Ed Driscoll

A Clockwork Organic Orange

Mark Steyn writes, “Occupiers part of grand alliance against the productive,” in his weekly column:

When the rumor spread that the Whole Foods store, of all unlikely corporate villains, had threatened to fire employees who participated in the protest, the Regional President David Lannon took to Facebook: “We totally support our Team Members participating in the General Strike today – rumors are false!” But, despite his “total support”, they trashed his store anyway, breaking windows and spray-painting walls. As The Oakland Tribune reported:

“A man who witnessed the Whole Foods attack, but asked not to be identified, said he was in the store buying an organic orange when the crowd arrived.”

There’s an epitaph for the republic if ever I heard one.

“The experience was surreal, the man said. ‘They were wearing masks. There was this whole mess of people, and no police here. That was weird.'”

No, it wasn’t. It was municipal policy. In fairness to the miserable David Lannon, Whole Foods was in damage-control mode. Men’s Wearhouse in Oakland had no such excuse. In solidarity with the masses, they printed up a huge poster declaring “We Stand With The 99%” and announcing they’d be closed that day. In return, they got their windows smashed.

I’m a proud member of the 1 percent, and I’d have been tempted to smash ’em myself. A few weeks back, finding myself suddenly without luggage, I shopped at a Men’s Wearhouse, faute de mieux, in Burlington, Vermont. Never again. I’m not interested in patronizing craven corporations so decadent and self-indulgent that as a matter of corporate policy they support the destruction of civilized society. Did George Zimmer, founder of Men’s Wearhouse and backer of Howard Dean, marijuana decriminalization and many other fashionable causes, ever glance at the photos of the OWS occupiers and ponder how many of “the 99%” were ever likely to be in need of his two-for-one deal on suits and neckties? And did he think even these dummies were dumb enough to fall for such a feebly corporatist attempt at appeasing the mob?

An unsigned piece at the New Criterion adds that it’s deju vu all over again:

Back in the day, folks like Jerry Rubin at least had (briefly) the attraction of novelty. What about his heirs, the motley assemblage staffing the entertainment known as “Occupy Wall Street”? Isn’t it, as the philosopher Yogi Berra observed in another context, déjà vu all over again? First tragedy. Then farce. Now, incoherent childishness and pathetic exhibitionism.

The media, natch, has gobbled it up: “Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Anarchists Occupy Wall Street! People with funny hair, unpleasant tattoos, and bad spelling demand revolution!” In one sense, the sideshow that is Occupy Wall Street has been a gift to copy-hungry publications. It’s always fun to quote the permanent adolescents. As Art Linkletter knew, they say the darndest things. You might be worried about paying the mortgage and junior’s tuition; they get to denounce “corporations,” embrace the “environment,” and declare that “Christopher Columbus was the first Zionist.” Who knew? “This is what democracy looks like,” read the banners. Actually, as Anne Applebaum wrote in a column for Slate, it is not what democracy looks like. It’s what free speech looks like in one of its more histrionic varieties. “Democracy,” Applebaum notes, “looks a lot more boring. Democracy requires institutions, elections, political parties, rules, laws, a judiciary, and many unglamorous time-consuming activities,” none of which is as enjoyable as shouting slogans and mugging for the camera.

Making a democracy function requires hard work, but much less so than tearing one down, particularly when your rage is driven by envy towards your fellow elitists. We explored the duality of the OWS gang a few times here this week — many seem to be Blue State Elitists angry at fellow Blue State Elitists whose education and  in some cases social connections allowed them to achieve far greater income and wealth than those who stupidly took Michelle Obama’s advice and avoided going into private enterprise (or went into private enterprise with a degree in Hegelian Post-Structural Dialectic Feminism instead of an MBA). And now it’s time to extract a little blue-on-blue revenge, as Victor Davis Hanson writes today at PJM:

Students with such high opinions of themselves are angry that others less aware—young bond traders, computer geeks, even skilled truck drivers—make far more money. Does a music degree from Brown, a sociology BA in progress from San Francisco State, two years of anthropology at UC Riverside count for anything? They are angry at themselves and furious at their own like class that they think betrayed them. After all, if a man knows about the construction of gender or a young woman has read Rigoberta Menchu, or both have formed opinions about Hiroshima, the so-called Native American genocide, and gay history, why is that not rewarded in a way that derivatives or root canal work surely are?

Class—family pedigree, accent, clothes, schooling—now mean nothing. You can meet your Dartmouth roommate working in Wall Street at Starbucks, and seem for all appearances his identical twin. But when you walk out the door with your environmental studies degree, you reenter the world of debt and joblessness, he back into the world of good money. Soooo unfair for those of like class.

Despite their lacking the taste that Alex in A Clockwork Orange demonstrated towards music, culture and hygiene, OWS, with their faux-hipster stylings and increasing love of violence, is yet another reminder that it’s Anthony Burgess’ world, we just live in it — some of us more peaceably than others.

Related: “‘Largely Peaceful March’ in Oakland? NY Times Again Downplays Occupy’s Destruction.” Gotta keep those readers occupying the cocoon.

Update: “#OWS Protesters Attempt to Storm AFP Defending the American Dream Summit.”