Updates here have been slow, just as actual events have been picking up speed. This morning, I watched the video footage from UC Davis, where non-violent student protests were shamelessly pepper-sprayed by police officers decked out in full riot gear and armed with bizarrely futuristic-looking paintball guns. To their eternal credit, the students and quickly-growing crowd remained organized, controlled, and unified, ultimately forcing the police force off their grounds with chants of “Shame On You” and “You Can Go”. The video (embedded below) went viral within a matter of hours, and as more and more voices go up calling for the university chancellor’s resignation, it seems like this moment and its powerful imagery will serve to add even more public sympathy and media momentum to the ongoing #Occupy movement.
Meanwhile, protesters in New York are finding other ways of maintaining visibility after being booted out of Zuccotti Park by comic book super villain Bloomberg, including most recently the spectacular occupation of Brooklyn Bridge. The movement’s message may still be too plural and diverse to yield a coherent plan of action, but as it continues to grow into a force that even the mainstream media can no longer deny or ignore, its force is incontrovertible. As Slavoj Žižek has already written: “Occupy first. Demands come later.”
Of course Christopher Nolan, overrated director of several popular films that celebrate the values of benevolent capitalism, has been eager to ride the growing popularity of a critical social movement in order to generate some extra free publicity for his next multi-million dollar Batman movie. Having first announced his intention to film scenes among the protesters, he ultimately opted for the more controllable option of a location shoot before the New York Stock Exchange, where a massive fight scene was staged last week between Batman, the police, and the new film’s villain Bane. Needless to say, the city was all too happy to shut down this part of the city for the benefit of a major Hollywood production.
And then there’s Frank Miller, who is at this point so desperate to get any kind of attention that he will stoop to writing a personal response to the #Occupy movement that merely demonstrates to the rest of the world how far the once-celebrated comics author is now removed from reality. If there was anybody left out there who still played with the idea that his abysmal Holy Terror was actually a clever hoax that was meant to be read ironically, all such doubts will now be gone.