Some men see political movements as they are and ask, “Why?” Others, like Stephen Colbert, see political movements as a shameless promotional opportunity and ask, “Why not?” The Comedy Central faux-con took to the streets to infiltrate the Occupy Wall Street movement and ultimately to co-opt it with his SuperPac money. Dressed like Geraldo Rivera dressed like Che Guevara, Colbert mingled with the leftists camped out in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. But he needed real access, so he hosted two OWS activists in his swank penthouse suite. Justin Wedes and Ketchup
Hitler insisted that they didn’t speak for the movement — no one does, they explained — but the real-life Milhouse and Lisa Simpson certainly painted a hippy-dippy image of the “organization”‘s inner workings. Apparently, in high-level caucus meetings, hand-signals, like sad jazz hands, indicate approval. Even sadder jazz hands demonstrate disagreement.
Colbert first wanted to know what their real beef was, and Ketchup didn’t disappoint. “[Wall Street corporations] have all this money and they know that people all over the world are suffering and hungry and cold, and they are choosing not to do anything about it… wa-wa, waa-waa.” Oh, Ketchup, when will you catch up?
Colbert was not discouraged, though he attacked the pair for their bigoted views against corporations, who legally-speaking, are considered people. “You saying they’re not is dehumanizing a person. Do you understand how you’re the monster?” Colbert said. “It just seems pretty racist of you to say, ‘Oh certain people don’t get to be people.’ Are they three-fifths of a person?”
Colbert wasn’t offended enough to reel in his plans for taking over the
cult movement. “Why not level the playing field by getting some money of your own,” he said, offering the duo cash. “You’ve got to fight fire with fire. That’s Jesus.” Watch the entire two-part segment below, and tell me if OWS erred in sending these naifs instead of this guy.
I love these clips because they remind me that though the actor Stephen Colbert has his own political agenda, it’s always always always secondary to the joke. Humor and ridiculous are his ultimate master, and these two representatives of the OWS movement just walked right into it. They couldn’t have been greater stereotypes of the perception held by more cynical critics of their cause — especially the “female-bodied person.”
Am I being too hard on them, PopWatchers? Did their performance have any impact on your impression of the protesters in lower Manhattan and in other cities across the country?