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George Lauer — The Man Who Changed The Way Everyone Shops!

The Biggest Surprise is That Neither He or His Company Patented It

 

On a Sunday afternoon in 1971, an I.B.M. engineer stepped out of his house in Raleigh, N.C., to consult his boss, who lived across the street. “I didn’t do what you asked,” George Lauer confessed.

 

Lauer had been instructed to design a code that could be printed on food labels and that would be compatible with the scanners then in development for supermarket checkout counters. He was told to model it on the bull’s-eye-shaped optical scanning code designed in the 1940’s by N. Joseph Woodland, who died in December. But Laurer saw a problem with the shape: “When you run a circle  through a high-speed press, there are parts that are going to get smeared,” he says “so I came up with my own code.” His system, a pattern of stripes, would be readable even it was poorly printed.

 

That pattern became the basis for the U.P.C., the Universal Product Code, which was adopted by a consortium of grocery companies in 1973, when cashiers were still punching in all prices by hand. Within a decade, the U.P.C. — and optical scanners — brought supermarkets into the digital age. Now an employee could ring up a cereal box with a flick of the wrist. “When people find out  that I invented the U.P.C., they think I’m rich,” Laurer says. But he received no royalities for this invention, and I.B.M did not patent it.

 

As the U.P.C. symbol proliferated, so, too, did paranoia  about it. For decades, Laurer has been hounded by people convinced that he has hidden the number 666 inside the lines of his code. “I didn’t get the meat,” Laurer said ruefully, “but I did get the nuts.”.

 

This article first appeared in the New York Times Magazine January 6, 2013 under the byline of Pagan Kennedy.

 

Did you know there’s a Museum dedicated  to the bar code? The ID History Museum is run by Bill Selmeier who was interviewed for this story:

You worked at I.B.M. in the 1970’s and then helped promote the U.P.C? Yes, I started the seminars where we invited people from the grocery and labeling industry into I.B.M. We were there to reduce their fear.

 

What were they afraid of? They were afraid that anything that didn’t work right would reflect badly on them — particularly if it was only their own package that wouldn’t scan. The guy from Birds Eye said “My stuff always has ice on it when it goes through the checkout.” So we put his package in the freezer and took it out and showed him how it scanned perfectly.

 

Why are you still so interested in the history of the U.P.C. code? Let me put it this way: What bigger impact can you have on the world than to change the way everyone shops?

 

Even my book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire has its own unique U.P.C. and as a visitor to my blog I want to offer you a special low price to order the book on a no risk trial. Plus an extra bonus. You can save more than 30% off the price and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a full refund. Sold everywhere for $39.95 plus s&h, you can order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE.

It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in mail order/direct response

 

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is a complete guide to starting your own business, a business you can run from your home with no cost for an outside office or place of business and utilizing the power of the World Wide Websell your product or service all over the world.

 

You’ll learn:

 

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How To Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Product or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Seure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits
and included in this newly revised edition:
 
Complete Up-To-Date Information on How To Use the Internet To Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business

 

and for all new buyers I’m offering you a huge bonus. Order from this posting and you also receive a full years personal consultation from the author at no cost. Fred Broitman is the founder/CEO of SUNMAN DIRECT Chicago’s largest independently owned direct response advertising agency.  To receive this extra bonus, just send your name and address along with your check or money order for $29.95 to: SUPERIOR PRESS Dept. 8103 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60611

Albert Einstein gets it right again!

Mystery Tug on Spacecraft Is Einstein’sI Told You So

It’s been a bad year to bet against Albert Einstein. In the spring physicists had to withdraw a sensational report that the sub-atomic particles known as neutrinos were going faster than the speed of light. Einstein’s cosmic speed limit; they discovered they had plugged in a cable wrong.

Now scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have reported that they have explained one of the great mysteries of the space age, one that loomed for 30 years as a threat to the credibility of Einsteinian gravity.

The story starts with the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes, which went past Jupiter and Saturn in the late 1970’s and now are on their way out of the solar system. In the 1980’s it became apparent that a mysterious force was slowing them down a little more than should have been expected from gravity of the Sun and planets.

Was there an unknown planet or asteroid out there tugging on the space-craft? Was it drag from interplanetary gas or dust? Something weird about the spacecraft? Or was something wrong in our calculation of gravity out there in the dark?

General relativity has passed every test on Earth. Without it GPS systems would not work.

That last explanation would have been big news indeed. Much of what we know about the universe — for example, the existence of dark matter, which seems to swaddle and shape the galaxies, and of dark energy which seems to be speeding up the expansion of the universe — comes from presuming that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity which describes gravity as the warping of space-time geometry — is correct over cosmic distances.

General relativity has passed every test on Earth. Without it GPS systems would not work. But some theorists have suggested that if gravity behaved differently over large distances from what Einstein thought, it would relieve astronomers of the embarrassing need to posit that 96 percent of the universe consists of various kinds of unknown dark stuff. A similar, but larger kind of deviation from Einsteinian theory could explain the Pioneer anomaly, as it is called. Pioneers 10 and 11 were launched in 1972 and and 1973, respectively, and are now both about 10 billion miles out. They were last heard from in 2003, when the radio signal from Pioneer 10 got too weak to be detected. They were the first spacecraft to go past Jupiter and Saturn, though their biggest impact on pop culture until then might have been a controversy over the nude human figures on a plaque designed for the benefit of any distant aliens who might find them.

