In picking someone out from a crowd, one runs the risk of being accused of cherry-picking. So be it. Over the last week I have spoken to a significant number of people involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests, and I have got an idea of some of the themes running through the movement, even if I’m not too much closer to discovering what it would do about its grievances. The videos that I have uploaded have each reflected a certain aspect, they have not been intended to imply that the demonstration is made up of clones of those I chose. The Man In The East German Military Uniform was not included to suggest that all the protesters are borderline insane, but rather to demonstrate that there is a performance-art element to the thing that shouldn’t be overlooked. (And, judging by some of the singing I have heard, the people who rushed down with their acoustic guitars and “played all night” were not exactly at risk of missing a Carnegie Hall date by doing so.) The Amusing Man with the Amusing Sign was included because he had hit perfectly on the inchoate nature of the protests, and on the lack of any serious proposals. And the Vietnamese Immigrant made it up because he showed that there is a real cost to the protests, and one which transcends the police bill.
But nothing had prepared me for meeting this gentleman, who wants his college paid for because, well . . . that’s what he wants. He has perfectly articulated a sentiment I have heard repeatedly but was struggling to distill with anything like the clarity he achieved: That being that if there is something someone doesn’t like about their life, someone else somewhere should change it. And if they don’t, well then, the American Dream is dead: