W. Kamau Bell: "Stop Talking Shit About the Occupy Movement"
Me and my socio-political stand-up comedy crew, Laughter Against The Machine, just finished our first national tour. Collectively we went to six Occupations, in New Orleans, Portland, New York, D.C., and San Francisco. And I would like to make a request of you. Stop talking shit about the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Okay, maybe you're not talking shit about it. Maybe you support it whole-heartedly. Maybe you sleep there, blog, Tweet, Facebook, LiveJournal, go to rallies and protest to show your support of it. Maybe this is hard for you to read because you have tear gas in your eyes. If any of that is true, thank you.
But If you are like many of the people I've seen on my Twitter feed and Facebook news feed then you are sitting in the safe confines of the Internet, one of the most cowardly places on Earth, and you are having a snarkfest. Snark being the lowest form of communication, right below drunken frat boys who scream, "Wooooooooooo!" for no reason.
Hating Occupy is the new Hating Sarah Palin. But there is a difference: One is worthy of your scorn whereas the other could use your help. It's amazing and depressing to me how many cool people I know who are spitting back the major media's talking points about Occupy like they are being paid by CNN. These are the three most common "points."
"The agenda of the occupy movement is unclear."
It's only unclear if you aren't listening, or if you are one of those people who can hold only one idea in your head at a time. Admittedly, Occupy has a diverse set of goals. Because it turns out that when nearly everything is fucked up, nearly everything needs fixing. And, thankfully, there is a sign somewhere out there for everything.
"Well fine, but what happens next?"
If you're wondering about what happens next after the encampments, why not get out there and help them figure that out. You don't even have to leave your home -- if you are lucky enough to still have one. Just channel that snark into actual suggestions and ideas. If not, then you are no better than the Wall Streeters and politicians who got us into this in the first place. ... Okay, maybe you are slightly better, but I don't want to sit next to either of you on a plane.
"Michael Moore is an opportunistic, millionaire, blah blah blah..."
I immediately tune out when people start to put down any of the more famous and notable people who have shown up at the encampments. It's not that I even agree with everything Michael Moore says or that I think Kanye West showing up is the modern equivalent of the cavalry, but at least they are trying, while comparatively speaking, your resume is a blank piece of paper. Instead of getting your Internetic rocks off talking smack about a celebrity's involvement, get up off your fat brain and DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE!
Everything doesn't always have to be everything. Some things lead to other things. Many people criticized Martin Luther King Jr. before the March on Washington, because he didn't have concrete "asks" of the government. "You're gonna march on Washington? Then what? You're gonna give a speech??? That had better be a great speech."
Well, it was a great speech. And it inspired many to grow up and work hard to make the world a better place, even though the speech didn't actually DO anything. We are --- hopefully, with your help --- at the very beginning of where all the awesome Occupations lead.
Because all I know is that when I see white people regularly yelling at police officers, then something good is happening. I know it is easy to be snarktastic, but why do it with the Occupy Movement? There are plenty of things to snark about that don't involve the oppression of the poor. Do yourself a favor. Be on the right side of history.
Kamau's Komedy Korner is
a weekly an occasional blog column about San Francisco comedy and culture by W. Kamau Bell.