○ mic check ○
[ a young man reads naomi klein to his friends on the east steps ]
have you heard about this?
despite the prohibition of amplified sound, the residents of zuccotti park have devised a way to be heard over the drum circles, jazz bands, political debates, and ambient city soundscapes that compete for the plaza’s dense sonic space. it works like this: somebody (who can be anybody, because it’s that kind of scene) shouts “mic check!”
to which more or less everyone within her sphere of audibility replies, “MIC CHECK!” in something usually very nearly approximating unison.
satisfied that “the people’s mic” is functioning properly, the speaker continues with her announcement:
“in five minutes…”
“IN FIVE MINUTES…”
“…we’re going to have a meeting…”
“…WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A MEETING…”
“…about strategies for achieving environmental justice…”
“…ABOUT STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE…”
“…through indigenous rights activism!”
“…THROUGH INDIGENOUS RIGHTS ACTIVISM!”
“the meeting will be held…”
“THE MEETING WILL BE HELD…”
“…over there!” she points.
“…OVER THERE!” many pointings.
○ the format serves a number of practical purposes, including the making of announcements, the public reading of mind-expanding texts, the issuing of reminders about collecting recycling, and the conducting of the twice daily “general assembly,” as well as the smaller, more narrowly focused meetings happening in five minutes over there.
but because everyone has a voice, and every voice, the right to be heard, there are also those happy occasions when a rotund man with a beard that seems not to have been cut since well before woodstock tumbles into your vicinity, clutching a hand-scrawled cardboard poster for the event he is organizing.
“mic check!” he will call out in a supremely confident voice. he is excited, you theorize, to be reprising his life’s most compelling movement, the last time he really felt like he knew what he was doing, and why.
and so you join in the reply of “MIC CHECK!”
“four-thirty p.m.!” the man proclaims.
“nassau and pine!”
“NASSAU AND PINE!”
“levitate wall street!”
“…LEVITATE WALL STREET!”
“we’re gonna show all the bankers…”
“WE’RE GONNA SHOW ALL THE BANKERS…”
“…that all their lobbyists…”
“…THAT ALL THEIR LOBBYISTS…”
“…are no match for the people, united!”
“…ARE NO MATCH FOR THE PEOPLE UNITED!”
“and shake them around a little bit!”
“AND SHAKE THEM AROUND A LITTLE BIT!”
“levitate wall street!”
“LEVITATE WALL STREET!”
like the rest of your fellow resonators, you won’t actually attend this event. you may appreciate the sentiment, but fear you’d never recover from the disappointment if it didn’t work out.
regardless, it’s an impressive display of amplitude.
[ a vietnam veteran decides where to point his nikon ]
○ today’s article about the occupation that doesn’t totally suck: it’s a protest. it’s not woodstock by teddy wayne.