Occupy Wall Street: too little too late stunt

The simple fact that many people find this cartoon of Mr Burns holding up a placard with the words “I am the 1%. Smithers, release the hounds” amusing is because Mr Burns is a well-known character of the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons where he embodies what the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors consider to be the “enemy”. In The Simpsons, Mr Burns is the shrewd and ruthless industrialist who owns the nuclear power plant that is the pillar of the economy of Springfield, the fictitious small working class town that is the setting of the show. Whenever Mr Burns suspects that the “little people” (most often among whom can be counted the sitcom’s main character, Homer) are encroaching into his personal interests and that of his vast enterprise, he gives the order to his loyal personal assistant Smithers: “Release the hounds” — literally.

In finding the humour behind this simple image, we reveal the irony of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. We’ve long been aware of the reality of people like Mr Burns and we’ve long known how we’ve all played a part in creating people like him. We were just too busy enjoying the good times to really see him as the bad guy these protesters now make him out to be.

People like Mr Burns became rich and powerful simply by responding to what we want:

We want things that we haven’t earned yet, and we want them now.

Simple, isn’t it?

It is this simple want that created the economic order we lament today where wars are fought over energy-dense minerals, work is broken down to meaningless tasks and parceled out to lesser and lesser skilled workers, and people (many of whom are children) in Third World countries are conscripted into the be-all-end-all effort to keep prices of goods and services down. Meanwhile, a big chunk of the capital accumulated from the immense profits generated by this approach to “progress” is re-channeled back to us in the form of credit.

The formula is, indeed, simple when seen this way. Make a lot of cheap stuff by employing resources in an extractive and exploitative manner and use part of the profits to lend money to those who want to buy them.

So I’m not really sure what it is exactly that makes “Occupy Wall Street” such an “in” thing today. To me, it is just a quaint too-little-too-late response to a problem we all had a part in creating; a half-baked attempt to demonise a sector of a society that is a creation of our own addiction to instant gratification.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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9 Comments on "Occupy Wall Street: too little too late stunt"

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Frank
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Going back to one of Ilda’s more prominent articles, and from someone that has actually taken part in that sort of thing recently, I would say it is more of an outlet of frustration that the ordinary person lived his life following the rules, but the so-called “1%” not only profited but also got away with breaking them at the expense of the victims. The European parallel would be the traditionally procedural and rule-loving Germans being frustrated because they have to bail out corrupt Greece. Meanwhile countries like Singapore managed to stay afloat because everyone profited from following their albeit-famously-strict… Read more »
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[…] did happen is conspicuously missing from the Occupiers’ flawed dialectic, as my partner benign0 opined a few days ago: “We want things that we haven’t earned yet, and we want them […]

christy
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I don’t think these protests were there cause it’s ‘in’ to do so. Unemployment rate hasn’t been that greater a scale in the US since the 1930s depression. People there are greatly affected and I even know friends there whose fathers got laid off work and are still among the millions who are unemployed. No subsidies, no free healthcare, no strong unions (luckily i live in OZ cause our leaders have adopted a bit of socialism to their policies). The biggest problem lies with the greed of these industrialists (or capitalist cause I am a bit of a Marxist), who… Read more »
starleo51
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Christy,

Do you have any insight of the root cause of this problem? Any idea what so ever?

MidwayHaven
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In my opinion, both the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party Movement in the United States fail miserably to see the bigger picture. The Tea Party wants small government, which is all well and good. However, the Tea Party could not deny that a large part of its so-called “grass-roots initiative” (which is a flat-out lie, by the way; Google “Koch Brothers”) is social conservatism, a form of antiquarianism that puts emphasis on many things such as expanding the second amendment on guns, banning gay marriage, merging Church and State, increasing military spending, strategic planning for a full-scale invasion of… Read more »
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