To the Editor:
Matt Labash, a reporter for the conservative Weekly Standard, recently spent a couple of days mingling with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) crowd at Zucotti Park in Manhattan. Thanks to him, we have a photo of Sid in the October 17 issue.
“Sid the Nazi” (the label he has chosen for himself) appears shirtless with tattoos of bare-breasted women, dark glasses, a cigarette dangling from his mouth and an AFSCME cap. He borrowed the cap from a friend.
Sid works in mosaic art, says he is an ordained Pagan priest and claims that he “fronts” for a band called Death’s Head. I Googled “Deaths Head Band” and discovered that they have a Myspace site. Their songs include “Here be Sarpents,” “Under Laughter of Dark Gods,” “Resurrection of a Drowned God” and “Killing Frost.” I make no judgment on their music and have no means of verifying Sid’s claims to front for them.
Sid’s beliefs are either predictable (e.g., What’s was so bad about what Hitler did?) or they are incomprehensible (e.g., He hopes that Obama will find a way “to build the foundations to create more jobs”).
Clearly Sid is not very interesting as a philosopher, prophet or policy wonk. He is not representative of the OWS crowd. He is not even representative of the American Nazi Party. He represents only Sid.
What’s interesting is the fact that Sid’s presence would be undetectable to a liberal-leaning reporter. If Sid had shown up at a Tea Party crowd, the liberal leaners would have zeroed in on him like lasers. In the normal course of events, Sid could only be discovered at a leftish rally by a conservative, neo-conservative or libertarian reporter.
There’s a long-standing practice called “Find the Granny,” which is followed by the liberal-leaning and left-lurching media types. If a demonstration has a leftish tilt, they come searching for a respectable middle-class grandmother who works as a teacher, nurse or librarian and who claims she has never demonstrated before. The model grandmother serves as the hygienic, deloused and fumigated image, showing that the demonstration is no kook-crowd scene, but a gathering of ordinary, concerned Americans.
Matt Labash also spoke to Amy, who wants to see gender totally abolished. It’s not clear whether she looks forward to men lactating and giving birth or women spitting on the sidewalk and emitting operatic belches. All that’s clear is that she and Sid do see eye to eye.
And there were a couple of masked anarchists calling themselves Spooky and Newport. Spooky really hates the government, but admits that he had been drawn to Zucotti Park as “a homeless man’s dream camp.” When the temperature dips, Spooky and Newport will be heading back to Florida.
Roam farther afield and you could find a picture of an OWSer defecating on a police car. This is displayed on the website of the Daily Mail, a conservative British newspaper. There is little chance such an image would be available through from a liberal or leftist source.
On the same theme, Katherine Hughes tells us: “They are defecating on our doorsteps.” Ms. Hughes resides in the neighborhood of Zucotti Park. You learn this quote, and other objections by local residents to the Park Encampment, from an article in the New York Post, a right-leaning newspaper.
My point here is not that you should ignore all liberal-leaning news sources and read only conservative-leaning ones. I propose only that you won’t get a complete picture if you stick strictly to one side of the ideological divide.
People who think of themselves as moderates are particularly prone to the belief that there are moderate, middling, objective sources of news out there they can rely on. If they exist at all, they are so rare as to be inconsequential.
Anyone really interested in an accurate picture of events will be better advised to get the views from both right and left. When they agree on facts, figures and events, you probably have a reliable picture.
Otherwise you have to rely on some combination of experience, common sense and your own judgment of what is really going on.
Prof. John Frary
Professor John Frary of Farmington, Maine is a former US Congress candidate and retired history professor, a Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United and an associate editor of the International Military Encyclopedia, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.