MIC CHECK, a small sample of Occupy Wall Street
As a dad and a blogger, I refrain from posting on current events unless my kids say something interesting about them. However, I do talk to them about the news, at least to my 7-year-old. We’ve had serious conversations about poverty, racism, religion, the Middle East (the wars as well as the recent uprisings), the economy, etc. And a few snippets of those conversations have made it to this blog (e.g. here, here, and here).
So far I’ve released two videos on this blog (here and here), both of which were made with participation by my kids. And there are at least three more like that in the pipeline. But this one is different. Instead of being something I made *with* my kids, it’s something I made *for* my kids. I’ve talked to them about the protests, but I wanted to show them a little bit of what it is actually like to be there. Many of the OWS videos show police action, crazy people, journalists, or some combination thereof, but that didn’t quite seem like a real picture of being there. So I spent an hour at OccupyWallStreet, observing, milling around, chatting with a few people, and I put some of it together as a small sample of what it was like.
Let me state up front that, obviously, an hour at OWS at night hardly gives me the right to say, “This is how it is.” I was merely aiming for some local flavor, since I’ve been following the #Occupy movement pretty closely through social media. Hopefully, my current interpretation is not too far off. I am also unable to bring my children physically to Zucotti Park to see it for themselves, though I liked the recent family night that OWS hosted.
This video doesn’t have much drama to it. Instead it shows the mundane: clips from a series of speakers at an assembly, demonstrating order and organization; high levels of technology (note the speakers holding smartphones or MacBooks); high participation by women; and, of course, a parade of musicians and singers that interrupts one of the assemblies.
I called this video “Mic Check” for two reasons. First, the phrase “mic check” is pretty common at the assembly meetings, as the speakers are essentially saying, “Are you listening?” as a way of priming the “people’s mic” amplification system. Second, OWS itself seems like one loud “mic check” for America: inserting, with volume and force, messages into the national discourse that have been largely glossed over by the media. The point isn’t even to have answers yet, but simply to make sure everyone is paying attention to the right questions. As a result, I end this video with edited audio — “Come closer! Please sit down! Mic check!” — because I came away from #OWS hearing this: Come closer! There’s a seat here for everyone! Are you listening?