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October 10, 2011

This Is Really Funny. In a Movie.

I've been looking at this tumbler We Are the 53%, which of course is a response to We Are the 99%. If anything, the first tumblr is even more heartbreaking than the second. Here's a good example of the "We Are the 53%" people:


I look at that and it tells me that I've failed, you've failed, we've all failed, and because of that we're all going to die. These people not only won't fight the killer billionaires stomping on their windpipe, they'll brag about getting stomped on and ask for more.

I knew I'd seen this before, but I couldn't remember where. Then I realized it was here:


Yes, it's very funny. In a movie.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at October 10, 2011 12:32 PM

I worked 40 hours a week while going to undergraduate school - got a degree in six years, no debt. Then went on to graduate school, got a Masters in three years, and worked even more, but did get scholarships.

That was 30 years ago. I would like to tell that young man that THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN KEEP DOING THAT FOR DECADES. Only the young have that much energy......

And the cost of a college education at a public university was much lower back in the 1970s and 1980s.

I have been totally financially self-sufficient since before I turned 18, and have never had a financial problem. I live frugally. But I can CLEARLY see that some people did not get the breaks I did (like good health, white skin, and lots of brains) and things will be more difficult for them.

Posted by: Susan at October 10, 2011 01:49 PM

this post is melodramatic- i don't buy that the essence of the acquiescent class is masochism- i suspect it's more like the high school dynamic- the nerdy masses are hesitant to take on the popular clique because they have internalized a desire to upgrade social status- that marine dude is more likely an ironic sycophant than learned helplessness- he probably figures with all his hardwork, eventually some officer dude will allow him to graduate into the ruling class, and then it will be his boot on the neck of the next prole- same dynamic as the frat house and the army- keep ur head down, obey the rules, and u may someday upgrade status so that ull be accepted into all the cool high school parties (i know, i know, this explanation says more about me than about the outside world- sigh)

Posted by: frankenduf at October 10, 2011 01:58 PM

aka The Shut Up and Take It %. in other news, its going to be really depressing when the democrats Co_Opt the Occupy Wall St movement.

Posted by: sloweducation at October 10, 2011 02:35 PM

I look at that and it tells me that I've failed, you've failed, we've all failed, and because of that we're all going to die.

They can always pay half the working class to shoot at the other half.

Posted by: Cloud at October 10, 2011 02:56 PM

AND THAT my friends, is how armies are MADE&PAID for.

There's REASONS for simple MAJORITY rule, its to make SURE those workers get THAT fair days pay. I don't doubt there'll MORE than a fair day's work produced.

Third Party, Folks.

The two major parties don't work for the MAJORITY.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 10, 2011 03:28 PM

Whenever I see this kind of thing I think of Echo and the Bunnymen:

"You suck the foot that kicks you,
Kiss the hand that hits you"

To keep things topical: this and the Steve Jobs idolization that's peaking right now are aspects of the same phenomenon. Just like the English, Americans are well-trained to worship our aristocracy--with the main difference being that ours is anointed by wealth rather than the divine right of kings. Part of this is the jackpot syndrome, but it goes deeper than that. It really is gob-smacking to watch it in action.

Contrary to our self-image, Americans truly are some of the most docile and controlled people on the planet.

Posted by: John Caruso at October 10, 2011 03:32 PM

The "don't have health insurance" is particularly poignant. If he gets very sick he won't be able to work eighty hours, and gettitng sick is just a matter of luck. Hard work, and a life "played by the rules" will not help him. If he has children and they get sick he won't be able to cure them with hard work.
It is so sad to see someone so oblivious.

Posted by: patrick II at October 10, 2011 05:03 PM

Contrary to our self-image, Americans truly are some of the most docile and controlled people on the planet.

