle class. There is no need to be any more specific than that. In fact, it seems that the less specific, less reasonable, and less demanding the protesters are, the more likely they are to unnerve those who actually have the power to make a change.”

“If Occupy Wall Street has any goal, it should be to have the same effect that great literature has — to unsettle. Let the pundits complain about vagueness, and let the reporters ask their condescending questions. (As an example, here’s one I heard put to a young man standing near me: “Is it true that you want to put all the bankers in jail?”) Let them tease, let them pacify, let them cajole, let them argue. But don’t move, Occupy Wall Street.”

Even if you have not read the Melville story (and you ought to), this should resonate and maybe pacify those all too willing to dismiss it outright.