Open Letter to Michael Roth: Regarding Occupy Wall Street
Argus headline, Nov. 18, 2011: “Students Decry Anti-Feminist Speaker at DKE, Hold Sit-In.” You’re quoted under the headline: “The talk seems to be sponsored by people who have no idea what is happening on the Wesleyan campus. There is no war on fraternities here, although we are waging a struggle against sexual violence.”
Uh-huh. A number of female occupants of Occupy Wall Street’s encampments reported assaults upon their unmentionables (could be they were Camp Fire girls). Where then was your directive to Wesleyan students to shun the rads’ encampments, or suffer the pains of suspension? Missing in action. Also missing: your muttered, morning-after wish that those kisses of yours which had married your lips to the harried butts of the sans culottes, had all been boots and cusses.
But I suppose I’m missing the point: Occupy All Streets’ discerning crooks are doing the Lord’s work, separating the 99% (the sheep) from the 1% (the goats). Michael, you don’t want to go there: Your annual income is north of 338K, I believe. That makes you one of the 1%, the burdensome goats you brand with an exclamation point: “the rich!” That said, it’s only a matter of days or weeks (I’d told myself some months ago) before those chickens of yours, their feathers ruffled and pepper-sprayed, come home to roost in YOUR chateau. And not just any chateau, that tawny landmark flaunting the Mayflower-sealed medallion.
Michael, clamp on your earmuffs ere I mention YOUR unmentionables: the Mayflower’s hundred-odd boarders who’d put their shoulders to the task of launching an enterprise whose prospects had proven more bierish than bullish for half of them, the victims of the Apostles’ creed: the commune life.
As for the half who survived the Apostles’ design for living, one sorry bunch of “commies” they made, for they could admit to having erred. Turning back the page from the New to the Old Dispensation, they sighted the passage, “Let every man eat of his own vine and fig tree.” And so “So be it!” that half determined, and here it is, the going concern whose many happy returns (among them: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) you treat not as a gift, for that might require a word of thanks, but as a given. A mean feat. You bank the capital gains while paying rank neglect to the pluck of the self-elected souls who’d made those gains foreseeable. And you make it all look easy, given the yeoman help of those bursting stores of smallness you market under your Humanist label.
That high-end label, with its aroma of snob appeal, you market in tandem with low-end Social Justice, with its aroma of mass appeal. The firebrand to whom you’d turned over the rostrum to mark – nay, more: memorialize – your first Commencement, would redistribute what isn’t his and call it Social Justice. Michael, what would you call it? “Cool!” I’m guessing – unless “what isn’t his” were yours.
Why haven’t that barn-burner’s marching bands of Jacobins (and, not to mention, yours) converted your study in stucco into a jakes? If the chickens won’t be roosters, will they be a Jacquerie centuries past its “do not sell” date, a Bundschuh cobbled together, wearing thin, and falling apart? Without a doubt the Gospel of Marx would have the answers, but I’ve been looking over your shoulder and reading what you’ve been reading: the handsome returns on your hefty investment in Optics Control. That would be the business of keeping your mortal coil off the tumbrel headed for Tumblehead. How so? By keeping you looking good.
Last Homecoming Weekend the home team was losing; no face in the Cardinal stands was smiling – but there was yours. The camera snapped it fairly beaming, “I’ve just been crowned Miss Homecoming Queen!” Snapshots are fine, but where you really shine is in motion pictures, and were you a smoker of toke or loco weed, I’d know what to make of your loco motions. One Summer Film Series evening you introduced a film. Deserting the lecturn, you darted here, you darted there, you whirled about, you stabbed the air. Alas, D’Artagnan, I don’t remember what you said – the showy display of your sound and fury drowned the words.
Your film studies course is hugely popular, thanks to free popcorn, I’ve been told. No, I’m not buying: You know full well that stylused distillers are cheaper than popcorn (the latest quote on stylused distillers: a dime a dozen). I have to think one over- inventoried crockhead free- poured some serious cheer from a crock labeled Corkers: “Michael’s Hot Spot, a favorite with students, who crowd in with no reservations. The eye-filling floor show puts out of mind the menu of hashy food for thought.”
In the beginning was the Word. But in the here and now the optics controllers trump ill-favored knaves who hustle (we must!) in suitable numbers mutable if not suitable words. Naively I’d believed, with nothing up my sleeve, that I could take an occasional trick; but then I chanced upon a faculty member’s interview in the Argus. Laying her cards on the table, the dummy (a tenured, nonetheless undernourished professor) was psycho-massaging the Big Man On Campus who’s clearly sitting pretty, uniquely positioned to green-light her byway to FULL professor.
“No mas!” I cried, and threw in the towel.