We're docile and controlled because we have become addicted to the two Cs: Comfort and Convenience...the more one experiences, the more one depends upon them and conversely, the less one appreciates them, until they have morphed into entitlements, as they are now with "American Exceptionalism." It's not just aristocracy we worship, but the American consumer lifestyle that provides us with comfort (from fear, from heat and cold, from danger) and convenience (with instant gratification, there is no time or patience to spare anymore). We have it, the rest of the world wants it...and we will trade any number of civil liberties to keep it. Sigh.

Posted by: John Cooper at October 10, 2011 05:05 PM

the guys a Marine fer christsake. They pride themselves on being a cog (mostly because they can't achieve anything else.)

They turn their inability to accomplish any measure of human capability other than violence into a virtue.

Posted by: zoot at October 10, 2011 05:53 PM

"Do any of you people know where Lee Harvey Oswald learned how to shoot?"

"Sir. In the Marines, Sir."

"In the Marines. Outstanding. Those individuals showed what one motivated Marine and his rifle can do. And before you ladies leave my Island, you will all be able to do the same thing."

That lady with the sign seems ready to blow up a federal building.

Posted by: bobs at October 10, 2011 07:51 PM

I think it's a mistake to assume the worst about these people. What they're doing is probably what a lot of us do--make ourselves heroes in our own stories. We lefties are the smart ones who see through the propaganda that surrounds us (or anyway I assume that's a temptation to self-glorification that others besides myself feel--I have to remind myself of how clueless I can be sometimes when I read something especially ridiculous in the MSM which is clearly intended to fool someone somewhere in the readership).

Anyway, these folk see themselves not as the victims of society, but as modern day American pioneers, like their fabled forefathers who moved West and conquered a wilderness through hard work, grit and determination. Stoic John Wayne types. No whiners allowed. (And no Indians, and no Chinese except to build railroads and preferably no blacks or Mexicans, but that's beside the point.) They don't see their heroes as the people who struggled for a five day workweek or equal rights for blacks or Native Americans or anything like that. Now those protestors against Wall Street are telling them that maybe they're not heroes--to some extent they're victims. They hate that.

I have no idea what to do about it.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at October 10, 2011 08:05 PM

It is always complimentary to our own selves to believe we have own all wisdom and complete righteousness. The Marine in this photo and his critics both belong to tribes that no longer see the other as really human that seem to have hit on this particular trick. I think Donald Johnson has it right. But if we want this Marine to listen to us, we might do better than to call him and his friends fools.

Posted by: rickstesherpa at October 10, 2011 09:10 PM

Americans buy a BRAND. Apple=good, Nike=cool Mercedes=money status, republicans=good for business, Democrats=commies, on&on&on, etc. Its why "No Labels" will go nowhere. Whereas anything bought has little thought behind the purchace. Same way with voting. The Average American digs only deep enough to verify a BRAND choice and the BRAND is expected to overcome the negatives. Once a BRAND is latched onto, the ONLY crowbar that will prize the customer loose is a better(to their thinking) BRAND.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 10, 2011 09:17 PM

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever, and the face is shouting: "Look at me! You see how fucking great I am! This guy's stamping on my face AND I'M TAKING IT!!!! BOOYAH!!".

Posted by: weaver at October 10, 2011 09:32 PM

I agree with DJ, generally, but Marines get paid to kill human beings. Now, sure, except for murdering innocent people they're a swell bunch.

As for smarts, what passes as the leftwing elite is remarkably idiotic, craven, and self-serving -- read Melissa Harris-Perry for a good illustration.

Posted by: bobs at October 10, 2011 09:38 PM

What is incredible is how many of these clowns boast about not having health insurance in their little screeds. It would almost make me happy to think about them getting ill and going into deep debt while proudly announcing their opposition to Obamacare....except that MY FUCKING TAXES AND INSURANCE PAYMENTS would still subsidize them anyway!

Posted by: Paul K at October 10, 2011 11:37 PM

Thank you to all the posters who chose to be earnest and respectful rather than sneering elitists. Being snobs doesn't move us forward.

