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Picture of the Day

October 15, 2011

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Occupy Seattle
Seattle Sounders
This was the third Saturday in a row Sarah and I made it down to the Seattle branch of Occupy Wall Street. There were very few people at Westlake Center so we thought, Wow, so it's fizzled already. What we didn't know was thousands were out marching. When they returned--about 3,000 strong--they sat in the street in front of Chase and dozens of people cut up their bank cards as speaker after speaker addressed the attentive gathering. The most impassioned were teachers, whose words were repeated in the now standard "mic check" style where those closest to the podium repeat what's said for the benefit of those in back. The crowd was so large things had to be repeated twice, growing in volume as the words rippled out. By listening and repeating one becomes the message and the emotion of it really sinks in. The thing I like best about this movement is it brings people together in public spaces to meet and discuss what's going on--an act which until recently seemed all but extinct in this hypermediated age. [Like] It's great to go down, run into friends and neighbors and make new acquaintances committed to change. Hoyt had two free tickets and invited me to my first soccer game.
The beloved home team goalie was retiring so it was a sell-out, something like 63,998 fans and then the two of us who were there
just out of curiosity. I admire the athleticism of the players but it
was like watching really good actors in a farcical play--there is
non-stop action but not enough suspense to make it interesting.
This seemed to be reflected by the loudest fans who got most
worked-up every time they perceived a bad or missed call by the
refs. Is that typical of all soccer games or is it just more of that
Seattle self-righteousness seeping through? (Guilty as charged!)
 The contrast to the afternoon was stark but unsurprising. At
Westlake there was a critique of undue corporate influence,
whereas here thousands embraced the big money circus, going
so far as to wear advertisements for the sponsors in the form of
licensed shirts, hats, scarves, and jackets. It always makes me
sad and bemused to see people acting so sheep-y. It strikes me
as sinister, too, when people mistake conformity for community.