November 18, 2011

Occupy Oblivion

I saw this photo yesterday and it just keeps offering more — more tidbits of irony, more cultural reflection.

First though, it’s important to consider the photo in the context of the very out-of-the-ordinary day. Following Occupy’s eviction from Zuccotti Park just 36 hours before, and in light of similar evictions across the country, nerves were raw as protesters marked the two month anniversary of the movement with the intent to march on the Stock Exchange.

The photo was taken by Rolling Stone photo editor and friend-of-the-Bag, Sacha Lecca. He writes:

This was on Pine Street, feet from the intersection of Pine and Nassau where there had just been a lot of arrests, some very rough. The police had just pushed the crowd onto the sidewalks, leaving the street clear. This photo was taken at 9:16:02 AM literally TWO MINUTES after the arrest of the retired Philadelphia police captain in almost the same spot. (Note: he was arrested because he stepped into the street, and sat down). I felt it was telling how the man in the suit could very easily and undeterred, walk right through.

The photo hits many chords. One involves privilege, and the consistent clear path it offers those with the resources. Another is protection, as if NY riot cops were exclusively clearing the way, and keeping away the riff-raff, for our well-tailored friend. Finally, what makes the photo for me is the sense of utter obliviousness toward the 99% — as well as how most of the faces on that sidewalk seem to be deeply digesting that fact.

I’m interested in everything else you’re picking up here.

PHOTOGRAPH by Sacha Lecca/Rolling Stone.

See Bag’s complete OWS coverage here.

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