In 1988, however, John D. Anderson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and his colleagues discovered that the spacecraft were running a little late on  their timetable to eternity, it seemed as if general relativity might be up for grabs — allowing the news media to ask their favorite science question: Was Einstein wrong? There was talk of a special deep space probe whose only mission would be to track its own movements.

The effect was slight — slowing the spacecraft by about 300 miles a year — but the crack interplanetary navigators at J.P.L., who can slip a probe through Saturn’s rings or buzz the moons of Jupiter, take great pride in their knowledge of the forces and foibles of the solar system.

Slava G. Turyshev, a Russian physicist and gravitational expert working at the laboratory, heard the challenge and took it on, feeling “a sense of responsibility to get to the bottom of it.” And so he set out to reconstruct the history of the Pioneer voyages.

You might think that would be easy. But the Pioneers spanned the history of the space age and also of the computer age, occasioning a major effort in what Dr. Turyshev calls “space archaeology“.

He and his colleagues had to scour NASA labs for old punchcards and magnetic tapes and for vintage devices that could read the data stored on them — then reformat all that data to a single modern standard.

Among other things, that meant ascertaining the positions of every antenna in NASA’s Deep Space Network to an accuracy of one centimeter over all that time.

It took much longer than Dr. Turyshev had imagined, and he had to depend on money from the Planetary Society as well as from NASA to keep the project going, all the time aware that nobody was ever likely to retrace his footsteps. So he had better get it right.

The more we learned, the less optimistic we became about the new physics,” he said. It became apparent that the fault with the Pioneers’ travels turned out to lie not in the stars or the shape of space-time but in the spacecraft themselves.

As designed, they radiated more heat in one direction from the circuits and generators that produced their electricity. And that imbalance, Dr. Turyshev and his colleagues concluded in a recent paper in Physical Review Letters, was all that was needed to explain the Pioneers’ behavior.

Gravity did not need to be fixed! Einstein was right again! In fact he was doubly right, as it turns out.

The idea that light, of which heat radiation is one form, can carry momentum and thus a propulsive force is implicit in the basic equations of electromagnetism. A comet’s tail, blown by sunlight, is one example. But it acquired new visceral meaning when Einstein, beginning in 1905, showed that light can be thought of as little particles — now called photons — that carry energy and momentum. As with bullets, if you shoot them in one direction, there will be a recoil in the other.

If you drive at night, Dr. Turyshev explained “your high beams would emit photons and it would push you back.”

So the Pioneers’ problem is that they have been driving the solar system with their high beams on. Dr. Turyshev said he had set out in search of new physics. When I asked him if  he was disappointed at the final results, he laughed and replied; “Of course. People were ready for something big.”

Still, he said, the Einsteinian explanation “also helps.” The findings should help in designing new spacecraft for sensitive missions like measuring gravitational waves.

“It’s a win-win“, he said. You may dream of freaky new physics, but sometimes the freaky old physics is all you need.

If Albert Einstein were alive today, he would probably have said “I told you so!”

This article first appeared in the New York Times July 24,2010 written by Dennis Overbye.

Growing Greed, Income Gap Threaten America

A hardening caste system driven by the insatiable greed of its wealthiest citizens.

America is devolving into a desperate almost Third World society defined by a hardening caste system driven by the insatiable greed of its wealthiest citizens. Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues in his new book The Price Of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future.

This is excerpted from a book review published in the Chicago Tribune July 12, 2012 by Bernard Vaughan. “We are now approaching the level of inequality that marks dysfunctional societies,”  Stiglitz writes. “It is a club that we would distinctly not want to join, including Iran, Jamaica, Uganda and the Philippines.”

Statistics on widening U.S. income inequality are well known, but Stiglitz details them to show the trend has passed into a danger zone.

About 30 years ago, the top 1 percent of income earners received 12 percent of the nation’s income, which could have been unacceptable enough, Stiglitz writes. But by 2007, the average after-tax income of the top 1 percent had reached $1,300,000 while the bottom 20 percent averaged only $17,800.

With the end of the Great Recession, the gap has only widened: The ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker in 2010 was 243 to 1, the level it had been before the financial crisis, the author says.

These economic realities imperil America’s future, corrupting basic notions of fairness and justice critical in a thriving democracy.

Such dramatic inequality, according to Stiglitz is the byproduct of a bubble-strewn economy beholden to a deregulated and all-powerful financial industry all too often dictating government policies through its lobbying and money politics.  The author argues that these economic realities imperil America’s future, corrupting basic notions of fairness and justice critical in a thriving democracy. As inequality increases,opportunity decreases and cynicism is ascendant, Stiglitz says.

Alienation has begun to replace motivation,” Stiglitz writes. “Instead of social cohesion we have a new divisiveness.” Stiglitz’s book echoes others released recently by liberal-leaning voices examining America’s struggle to rebound from the financial calamity of 2008, including studies by economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs, former President Bill Clinton and filmmaker Charles Ferguson.

