Occupiers on Parade

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After 20 years in the field I have to challenge myself to keep it fun.

So, while the rest of you will probably remember May Day 2012 as the time when the 99 Percent told predatory banking interests that their days of exploiting their fellow Americans were numbered, I’ll remember it as the day I hit the street food trifecta by gobbling down two hotdogs, a slice of pepperoni pizza, a lamb gyro (white sauce) and a fruit smoothie without ever stepping inside a restaurant or halting work.

It’s been a longtime personal goal.

You know the old Far Side cartoon depicting a a statue of a proud dog sitting above the words “Rex: Caught His Tail.” That was me Tuesday.

I rank this personal accomplishment right up there with working the phrase “not so much” into a story in the sense that it’s the kind of thing which is pretty easy to talk about, but easy to do? Not so much.

Sure it means nothing to most of you, but in the world of veteran journalists this is the kind of thing some of the best do to entertain ourselves. Posers, not so much.

I don’t know if Cynical’s volunteer photographers even knew they were witnessing history in the making Tuesday  as they dodged short-tempered cops, clueless tourists and fast-moving crowds of protesters.

However, they got served in the food cart competition every time I scored another snack. Bigtime.

Sure, their photos are way better than mine, but that means nothing to me as a wordsmith (right).

Taking photos is just something I do to keep busy. The printed word, not so much.

The important thing is that I won the hunt for food. Plus, I lucked out by snagging a milk crate that I was able to use to shoot above the crowd.

I offered my crate to one of our photographers at one point and the rookie – just about everyone’s a rookie to me these days – sat on it in exhaustion, instead of using it to shoot from on high. Sometimes, I just don’t know what to make of this younger generation of journalists. As Austin Powers would say: “honestly!”

The truth is that photography was strictly an after-thought for me Tuesday, because of our talented volunteers. I was free to hunt for food carts while writing the kind of painful truths that were so elusive in my days in the mainstream news media. Back then all I had to worry about was offending ambitious middle-mangers, advertisers, powerful sources, and wealthy owners.

Now, not so much.

Instead, I have to deal with the unfamiliar absence of such boundaries. To paraphrase The Rev. Martin Luther King, “free at last, free at last, thank god almighty – holdup, is that a shishkabob cart?”

But I digress.

The whole point of this column is to give our volunteer photographers some additional exposure for the wonderful work they performed on behalf of the 99 Percent yesterday via the nonprofit Cynical Times. Readers love to bitch about the news media, and much of it is true, but it’s also appropriate to recognize the good people in the news field who endure those barbs while laboring quietly to do the right things for the right reasons.

Like volunteer Gerard Flynn.

Some of us are working to advance the greater good and trying to have some fun while we’re at it, just like you all. The ambitious middle managers working for the societal middle finger that is the Predatory 1 Percent, not so much.

That’s five for those of you playing at home.

Yet another personal best. But an all-time record? Not so much.

I’m inserting a montage of some of our best pics below from Tuesday. These shots didn’t make our lead story, but should be pretty cool for those of you who lived the news of the day.

A word of advice for you young people out there: if you see a pic of yourself in this lineup make sure you save it. Thirty years from now you may have to convince your grandkids that you weren’t always an old fart, provided any of us can ever get enough job and financial security to afford to start families.

As for my friends in blue, you might want to burn the pics of you here. I’ve got the feeling you’re on the wrong side of history. No way you want to tell the grands “and this is a photo of me cuffing a nonviolent protester battling to save this great nation from unhinged elites like Mike Bloomberg, back when he was the wealthiest elected official in U.S. history.”

There’s an old Chinese curse that goes “may you live in interesting times, ” and we’re doing that right now as we try to right our listing democracy. It might feel safer to defend the status quo, but in the long-term it’s probably safest to back the 99% and put a halt to the destructive behavior of treasonous elites who have begun viewing themselves as citizens of the world.

The painful truth is that the societal middle finger that is the predatory 1% has no loyalty to anything but their bank accounts. They believe they have a responsibility to their capital that outweighs their moral responsibilities to their fellow human beings.

Regardless of who you are, please enjoy our work and please try to remember to hit the donation box on your way out, because nobody eats for free in Bloombergistan and I’ve got to keep up my playing weight. I hear there’s a bulgogi truck somewhere on Broad Street with my name on it.

If Occupy can find a way to protest something outside the former headquarters of JP Morgan down there, and I can find that truck before Bloomberg shuts it down for cooking with forbidden spices, I can cross that one off my bucket list, too. You can run, but you can’t hide Mr. Bulgogi Truck.

I hope you folks enjoy the pics. As for Mike Bloomberg and the ambitious middle-managers he favors for their willingness to do anything to advance their careers, not so much.

That’s seven by the way – a new personal best.

Recognize.

Here are some additional shots by Gretchen Robinette, which are not free reuse (it’s probably going to take a while for your machine to load all of these pics). For more information about her work please visit www.gretchenrobinette.com

And here are some shots by Gerard Flynn (not free reuse):

Finally, here are some shots I took between snacks, which are free to everyone to reuse without restriction, provided you don’t start selling them to other people to use. If you all would drop some jack in the donation jar I’d be able to buy a better camera.