The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The Occupy protesters might bring to mind images of 1960s hippies at first glance, but they have the potential to create a dramatic, important movement. Gene Lyons writes in his new column, “Occupy Wall Street’s Not Woodstock”:

In politics, it’s tempting to turn matters of temperament into matters of principle. Having disliked the hippie-dippy mellow aggression of the 1960s, my first instinct was to dismiss the Occupy Wall Street movement as feckless left-wing tribalism — as unlikely to survive the winter’s first strong cold front as the black flies pestering my cows.

Conservative by nature, I dislike big cities, and tend to avoid crowds. Even in my 20s, I’d no more have joined the drug-addled migration to Woodstock than volunteered for sex-change surgery. We spent that week in Dublin, visiting Jonathan Swift’s tomb — the 18th-century Irish satirist who took a dim view of human nature.

Everything else being equal, all it might have taken to put me off Occupy Wall Street was a widely circulated photo of an overweight Jerry Garcia look-alike wearing nothing but a loincloth, dancing barefoot and tootling on a flute.

That said, things are very far from being equal — or even halfway fair.

Which partly accounts for the near-hysteria on the Fox News/Limbaugh right. To them, the guy with the flute is no harmless eccentric, but a terrible threat. An excitable columnist in my local newspaper, Mike Masterson, described Occupy Wall Street protesters as an “unwashed, whining, smelly mob occupying and infesting Wall Street.”

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Close