Everyone’s got deal-breakers. For swanky Soho club, Work in Progress, it was the smell and appearance of the people they were meant to be celebrating. According to the Village Voice, Paul Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, had invited Occupy Wall Street’s library division for a book and dance party at the club earlier this week, but when actual party-time rolled around, it turned out to be a classically bad idea. Occupy’s librarians clashed with their own event coordinators at the club when 50 Occupy supporters were kept outside in the rain and eventually turned away.
“Some of your people my door is telling me haven’t taken a shower and smell and look homeless we can’t let them in cause this is a business,” WiP’s creative director, Stuart Braunstein, told [Stephen Boyer, an Occupy librarian] in an email when Boyer asked that why library supporters were being turned away from what was promoted as a library event. [Village Voice]
Soon after, a club manager told the revellers to remove their book table from the space, but a librarian compromised to keep the table in a hallway outside.
“The club failed us,” Boyer said as he left. “We had an understanding. Our name and our imagery are all over the flyers for this event, we promoted it, and now they’re not letting us in. We feel used.”
Does one laugh or cry? The whole situation kind of sums up one overlooked aspect of the Occupy dilemma—the hypocrisy that can come with “supporting” Occupy Wall Street in thought, in dance parties, or over dinner conversations, but the unwillingness to look occupiers in the eye and exchange. What one finds at Zucotti might not be the ideal, romantic and savvy liberal encampment, but yeah, a place were a lot of strangers are huddling together, and, more often than not, lacking in perfect hygiene. This story only serves as an example of the larger problem Occupy Wall Street protests—the fact that many people are excluded from the decision-making rave because of how much money they have, the way they look, the way they speak, where they come from and how they dress.
“I found them fucking ungrateful. I did them a favor, and it wasn’t the favor they wanted, so they threw a little fit. A bunch of them tried to get in, and they probably hadn’t showered in days. All of a sudden I’m supposed to change my rules for them? It’s a night club!” said WiP’s creative director, Stuart Braunstein.
“I’m not about dividing people into the 99 and the 1 percent,” Braunstein said. “But honestly, the Wall Streeters inside are a lot nicer than those guys, and at least they pay some of my bills.”
Hm. Maybe supporters should start donating Axe body spray and inexplicably trendy harem pants to Zucotti Park instead of pizzas. After all, does Occupy really expect people in power to change the rules just to include them? It’s America!
Follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone