Tag Archive: iafrica

a bunch of different people [and by ‘a bunch’ i mean Don Miller, Rachel Heard Evans and iafrica.com] do a kind of best things we watched/saw/read on the internetweb this week kind of thing on their blogs… so here is one more… and i would love to know which one you enjoyed the most, so leave an A, B, or C in the comments section below if you will:

[A] There are no words that can suitably describe this video – somewhere between fun and creepy and random and weird and hilarious, but see for yourself – Teddy has an operation [Ze Frank]


[B] They didn’t show documentaries like this when i was at school. Ze Frank who made the Teddy Operation above has a whole series of ‘True Facts about…’ videos which i think due to his voice have become a new favourite thing for me – here is ‘True facts about the dung beetle’


[C] This one was acomplete gem that i somehow found and you have to appreciate Monty Python to get it – Margaret Thatcher does the Dead Parrot sketch


So which one was your favourite: Vote with A, B or C…

i don’t know a crazy lot about politics, nor do i claim to.

although i do try to keep on top of the daily/weekly goings on back home in South Africa as well as the major news events with daily visits to internet news sites like iafrica.com and bbc.com so that i have a general idea of what is going on in the world.

so when the OCCUPY movement came along, i had some idea of what it was all about, while being surrounded by a bunch of people who knew a whole lot more, including one of my housemates who got involved with doing the books for the group who were active in our nearby city of Philadelphia.

and so i didn’t know everything about OCCUPY, but then one day something happened to give me a serious opinion about them.

we had heard of this huge local craziness and cause for concern as Mayor Nutter [his actual name, go figure] put this ban into place on outdoor feeding specifically aimed at the homeless in Philadelphia and, we felt, directly aimed at removing the homeless people from two specific tourist spots, namely Love Park and the soon-to-be-opened [at the time] Barnes Museum of Art.

the Simple Way [which is the non-profit my wife Valerie and i work for] sprung into action in terms of starting conversation with a number of groups who we knew were feeding people in Philly as well as formulating an official statement and a plan of action. a number of us ended up at a meeting of the health board who were discussing some changes to health regulations that were indirectly related to the ban Mayor Nutter was trying to push through.

we decided to invite a bunch of our friends to come and unofficially picnic with us outside the building the meeting was to be taking place at [as holding picnics was a potential loophole to the ban] and Occupy Philly had had a similar idea with an impromptu soup kitchen and so we all arrived and set up and started having picnics with family and friends [where any homeless people who wandered past were immediately identified as family and friends].

so my first impression of Occupy Philly up close was that we were pretty like minded, but that disappeared pretty quickly when i saw some of the placards they had brought with them with statements like “Mayor Nutter is the antichrist” on them. [i’m fairly certain Mayor Nutter is NOT the antichrist or at the very least don’t have any information in my possession to suggest or even hint otherwise]

then we got to go inside and observe the meeting of the health board and they read through the regulations and explained the proposed changes and, for the most part they were making a lot of sense and it seemed like the majority of what they were looking at was about improving the safety of food being prepared and distributed and that’s when “THEY” started…

it’s called a ‘mic check’ and it’s about on par with a little kid mimic’ing every line you say until you are both screaming “STOP COPYING ME!” at each other and someone calls mom, or a teenager sticking their fingers in their ears making “LALALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALA” noise… Someone yells “mic check” and the group responds by repeating it. Then someone starts a one sided shouted ‘conversation’ or challenge and line by line or even phrase by phrase it is repeated by everyone else in the group. So it completely shuts down what anyone else is trying to do in the room, makes you the focus of attention and puts your agenda on the meeting.

let’s face it, it’s a gimmick. and it works. and it could have even probably worked in the meeting. with better control and foresight and maturity. some of the Occupy people had something good to say. but some of them didn’t. many of them just got verbally abusive and insulting and about as relevant and effective as the “Mayor Nutter is the antichrist” [he’s still not!] placard lying outside in the street against the soup kitchen table. they disrupted the meeting [which eventually after way more patience than it deserved ended up with the board walking out to finish their meeting elsewhere] and they robbed others of us who felt we had something significant and helpful to say of a voice.

and to a large extent they robbed me of having a positive opinion towards the whole Occupy movement. i know you can’t judge a whole movement by one person or group. but i also know that whenever Occupy is mentioned, that this particular story and mess of immaturity, mob mentality, disrespect is the one that comes to my mind first. and that is unfortunate.

i think for a lot of people around the country, and even the world, the Occupy movement was a legitimate response to an economic, political and social crisis and it is the hugest tragedy that their voice was drowned out by all those who jumped on the bandwagon simply because it was ‘just another cause’ or ‘an opportunity to get loud and disruptive and scream and shout and break things down’. lack of leadership and more specific direction and discipline seem to have cost it a whole lot of authenticity and respect and all this brought about by those who were sadly Self-OCCUPY’d!

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