South Park: Occupied?
On September 17th 2011, a man named Mike Occupado was taking a bunch of pictures of this weird red sculpture in Zuccotti Park with his Digital Rebel. As he continued snapping, suddenly his camera seized and read, “Not enough memory… 1% left.” Mike looked at it, confused, as he had only taken a handful of pictures.
“What!?” He shouted, in his loud New York voice… “Where are the 99%???”
A Hipster, playing a guitar, stopped when he heard this. He looked up at the buildings and said, “Yeah…” He looked around at another group of Hipsters, who had also heard the yell. They nodded to each other.
“YEAH! We are the 99%!” he said.
Mike looked through his pictures. “Oh!” he said, realizing he’d been shooting on RAW. “That’s why—“ Suddenly, the Hipster grabbed him by the shoulders. “WE are the 99%!!!!!!”
“What?” responded Mike. “What are you talking about?”
“We are the 99%!” chanted the Hipster.
“No, it’s—I was talking about my Rebel!” explained Mike.
“You’re right!!! We need to rebel!!!” shouted another Hipster.
Mike tried to speak over the Crowd, “You’re not understanding me—it’s—“
“He’s right! REBEL!” shouted an elderly Hipster.
A crowd formed around the commotion, hearing Mike’s cries.
“I said, WHERE ARE THE 99%!!!” yelled Mike.
“RIGHT HERE!!!” responded the Crowd.
“NO!!!!! YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!” pleaded Mike.
“THEY’RE NOT LISTENING!!!!” said the Crowd.
“I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!!” screamed Mike.
“WE CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!!!” responded the Crowd.
Lo and behold, from there the crowd grew, and grew, until it could grow no more… And then… it grew some more.
This came to be known as Occupy Wall Street. Named after it’s accidental founder Mike Occupado.
***BTW, I’m just guessing this is what happened…
Almost two months later now, the crowd has spread across the country like an annoyingly appealing viral video. Everyone seems to have this sudden urge to amass together and be pissed off at the 1% of people who “Have it all.” They chant, they hold up ironic signs, they sleep in tents, they’re holding out because they want………………….
Well… I don’t know because South Park hadn’t told me yet! But Wednesday night, the episode I’ve been waiting for finally arrived: 1%.
The story followed Cartman, the overweight sociopath of the group, whose gluttonous lifestyle brought the rest of the school down in the “Presidential Fitness Challenge,” forcing everyone to work more during Gym. A protest started outside the “Presidential Fitness” Headquarters, but the media of South Park mistakenly portrayed the protest as being pointed at the restaurant Red Robin. The final conclusion, without spoiling too much, is that it was time for Cartman, the 1%, to grow up. Watch it here, at South Park Studios.
Unfortunately, this episode left me surprisingly unsatisfied. Usually South Park gives such a clear, concise message at the end of each show that you’re forced to either agree or disagree with their point of view. Wednesday’s episode was the first time I’ve ever felt unclear as to their stance. “Grow up 1%?” What is that??? Maybe I just didn’t get it, but the episode came off like a juvenile poem, ghost written, in a lukewarm, indifferent tone, by a pair of writers who just don’t care.
And the truth is… maybe they don’t.
I’ve honestly yet to hear an actual stance regarding the heart of the “Occupy” movement itself. The general media is busy covering its growth and can’t seem to get to the center of the issue so they simply talk about its size. Meanwhile, those participating (or supporting via Facebook/Twitter) are more concerned with how the police are handling it. Someone posted recently, “Four of my friends got arrested! Don’t the cops have anything better to do!?” I really wanted to respond, “Yes, they do! But instead they have to arrest your idiot hipster friends!” but I resisted. [I don’t hate Hipsters, I love them. However, when you’re ironic about a serious issue, it impedes progress.] The bottom line is that I sympathize, I just don’t understand.
The reason is that there is no clear voice erupting from the movement, so it comes across as just a bunch of people standing around pissed off. It looks exactly like the Season 13 Canada on Strike episode, except the “Occupy” crowd doesn’t necessarily want “Morrre moneyyy.” A faction of the movement did publish a list of demands, but it was soon negated after that faction disbanded, and a new faction took over with a new list of demands—and so on. The movement as a whole is so bizarre that it’s hard to pin down any substantial thoughts or emotions regarding the real issues at hand.
The Occupy movement is a fascinating sociological phenomenon, but for any real progress to be made, there has to be a clear stance for anyone to take them seriously— it’s as simple as that. As big as it is, I mean, come on guys, right now, the whole thing is kind of a joke. Be pissed off all you want, but when you step out to protest, have a specific idea as to how you can no longer be pissed off and chant THAT.
Think about it this way… If I wanted healthier food at McDonalds enough to protest, I’d hold up a sign that said, “Healthier Food at McDonalds!” not “My Name is Sean!”
With that, I’ll leave you with a simple question: How can the satirists satirize something that is itself a satire?