Posted by: Fischbyne at October 10, 2011 11:57 PM

Even when jobs were plentiful and well paying (mostly for whites) working for other people is just a form of rather rancid slavery. I read somewhere that so-called primitive humans only needed to spend four hours a day doing stuff like hunting or whatever. And of course there are those who will say that without this form of slavery we wouldn’t have I phones or whatever you call those things. There are those who will say primitive man didn’t have modern medicine. Well, there are still many who don’t have modern medicine. It seems to me that humanity could have gone down many roads other than nation states, insurance (where we bet against ourselves), self induced slavery, mountain bikers and jocks, and civilization. What is it about humans that we seem to make the worst decisions regarding our lifestyle, or is it even a matter of choice? Why are some subservient and others manically aggressive? Is it genes? Is it sexuality? What if humans were closer to being carrots than monkeys, would we be better off today? Maybe.

Posted by: rob payne at October 11, 2011 12:06 AM

Rob, if I was a carrot I would be much less nervous about things.

Even our monkey nature is confusing. For instance, Bonobos or chimps?

If you're not familiar with bonobos, their moral hierarchy seems to be enforced via the quickie. Orifice and sex know nothing of casuistry. A quick lay calms everything down.

Somehow I'm having trouble picturing Chris Hedges mounting Dick Cheney. Lack of courage on my part.

In the spirit of empathy, I would like to hump the 53%.

Posted by: BenP at October 11, 2011 05:00 AM

I particularly love the part about, "I'm a farmer". It takes a huge amount of money and assets to be a farmer in this country. Claiming to be a part of the 53% and being a "farmer" is just pure unadulterated BS, unless of course he's just pretending to be a "farmer".

Posted by: knowdoubt at October 11, 2011 05:14 AM

More please……you got lots don’t be shy.

Keep brining it like this post. Keep planting.

LOL the bunnies will feed eventually


What’s to do anyway…it might just be a ride?

Posted by: go heavy, go hydraulic at October 11, 2011 05:19 AM

"They pride themselves on being a cog".

The Marines I've known have gone into the Marines to "prove themselves". This is what they will say themselves, not a psychological diagnosis. The more you can endure, the tougher you are. This guy thinks life is like that all the way through. It's a revival of the 19th c. survival of the fittest ethic.

And to take pride in proving yourself, there have to be whiners and failures for contrast.

Posted by: John Emerson at October 11, 2011 07:44 AM

I live in the heart of redneck country, and believe me, Joe Bageant had it right: liberals sold out the working stiffs for corporate payoffs and little fiefdoms, and the rightwingers filled the vacuum with flattery of rugged individualism. It will take a long time before a trust is restored.

Posted by: Paul Avery at October 11, 2011 08:05 AM

If you'll notice on the '53%' website, there are no names or links to anyone responsible. Does anyone else smell a wingnut welfare operation? I did, so I googled it. Here's what I got:
Conservatives launch “We are the 53 percent” to criticize 99 percenters

“We are the 53 percent” was originally the brainchild of Erick Erickson, founder of, who worked together with Josh Trevino, communications director for the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation, and conservative filmmaker Mike Wilson to develop the concept, according to Trevino.

In other words, this is the usual scum being trotted out by the usual scum. I have no sympathy for anyone who participated willingly in this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the lion's share of the photos are either doctored or involve other 'conservative activists' performing a--hole mime.

Posted by: Sam Holloway at October 11, 2011 09:28 AM

I'm trying to figure out if the man pictured really is in "The 53%". Two jobs. No benefits? I would guess that he's in the other half and doesn't realize it.

Posted by: Tim at October 11, 2011 10:14 AM

I would certainly like to be respectful to these folks and engage them thoughtfully, but, honestly, if you're so fucking stupid that you're proud of working two jobs and not having health insurance and you don't see any connection to the ongoing upward flow of wealth in this country, you pretty much deserve whatever you get.

