i wasn't going to write much about the occupy movement, but when the elephant rolls over, the mouse better run, squeak or do something. so i've changed my plans and will squeak a bit.
 
first, names - some are asking 'is occupy is the right name' for this rolling ball, thinking of how europeans 'occupied' north america. by force, by trickery, by deceit, by dehumanizing the people already here. i appreciate the point, understand its foundation but rarely have i read or have i seen the word occupy applied to how canada was founded or populated with european settlers. i've seen words like stole or colonized (i'm sure there are others but that's all i have this morning). occupy, to me, implies that there is a time limit. it doesn't mean you're going to sit your butt at parliament hill or bay street or wall street and just stay there, call it home and start planning renovations. 

secomd, names reprised - in the grand scheme ot occupy, the chatter about renaming will probably remain chatter. the horse called name is out of the barn, across the field and finding new pastures. in weighing the good and the bad of the term occupy, it strikes me that one word tips the balance heavily toward retaining the name - worldwide. occupy johannesburg, melboure, kelowna, put name here of any major north american city. occupy russia, moscow, facebook (more later), or the pipeline. this movement is organic, a reaction of the body of citizens to a disease that's had them bedridden for too long. so at this point, occupy is the 'brand name' for this movement. occupy has a currency, a gravity and an immediacy that people know and understand. unless i'im missing something, debate on this may be useful long-term, but right now channels energy down a narrow river and away from the needs of the day.

third, words - words can be tricky. if i write 'lake', for example, everybody thinks of something generally the same, but specifically different. some words are so laden with meaning, however, that almost all of us will  pretty almost conjure the same imagery. revolution is one of those words. when i hear or read people calling occupy a revolution, which it very might be, i cringe. this word is powerful, evoking thoughts of war, men with guns emptying streets, of violence and mayhem.


revolutions don't happen here, we're not radical. this one word that drives average canadians away from occupy. but if we use words like uprising, peaceful protest or non-violent, we're ok. our conception of these word is relatively favourably, positive may be a bit far-fetched; they are more aligned with our values. uprising might really mean a revolution, but we prefer not to be revolutionaries. so take care of the words you choose because they get slippery when cast in the river of communication, which is wide and fast and goes who knows where. 

those are my last words today. 

see ya, jack (mostly) and hank (who is playing with slide show function)
 


09/25/2012 10:41am

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