Escape from New York
So, the #Occupy Movement decided to hold a world-wide demonstration on the weekend of the New York Comic Con. AAAaaaauuuuggghhhh! as Charlie Brown would have said. Or as Dick Cheney said, other priorities. I’d already spent mucho bucks not just for the convention tickets, but add in train fare to and hotel in New York City and oops, sorry, I have to be a cartoonist this weekend, not an activist. Please don’t hold anything important on the weekend of AnimeUSA, thank you.
I’m not sure NYCC was worth it tho. There were so many people there, it’s a wonder I found anyone I knew, let alone make any contacts–which, besides seeing the new Makoto Shinkai anime, was the reason I went for. One woman I heard talking was saying she had a panic attack from the crowd and I believe her. The convention now takes the entire Javits Center and was completely filled, wall-to-wall, with people in or out of costume. Not to mention so many exhibitors that I don’t think you could have seen all of them if you’d been there for the entire 4 days–not if you had any other things to do–like eat. Shoutouts to my friends Brad Guigar, Murder Nurse and Moxiecat–and if anyone else was there that I know: What? didn’t you see me wave?
Now, the last time I’d been to New York for any time over a hour had been 2 and a half years ago. I grew up in New Jersey. I KNEW New York was expensive. I knew what the hotel cost. I knew what the train cost. But I had no idea HOW expensive it had become until I actually arrived there. You can’t take a step outside the hotel without spending five dollars. Seriously, a little man comes up to you and collects a “breathing charge.” If you actually do anything–like buy a hot dog–you’re out 10. Down here, panhandlers come up to you and ask for a couple of bucks because they need busfare. One came up to me outside Penn Station and asked for $20 for the train.
The reason, I think, has something to do with trickle-down. All the money in the world has trickled down–to the southern tip of Manhattan. And just like in a gold rush, the closer you get to the mother lode, the more expensive things get, just because they can, because that’s where the money is. One politician said recently that $150K a year in New York wasn’t wealthy because of the expenses. It’s true. And at the same time, that’s just f#$%^& insane. He has my sympathy. But I have no sympathy for the conditions that make that true.
The Occupy Movement has reached an extremely crucial stage–it’s been going on so long and has achieved world-wide status that the politicians can no longer afford to ignore it. The robber barons and their Republican minions have started attacking the protesters as unwashed hippies, college students looking for a thrill, commies and socialists. This kind of thing is un-American (not like the Boston Tea Party). The Democrats are now trying to co-opt the movement so they can lead from behind in the hope that this will result in votes. But what they don’t get is that this isn’t about politics as they are in the US. This is about a totally corrupt culture where money talks and both political parties jump. The Republicans may be the primary abettors, but the Democrats are the enablers. After all, when the Supreme Court decided that money was speech and that corporations could not be fettered in their exercise of free speech, they legalized bribery–as long as it was disguised as a campaign contribution.
In 1984, Orwell predicted perpetual warfare. What he didn’t foresee was the perpetual election, a feature peculiar to these United States. In the UK. a national election can be held within a month of its necessity. Here, the campaign for the next election begins the day after the voting. The need for campaign contributions doesn’t end, but like a junkie’s addiction, grows as the amounts needed for campaigning grow less effective, so that you need more and more, until the purpose for holding office and the need to raise cash for it are indistinguishable. Politicians are addicted to the process and the only cure is cold turkey.
And that’s why we need to Occupy Wall Street. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the YouTube of Sgt. Shamar Thomas at Times Square, scolding the NYPD for their lack of honor :