Add the holidays to the strange background that is the Wall Street protests. In between holiday viewing like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ some guy is giving his wife a car or a diamond ring. Except that he’s wearing a sweater, it’s pretty much the usual TV fare. In places like the poor sections of Baltimore (or, as the once more upwardly mobile know them, the streets of ‘The Wire’) the protests are, at best, a vague curiosity among that fare. Though there are exceptions, protests have mostly taken a foothold in places where people haven’t so heavily supplemented survival with escapism—in ways that often go back for decades and seem to get worse with each passing one.
David Simon, the creator of ‘The Wire,’ has stated that the series was about people among institutions and social structures that are fixed. The most vocal fans of ‘The Wire’ are fairly similar to the most vocal supporters of the Wall Street protests in media. In the same way they’ve approached that show, I can’t help feeling that they’re supporting ‘the disenfranchised’ as an idea, rather than in an intuitive way that accounts for people whom they would find challenging—particularly for reasons that aren’t stereotypical. And, to be clear, I’m not quite as cynical as Simon, but I think I acknowledge that this ‘fixed’ element of life is around beyond the footnote way that many of his fans have.
Except for their cause, I guess it’s obvious I find it difficult to relate to the protesters. The organizers had, and continue to have, platforms that have largely been as fixed as anything else out there. The sentiment that things are at least somewhat fixed has been explored quite eloquently in the past, and if it’s gotten a place at the table lately, it’s because of who’s collectively saying it this time.
If there’s one thing I admire among some of the protesters, it’s that they’re feeding the homeless in various parks they’ve taken up residence in. If they’re willing to keep doing that, I hope they’re at it throughout the winter. But as of when this was written, two such camps have been cleared in two separate cities. This time of year is supposedly about showing others that they’re worthwhile. But, generally, that tends to be self-fulfilling — people who are already considered worthwhile keep having that reinforced. As I’ve known life, some pretty great people haven’t gotten much of that, for the simple reason that they didn’t have enough of this or that. But what I found great managed to thrive in hard places, and by not being a part of what makes such places that way, they were instrinsically worthwhile. It’s just too bad that’s not something that’s easy to see in one’s self–making the non-exclusive world a bit more breathable.