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The Cultural Capital Of Occupy Wall Street

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"The Cultural Capital Of Occupy Wall Street"

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I wrote on Tuesday about how 2 Broke Girls had stumbled into being a good show by taking on the issues of We Are the 99 Percent, particularly credit card debt and student loans. But Hollywood’s moved quickly to capitalize on the glamor of Occupy Wall Street intentionally. There are rumors that The Dark Knight Rises is going to shoot at the site of the protests later this month, however unlikely that seems. And MTV, always on the lookout for a hot-button issue, is apparently dying to get an OWS protester into the next Real World house.

Getting incorporated into Hollywood products probably wouldn’t mean much of anything for the advancement of the actual messages and goals of Occupy Wall Street and the 99 Percent Movement. In a Batman movie, OWS would probably more of a backdrop to a different fight than a direct transliteration. It would be interesting to see a crowd turning on Bruce Wayne as part of Gotham’s rot, identifying him as the 1 percent, but the world of the movie would almost inevitably suggest that they’re wrong, but that their ire is a cross Bruce Wayne has to bear to serve his city (much as he performs the role of an oafish billionaire in Batman Begins). Similarly, the Real World would turn the act of protesting or the possession of debt into a trait that’s as much shorthand as the stock virgin or party animal.

But simply the fact that the movement is in demand suggests that it’s moved beyond the initial public perception of it as a bunch of untouchable anarchists. Some of that perception’s disturbing — among it, the gross Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street video identified by Racialicious. And no one should make the mistake of thinking that stars are going to lead the movement, or even move it forward. But if Hollywood can validate the actual messages of Occupy Wall Street as sexy instead of just using the movement as a vehicle for sexiness, it’ll be doing something worthwhile.

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