What if we all lived happily in round, comfy tents inspired by Mongolian invaders? Think about it.
And as you contemplate, perhaps for the first time, the beauty of yurt-living, the unprecedented Occupy Wall Street Movement continues. Occupy Wall Street, or #OWS in tweet-speak, has inexplicably captured the imagination of the American populace. Or, if not the populace, at least the editorial pages of America’s newspapers, which, as far as the media is concerned, is the same thing. #OWS recently caught the eye of conventional wisdom sage Tom Friedman, who, commenting on the phenomenon, noted
“This is where the civil rights movements, this is where the women’s rights women came from. People ultimately got to get out in the street.” Unlike past eras, however, social media has been an integral component of the protests, which Friedman says just won’t cut it. “Get out of Facebook and get into someone’s face, ultimately is the only way you really get change.”
Mr. Friedman likely noticed the protesters in New York while perched atop
the hot, flat and crowded observation deck of his modest house outside of Baltimore.
While a Friedman or Zakaria endorsement represents major currency in many circles, it nonetheless does not put food on one’s table, so to speak. And so the #OWS movement, in the long run, will need more than editorial support to truly sustain itself. And the one thing that this movement lacks right now is a list of demands to focus the faithful.
Not having demands early on was likely a design feature, not a bug for #OWS. In Starfish and the Spider –like fashion, the decentralized, ambiguous nature of the movement allowed individuals and organization to latch onto it, and project their dissatisfaction with various aspects of our society and politics into the mix; thus, those dissatisfied with corporate greed found common cause with anti-war activists. President Obama, as a candidate, employed the same blank-screen ambiguity to propel himslef to the White House.
As time goes on, however, the movement’s opaque nature will likely prove to be an Achilles heel. Lacking concrete demands, one can foresee the final act of #OWS. Strident groups, leftist, anarchist or the like, may hijack the
movement for their own ends, and end it with a few cathartic acts of urban violence. Either that, or cold weather, or bad press, will do the movement in altogether. Or frivolous commercial adoption of the “Occupy Mantra” will dilute the meaningfulness of the movement. Bring your kids to #OWS, a recent promotion, seems ominous in a shark-jumping sort of way.
So that is why I suggest, “Occupy Yurts.(c)” Rather than cede six weeks of hard work and goodwill to nihilists, how about picking a modest, albeit altogether unexpected goal for the movement, and just going with it?
And what is more innocuous than occupying a yurt? The Backwoods Home types, who are neither republican nor democrat exclusively, have been singing the praises of yurts for decades. Yurts are low cost, small-footprint dwellings that represent a major break from last decade’s infatuation with mcmansions and the damaging, interest-only loans that facilitated them. Wouldn’t the encouragement of choosing a new way to dwell in America be indicative of major societal change, the type which many #OWS activists purportedly seek? Yurts, mongolian-inspired tent-like structures, are largely manufactured in the United States, so mass adoption would directly benefit non-corporate small businesses, many of which advertise in progressive mags like Mother Jones and Mother Earth News. A four-season yurt costs less than $5000, so mass adoption of yurts would considerably decrease the American dependency on mortgage debt, thus reducing the power of banks substantially. And yurt-living would likely foster a pioneer spirit long considered extinct in America, and give a common point of reference for all Americans heretofore absent since the Second World War.
Sure, it seems frivoulous to pursue yurt living
as a goal for a movement with such high aspirations. But inspiring people to select an alternative, sustainable lifestyle is more realistic a goal than, say, the forgiveness of all debt, an early, project mayhem-esque goal of the movement. And it is certainly more positive than causing a run on banks, also discussed as another of the movement’s proposed goals.
So get with it America, and occupy a yurt!
UPDATE: It looks like Laurel Nest Yurts, an American Yurt supplier, is picking up on my yurt living theme. From the Laurel Yurt Website:
What can we do and what do want to do to make the world better? I can’t make it out NYC to Wall Street join the protestors, even though I person
ally support what they are
fighting for. I already bank with a local bank; I backed out of Bank of America years ago because I don’t like the way they treat people or conduct their business. I try to encourage trade and enjoy energetic exchange. I live in a yurt and am grateful that my life has not tied me up to a mortgage. Through our company, Laurel Nest Yurts, I try to help others get out of the box and live a lighter life that is less dependent on the grid and grind. But, still we can always do more. . .“The time has come of self-value. And the question is not: ‘To be or not to be;’ the statement is: ‘To be to be. I am, I am.” ~Yogi Bhajan
Remember, you heard it here first!