A couple of weeks ago, some literary wags started tweeting that we should #OccupyAvonlea, the fictional home of that infamous anarchist green hair dye fan Anne of Green Gables. Since, comic book characters have occupied Gotham and Metropolis. But Gotham seems like it would be a dangerous place to camp out in (and how much park space does it really have?), and Avonlea’s a little remote to keep an occupation going. So here are the five best fictional places to occupy:
1. Sunnydale: One of Scott Eric Kaufman’s students suggested it would be a bad idea to occupy a town that’s built on a Hellmouth. But given security concerns at Occupy encampments around the country, there could be a definitive advantage to having a slayer on the prowl, keeping an eye out for vampires and sexual predators alike. And Buffy and the Scoobies have special experience in taking down nefarious mayors, so Occupy Sunnydale wouldn’t have to worry about getting kicked out of their encampments:
2. Pawnee: Leslie Knope can conjure parks out of pits. She can throw harvest festivals while dispelling Native American curses. She can program repeated end-of-the-world vigils. She summons baseball fields out of vacant lots, and at next to no cost. As a mainstream Democrat who’s deeply invested in the electoral process, Leslie might not be fully on board with the alternative world-building element of the Occupy movement, but the woman can handle a logistical challenge. Occupy Pawnee would have the best tents, the most Port-a-Potties, and the tastiest Reasonablist-provided donuts:
3. Nellyville: St. Louis rapper Nelly’s created a fictional kingdom that sounds like a pretty great place to hang out. As he explains, it’s a town that’s already committed to rectifying income inequality, where “all newborns get half a mill” — so much for pesky student loan debt — paper boys have Range Rovers, the town’s redeemed the false promise of “40 acres and a mule” with “40 acres and a pool,” and the weather’s determined by democratic vote (if not by consensus). Still, Nellyville’s gender politics and criminal justice could use some work — automatic executions for murder are a little harsh.
4. Westeros: If the Occupy movement would be about perfecting a society that’s in decent shape in Nellyville, Occupy Westeros would be a somewhat more urgent proposition. After all, in this shattered kingdom, the 1 percent don’t just control most of Westeros’ wealth: they can rape and murder members of the 99 percent with impunity. There would be logistical challenges, too. In Westeros, when they say winter is coming, they don’t just mean you’re going to have to keep taking snow-soaked sleeping bags to the laundromat to dry them out until April. But holdfasts are easier to defend than public parks. As are giant walls made of ice. And nothing brings the 99 percent together faster than hordes of ice zombies:
5. The Ministry of Magic: Those sections of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may have turned off a lot of readers, but they mean that some of the most politically potent figures in magical Britain have a lot of camping experience. Plus, the ability to have tents that are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside solves overcrowding, and Hermione’s enchanted purse would solve a lot of logistics problems. Given that income inequality has a discomfiting tendency to produce a lot of genocidal racists in the country’s wizarding community, pushing the Ministry towards a more just economic system and more tolerant policies towards Muggles can go hand in hand.