Posted by: lacp at October 11, 2011 10:58 AM

@Sam Holloway
Thank you for the link to the article in WaPO.
It does set the record straight about them though the "We are the 53%" have completely missed the point of what "We are 99%" are saying, hence irrelevant in relation to OccupyWallStreet.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 11, 2011 01:04 PM

Years ago a friend told me, "You know, the American people aren't as dumb as they look. They know they're better off than nearly everyone else in the world, and they want to stay that way. If that means constant wars to support hateful dictators abroad and limited democracy, union busting, and lousy health care here, so be it." Here was right, of course. And I think fear of losing that is the energy behind support for the right. It certainly motivated the Reagan Democrats.

Posted by: Mike Bradley at October 11, 2011 02:04 PM

OK--not sure I get this. He and guys like him aren't entitled to VA services?

Posted by: RachelW at October 11, 2011 02:15 PM

I work in a nursing home. And have to wonder what this boastful marine will think when someone phones him to come and get his grandma, for the cuts in social services and the rising cost in medical care
makes it impossible for her to stay in a nursing home anymore. "Yeah, let's see a tough you are, jarhead. You can give around the clock care to your grandma at home!"

Posted by: Paul Avery at October 11, 2011 02:15 PM

Words like "blame" and "deserve" are important particles that lie at the root of this, the great debate for the heart of the American sap. It can all be distilled down to: "Do I deserve to live? Or must I earn it?" If you believe the former (for yourselves, and others), then the relevant political question becomes: how can we create a world where everyone is able to live? If you believe the latter, then you must turn a blind eye while others - even your brothers and mothers - drown in the mud beside you.

Posted by: saurabh at October 11, 2011 03:50 PM

There are good Marines, yes, but to this guy, all I have to say is,

Blow it out your a*s you fu*king jarhead.

Posted by: mudplanet at October 11, 2011 07:01 PM

Don't Marines have healthcare through the VA? So, doesn't he really have health insurance?

Posted by: Maryann at October 11, 2011 09:26 PM

The cog diss it stings. They're all such Stoics, exaggerating how many bales they lift, how many barges they tote. Extolling the trust fund crybabies to just "suckitup". They're such drama queens, they're all whining with a hangdog look on their faces. They are worthy of LULZ. They are true Authoritarians just as Erich Fromm described in "Escape From Freedom".

Posted by: demize! at October 12, 2011 01:42 AM

Erich Fromm interviewed by Mike Wallace in 1958

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at October 12, 2011 08:40 AM


The New York Observer

The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek turned up at Zuccotti Park to address the Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Sunday, offering up a seminar on Radicalism 101 for an appreciative crowd.

Despite some difficulty with the Human Microphone—the sometimes unwieldy but strangely appealing system the protesters have adopted of repeating a speaker’s words, phrase by phrase, for the benefit of the crowd—he held the floor for the better part of an hour.

Standing above the assembly in a red T-shirt, the heavily bearded dissident–turned–academic superstar at first spoke from prepared notes, hitting on many themes that will be familiar to fans.

He told, for instance, an old Eastern Bloc joke about a dissident who’s about to be sent to a work camp in Siberia. Since he knows his letters will be censored, he tells his friends he’ll write to them using a simple code: Blue ink for the truth, red ink for lies. His first letter arrives, and it’s a glowing report of life in the camp—a lovely apartment, great food, beautiful women. Then he concludes, “The only thing we can’t get is red ink.”

Occupy Wall Street, he explained told the crowd, is pointing out the lies that underlie American capitalist society. “You’re the red ink,” he said.

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at October 12, 2011 09:26 AM

Im not sure which "Mr.Charley" I should thank.

