If you please, the Sixties are OVER
The little branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement encamped at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor reports that some motorists shout “Get a job!” as they drive by. If getting a job were that easy these days,* a lot of those people wouldn’t be demonstrating.
The choleric response to the Occupiers says something about how deeply stereotypes are embedded in our culture wars. We have the Spoiled College Kids Smoking Dope stereotype, the Lazy Bums stereotype, and the Dirty Hippies stereotype surviving from forty years ago, and some people reach for them reflexively.
Alison Kosik of CNN summed up the movement thus on Twitter: “bang on the bongos, smoke weed!” Bongos? Bongos! Has Maynard G. Krebs** turned up?
So the generals are once again fighting the last culture war.
If you concede that the tea party movement has legitimate grievances to express—and I concede that, even though those grievances have been somewhat obscured by the racist overtones and the illogical, frequently misspelled get-the-government-out-of-my-Medicare placards—then you ought to look for legitimate grievances among the Occupiers. I suggested previously that if you are suspicious of government, as Mr. Jefferson thought you should be, you probably ought to be equally suspicious of corporations.
Mr. Jefferson didn’t think much of banks, either.
*Let me suggest, from personal experience, that it’s not.
**Little Ones, Mr. John has to explain something from the Olden Times. Before there were dirty hippies smoking weed, there were beatniks, a kind of ur-hippie. They were represented to middle-class American on television in the early 1960s by the Maynard G. Krebs character in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The character was played by Bob Denver, who went on to become the eponymous Gilligan in Gilligan’s Island, another dark chapter in America’s cultural history.