Occupy Best Buy: The Latest Media Attempt to Co-Opt #OWS

Nov 21 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Camping outside of Best Buy for Black Friday

It’s that time of year again. Black Friday ads are trending on Alexa and the local news is sharing in the quirky joy that is consumerism gone crazy.

Oh, isn’t it cute, here’s a man camped out for Black Friday already! The news media is adorably equating camping out for Black Friday as an “Occupy” movement, as if anyone with a tent is occupier, as if occupying a park in 30 degree temperatures to protest corporate greed and vast income inequality is the exact same thing as pitching a tent to save money on Black Friday.

It’s cute when they Occupy to buy stuff, but not cute when they Occupy to protest the corporations that profit off of the consumerism that George W. Bush raised to a national past time in this country.

Sean Keeley is laid off and so he set up his Best Buy tent a week before Black Friday. Here ABC-7 turns him into what I’m sure will be the first of many attempts to co-opt the Occupy movement, by labeling him an “Occupier” of Best Buy. They note that, “instead of protesting corporate profits, he’s going to contribute to the busiest shopping season of the year.” Notice the language? He’s a “contributor” not a “protester”. He’s the right kind of “Occupy”.


One Southwest Florida man is already camping out outside Best Buy at Page Field Commons to ensure he gets to cash in on their advertised doorbuster savings. Sean Keeley, his niece and nephew have an Occupy movement of their own going on…

The general manager of the store, Josh Loveall, welcomes Keeley’s tent city.

“They’re absolutely welcome to come,” he says of prospecting campers.

But not every store in Southwest Florida wants a campsite staked out front. Several retail centers say they want shoppers to call ahead if they’re looking to occupy a sidewalk this week.

Notice that Sean does not refer to himself as an “Occupier” and, in addition, the media glibly sails over the frightening situation Sean finds himself in this holiday: unemployed. Like many Americans, he’s trying to save money because he has so little. He’s doing what the establishment likes us all to do (buying things), so it’s a cute, heart-warming holiday story of consumerism hype (note the pan over the objects of lust) for the local news.

See, the cute “contributing” Occupiers that make the heart-warming life stories are the “prospecting” campers, as if they are hardened gold miners who are willing to brave the elements to strike gold in the big box that feeds the greedy hands of Wall Street. In reality, many Americans are manipulated every holiday season into feeding the very beast that helped to lower their salary, shipped their job overseas or lobbied congress to destroy the consumers’ rights.

Whereas the “protesting” Occupiers are not so cute and heart-warming; their passion and dedication is disturbing because it challenges the status quo. The mistreatment by police and authorities is further confounding and confusing to the producers of local news, who must keep it corporate cute at all costs.

I realize that our economy would benefit from people buying things this Black Friday, and I feel for the stores’ bottom lines. However, who is looking out for the 99%?

Why isn’t the media is pushing hiring people as a way to “contribute” so that we can also have a good Christmas? Why aren’t they talking endlessly about how important it is for the 99% to have jobs, and guilt tripping any corporation who won’t hire someone new even if they can’t afford it, because hey, it’s good for the economy? What movies are pushing the product of labor rather than a blockbuster full of product placement designed to manipulate you into buying something you might not be comfortable purchasing and you might not be able to afford?

They want us to support the corporations by being “contributors” but this “special relationship” has been one-sided for far too long. What about the 99%? When are corporations going to start contributing to the 99% with jobs and decent, living wages? I know, those tech goodies at Best Buy make your mouth water and who doesn’t dream about the latest Kindle, iPad, game, etc. But look at what’s going on around this country. People are being arrested, beaten, shot at with rubber bullets all for standing up for our rights as people v the corporations.

In Zuccotti Park, Mayor Bloomberg initiated a surprise attack on the Occupiers, which began with a media blackout – news helicopters not allowed over the park, journalists arrested – while the Occupiers’ personal property was destroyed, and a sound cannon used by the military in Iraq deployed upon the people.

So, if you camp out to protest corporate greed, you are treated as if you have no rights. You are a “protesting” Occupier. But if you camp out to buy things from the corporate beast, then you are a “contributing”, “prospecting” Occupier (positive, affirmative action words used for the consumer to engender a feeling of being the successful hunter versus the negative association with protesting, being “against” something).

This holiday season, remember the Real Occupiers are not pitched in a tent outside of Best Buy, staking their hopes on a cheap hard drive (no offense to Sean, it’s not his fault they used him to co-opt the movement and I hope he gets what he needs). The Occupiers are staking their future on forcing our government to do something about jobs, economic liberty and getting corporate money out of politics.

This great nation has been figuratively drugged for many years — the sedating effects of carbs coupled with the gittery need of processed sugar jacked up by endless commercials telling us what we need, need, need — morphing us into sluggish consumers who barely noticed as our rights were stolen from us. We were told that if we just had the latest game and a McMansion, all would be well.

But all is not well. All is not well at all.

The corporate funded news machine wants to co-opt the Occupy movement now, turning it into a cuteness factory of gluttony at Best Buy. Sure, it starts small but it will grow because it’s catchy and because people are talking about Occupy. One of the best ways to water down the impact is to pretend that anyone with a tent on pavement is an Occupier, even if they’re at Best Buy, camping out in order to feed the hungry corporate mouth. Let us remember that it wasn’t Sean who labeled himself an “Occupier”.

And with all due respect to ABC-7, the two are not the same at all.

No one is “Occupying Best Buy”. In a thousand cities across the world, people are Occupying public space in protest of vast income disparity and “shared sacrifices” being heaped upon the 99% while the 1% hide in the Manhattan penthouses sipping Dom and sniffing disdainfully at the protesting masses. These same people would hold their noses and smile condescendingly at “prospecting Occupiers.”

You have to be awake to Occupy. You have to be aware of the problems facing the People to Occupy. You have to be willing to sacrifice your personal property, your comfort, your clean arrest record, and even your health to Occupy.

Occupying Best Buy? I wonder if Sean is camping out at Best Buy to get a hard drive so he can get his computer working so he can apply for work. Does he even have unemployment benefits? Oh, I ask the wrong questions. Keep it cute, news media, and gloss over the deep despair that is being unemployed. Praise him for “contributing” to the corporate bottom line and call him an “Occupier”, thereby spitting in the face of all that the movement is trying to get the media to wake up and acknowledge.

The 99% would like to be treated with the same courtesy and importance as the corporations in this country. Is that too much to ask in a country founded on the notion of a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

Here we go on the smarmy holiday consumer express. Way to miss the point, media.

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