Posted by: demize! at October 12, 2011 01:42 PM

OK, Let's introduce ourselves to the elephant in this guy's living room --


Posted by: CaroleL at October 12, 2011 02:36 PM

Should the conditions at the time of discharge not give ADEQUATE COVERAGE, dental, agent orange, gulf war syndrome, melanoma from nuclear tests, etc., The Marine may well need supplimental coverage, if possible.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 12, 2011 04:06 PM

"You know, the American people aren't as dumb as they look. They know they're better off than nearly everyone else in the world, and they want to stay that way."

Except that they're not. They have to keep telling themselves that We're Number One, when in fact Americans don't do so well compared to other First World countries.

But there's another problem here. Once again I'm seeing here that it's college-educated liberals and progressives who are most likely to be gulled by government and corporate propaganda. It looks, for example, like at least some of you are taking the 53% tumblr at its word: that it speaks for 53% of the population. Well, it doesn't. Just how far off it is, I don't know, but we know that the majority of Americans favor higher taxes for the top 1%, don't want to cut Social Security, Medicare, or other social programs, do want to cut military spending, and think that creating jobs (government stimulus spending is fine with them) is more important and pressing a concern than cutting the deficit. Polls show this consistently over the past several years, perhaps decades, despite the near blackout of these facts from our official political discourse, and unrelenting propaganda against them.

These facts are consistently misrepresented by government, business, and media elites, and bold free-thinking liberals eat the lies up with a spoon. "Boy, those redneck Joe Sixpack dumbtards are stupid! They keep voting against their own interests! They believe the Rethug propaganda!" It's true that they vote against their own interests, because no matter who you vote for at the Federal level -- Dem or Repub -- you're voting for people who are ready to step on your hands for most of their terms. But they aren't fooled, except insofar as they believe (with so many liberals) that voting is the way to solve their problems.

The Occupation protesters don't speak for all the 99 percent, but they probably speak for more of them/us than the 53 Percent Tumblr, the Tea Party, either big Party, or Fox News. Why do so many liberals fail to recognize this?

Posted by: Duncan at October 12, 2011 08:56 PM

Krugman, today: "It would all be hilariously funny if these people weren’t destroying the world."

Hat tip to this blog?

Posted by: Mang at October 13, 2011 07:42 AM

The last item on page 1 of "the53/tumblr" offers this interesting assertion:
"bought a house (made double, triple, quadruple payments to keep up with the market losses)" ...

This from a self made smart guy with $115K/year expected income. Could somebody explain what that means?

Posted by: P. Wheelspin at October 13, 2011 09:07 AM

Bootstrap Army marching on the Roundheads Tra la Tra la.

Posted by: demize! at October 13, 2011 02:09 PM

The only one that failed here is you. By using the word 'heartbreaking' you try to give us the impression you have one, but then you immediately show your meanness of spirit by making fun of a hard-working guy. You failed to successfully conceal your true colors.

Posted by: Henri Hein at October 14, 2011 11:51 AM

I knew this guy in college 5 years ago. He's a functional alcoholic without any social skills. He never saw combat while serving and was discharged for failing a psych eval. He still refuses therapy. His siblings are normal; whatever he suffers he did to himself. Don't make a big deal of him. He's an aberration.

Posted by: Kip Rosenstein at October 15, 2011 02:47 PM

The white man, no doubt rural middle class,ex marine with the list isnt suffering. life has worked out more or less the way it was supposed to for him. so he really belives his own bullshit. everyone has to work hard, some people are rewarded for hard work others just get a moving paycheck. this is nothing new . I say everything we can to feed the green and egos of wal st and thier servile house-nigger worker bees, will hasten thier destruction. they cant help but make life worse for more and more people. when white boy ex marine is suffering along with "the whiners", then he'll whine and a whole lot louder than the harworking people he went out of his to to demean with his callous, bone headed bulleted list of bitches.

Posted by: marcus at October 15, 2011 07:26 PM

Is he in an attic? And what about his GI Bill? Jerk.

Posted by: sargep at October 15, 2011 11:30 PM