Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Life Lesson for OWS

Okay, I'll admit it -- this one makes me laugh:

Jay-Z’s company, Rocawear, is now selling a t-shirt that says “Occupy Wall Street” with graffiti style lettering modifying the message to read “Occupy All Streets.” A mini scandal has brewed over the shirt as it’s become clear that Rocawear, currently, has no plans to give any of the procedes to the occupiers themselves.

In case you don't know who Jay-Z is, he's a rapper/music producer and marketing genius. He's also married to Beyonce. Jay-Z's personal fortune is north of $400M. Doing stuff like this is why, of course.

Cynical exploitation? Well, yeah. Better yet, consider the explanation:

“The ‘Occupy All Streets’ T shirt was created in support of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. Rocawear strongly encourages all forms of constructive expression, whether it be artistic, political or social. ‘Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement.”

You can make a lot of change, all right. Play your cards right and you can make benjamins, too. Jay-Z well understands the eternal P.T. Barnum demographic.

Victor Davis Hanson makes a larger point about the sorts of folks who are part of OWS:

So much of the angst in video clips and op-eds was voiced by a youthful upper middle class who went to the university, majored either in social science or liberal arts, piled up debt, faced almost no employment choices commensurate with their class and their educational brand — and thus were furious at the more profit-minded members of a like class for abandoning them.

Revolutionary movements throughout history are so often sparked by the anger, envy, and disappointments of an upper-middle cohort, highly educated, but ill-suited for material success in the existing traditional landscape.
It's gotta be a kick in the teeth when a guy like Jay-Z, who didn't even get through high school, is able to make money off your plaints, while your bachelor's degree in comparative literature gets you a lice infested tent in Zuccotti Park. The lesson is simple enough -- education and awareness are different things.


Gerry said...

My BS degree is in Computer Science and my job is to help sell companies/government their data center computers -- the big ones, not the ones on your desk. Business has been steady and sometimes great for 20+ years. What is interesting is more than half the people I work with directly who also help sell these large computers were not engineers/programmers in college.

I work with folks who have degrees in English Literature, Philosophy, Theatre Arts, and other non-technical areas of study. There are techincal folks as well.

As working adults I cannot tell the classically trained engineers from those who are not -- they are all good at what they do. Those without technical degrees saw the landscape after college with lower wages and fewer jobs and decided to make a change. They found there way into better paying jobs by taking entry level tech jobs (i.e. computer operators) and working their way into this constantly growing and evolving industry.

My industry cannot find enough workers. There are over 150 open jobs at my company, waiting for candidates to fill them. There are 30+ entry level jobs, with technical training, open for anyone who can speak, write and have a willingness to work hard and learn.

Why can't these positions be filled? Do people feel entitled? Are they lazy? I don't know...

Mr. D said...

Gerry, that's a great post. You raise a lot of important questions.

I'm going to use this comment for a post later on. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. D, Why so harsh with Lit. majors? I read at the top of the blog that you yourself were fashioned into adulthood by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton. So what is thou antipathy toward gentle readers? Methinks thine contempt points inward. Art thou a self-hating English Major? The nightingales rouse from peace when a branch-mate leaves the flock.

Mr. D said...

Art thou a self-hating English Major? The nightingales rouse from peace when a branch-mate leaves the flock.

First, let me say that I greatly appreciate the freelance anonymous psychological profile. Yes, I am an English major, but hardly self-hating. What you learn as an English major has broad application and use in the world. But you have to go out and find a use for your skill set. Sitting around a park and banging drums, bemoaning your fate, isn't going to get you there.

It's a lesson that young people learn eventually, but it works better for those who come of age in an era where the fatuity of youth isn't celebrated.