The Birthday of Occupy: Reflections on New York's Fattest
My own favorite Occupy slogan emerged from the dark tents of the lumpenized bohemian elements: “Shit is fucked up and bullshit.” The first time I heard it, probably last October, I laughed out loud. It was perfect in its lack of art, theory, grace, abstraction, education or pretense. It was at once inarticulate and eloquent, stupid and profound. It was Zen in its brevity and hints of vastly deeper insight. You didn’t need to understand Marx’s theory of surplus value, you didn’t need to understand the mechanics of gambling on bubbles of collateralized mortgage obligations. You just needed to understand that shit was fucked up and bullshit. And if you did understand, you had to act.
At first I assumed it must be a quote from some rapper I didn’t know. But I asked around, and everybody insisted it came out of the park, even though nobody knew who originated the phrase. Maybe someone said it at a general assembly and it got echoed by the people’s microphone. The mainstream of Occupy, wary of offending the middle class, never pushed the slogan, but it lived on as an inside joke among the cognescenti of bohemian rebellion.
I was happy to see “Shit Is Fucked Up And Bullshit” on a sign someone was carrying in the distance on Monday at the big birthday party. The slogan perseveres. Occupy perseveres. Wall Street would love to forget it. The corporate media would love to forget it. Both political parties would love to forget it. The union leaders who have thrown in again with Democrats would love to forget it. The sectarian far left, always uncomfortable with a large tent, would love to forget it. But they can’t, whatever they all claim, because shit is still fucked up and bullshit.