I know very little about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and for this I feel guilty. What I know is that it’s a non-violent protest movement addressing (in part, at least) the vast inequalities between the rich and the poor in this country. What I also know is that I fully endorse such a protest (even if I haven’t taken part), and I have little sympathy with those who are trying to silence and/or undermine the protest.
But what can I do? I could certainly go out and protest, but I’m not going to (at least at this moment). I suppose I’m not sure my one warm body would add all that much (but, of course, democracy is just a bunch of warm bodies sticking together) and I suppose that I’m also not sure of what I, exactly, would be protesting (in truth, I’d just be showing solidarity with those already protesting).
I could write, of course, in support, bring my written words into line with my politics (assuming I could straighten out my politics enough to make my words clear). What’s stopped me in the past is the idea (preconceived notion) that art in service to politics ceases to be art and, instead, is propaganda.
Lemony Snicket (alter-ego of Daniel Handler) is one of my favorite writers, and you can find his take on the whole OWS affair here. And the reason I’m writing this piece now is his piece, and my belief that it manages to be a work of art while speaking to the politics of the moment. Lemony gives a scathing judgement of those judging OWS while still keeping the subject universal and without losing his trademark wit. It’s what I’d like to do (and would, if I had an alter-ego with such a well-defined voice and could come up with what is, essentially, a modern parable).
And maybe I will.