Occupying the Media with Occupy Piggybacks

At this point, we’ve all heard about Occupy Wall Street (OWS). We’ve seen all the coverage and may even be participating. The movement has certainly succeeded in coining a tagline (“we are the 99%”) and inserting itself thoroughly into mainstream media and Americans’ everyday conversations. So while this movement enjoys relative success, at least with respect to publicity, an opportunity for others to piggyback on has been born. Some of the Occupy spinoffs have been comical, but others genuinely seek to ride the Occupy wave.

For one silly example, there’s Occupy Sesame Street, a Twitter Hash Tag floated into the Twitterverse and picked up by enough to become viral. After all the seriousness of the OWS, it never can hurt to try a little comic relief. But in all seriousness, Occupy Police and Occupy Marines have also taken hold. These are spinoff movements meant to organize law enforcement officials who actually support OWS.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/32922989 w=440] Another spinoff that caught my attention is simply “Occupy the Streets,” which Carfree Times blogger JH Crawford has promoted in a recent short film. His is not a new idea, but reframing the livable streets movement around the Occupy movement is a smart move, what with even Sesame Street’s success of catching some surf. The occupy idea fits so well with advocates’ messages about reclaiming street space for humans, rather than cars, that one might think it was the original “occupy movement.”

In light of the last post about our motivations for change, I wanted to point out the use of hope in this film. The last minute or so promotes visionary futures and concludes with the phrase, “[the car-free option] offers realistic hope for the 99%.” In general, I think the messaging in the earlier part of the film is much too negative. The overwhelming theme I hear is anti-automobile and negativity about its consequences. While I, and I’m sure most alternative transportation advocates, agree with the claims made in this section, I don’t think they serve the purpose of convincing the unconvinced. Perhaps future messaging delivering the Occupy the Streets idea should build more upon the idea of hope and the future than of negativity and the past.

-          Terra Curtis