Stiglitz, a former Clinton administration and World Bank economist, received the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001 and published a series of popular studies in the last decade starting with Globalization and its Discontents (2002), an attack on the International Monetary Fund’s austerity policies.

While Stiglitz’s book zeros in on the idea of inequality, it follows a similar script. Most of its pages are devoted to how America got where it is as opposed to what it can do to reverse course. Ample blame is assigned to the Reagan administration for ushering in an anti-government zeitgeist that Stiglitz argues has engorged the financial industry at the expense of the middle class. Clinton exacerbated financial deregulation, and President Barack Obama has missed a critical opportunity to rein in Wall Street, the book maintains.

Though Stiglitz teases the reader with solutions, it’s not until late in the book that he outlines his economic reform agenda. With some exceptions, many of his suggestions are similar to those offered by Sachs, Krugman and liberal activists. They face the same steep odds in the current political environment, with Obama and Democrats facing a staunchly conservative Republican Party in Congress, in most states—and even on the Supreme Court, some critics say, after decisions such as Bush versus Gore and Citizens United.

Stiglitz’s ideas often echo the Democrats agenda: tax reform so the wealthy pay more; reining in Wall Street; investing in education, technology and infrastructure; and campaign finance reform. He also argues for tempering globalization, where capital is allowed to migrate to the cheapest labor force and free flow of goods is unimpeded by anything but dollar considerations.

It could be the 1 percent who try to do something about inequality as they realize that their fates are bound to how the other 99 prcent live.

Ultimately, and ironically, Stiglitz says, it could be the 1 percenters who try to do something about inequality as they realize that their fates are bound to how the other 99 prcent live.

Throughout  history, this has been something  that the top 1 percent eventually do learn,” he writes. “Often, however, they learn it too late.”

While you’re waiting around for the 1 percenters to come to their senses, here’s a Free offer that may help you survive and thrive in these difficult economic times. If you have an interest in starting a business of their own, Denny Hatch, a friend and mail order guru has developed 22 Rules for Internet Success and with his permission I would like to send you a copy. It’s yours for the asking: Just shoot me an e-mail: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

In 1942 Another Mail Order Millionaire Started From His Home

Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1939, Norman Edmund was quarantined in a sanatorium, where he watched eight of his 10 wardmates perish from the disease, But he turned the gruesome experience to his advantage. Unwanted by employers, who feared the young accountant could still be contagious, Edmund started an Army salvage business in his New Jersey home.

At the time of Edmund’s retirement in 1975, the company had sales of about $10 million.

That business became Edmund Scientific, publisher of the famous Edmund Scientific catalog. The catalog—loved by science geeks for more than half a century—still sells you-build- it telescope kits, antigravity devices, solar-powered gadgets of all sorts, and goofy-yet-instructional items like a brew-your-own-root-beer kit. Edmund saw the catalog as a much needed tool for science education, particularly after the Soviet launch of Sputnik in the late 1950s.

The Russians were beating us,” recalls Robert Edmund, Norman’s son. “You had to get your people involved in science.” Norman Edmund died January 17. he was 95 and had enjoyed good health since beating TB.  He started his first company, Edmund Salvage, in 1942 at the behest of friends who worked at the Frankford Arsenal, an Army supply depot in nearby Philadelphia. Edmund began taking in surplus military equipment, tearing it apart, and selling the components, including lots of lenses for amateur photographers and for industry.

Edmund Salvage became Edmund Scientific, whose flagship was the scientific catalog. “Edmund scoured hundreds of magazines a month looking for products and ideas“,  Robert recalls, “As a kid, stacked up, the magazines looked like a skyscraper to me.”

Later, Edmund Scientific operated a retail store from its headquarters in Barrington, New Jersey, attracting science buffs worldwide. Salvador Dali, during a period of interest in optical illusions, stopped by to examine prisms and lenses, says Alex Husted, a grandson of Norman’s. “Norman would buy train cars full of war surplus to get binoculars, and you’d get all this other stuff you didn’t  want—motors, gear boxes, random lab equipment.” Much of it went into  a space known as “the mad scientist’s room.” An annual tent sale—people camped overnight to get first crack at the oddball offerings—would clear the stuff out to make room for new shipments.

At the time of Edmund’s retirement in 1975, the company had sales of about $10 million. Robert took over, expanding the optics business and manufacturing lenses in-house. In 2001, Robert had to break some news to his father. He had sold the scientific catalog to an educational company. “The  world  was changing,” says Robert. “People weren’t buying kits. They were finding their science elsewhere.” His father took it hard.

New owners have kept the catalog going. Edmund Optics, as the family business is now known, has grown to $120 million in sales. And Robert is eager to describe a grant program he started two years ago, giving $80,000 annually to fund promising ideas of the sort his father might have championed. There is one grant in particualr. It went to a Peruvian who had developed a rapid diagnostic kit for tuberculosis.

Norman Edmund, 1916-2012.

This article first appeared in INC. The Magazine for Growing Companies under the byline of Jeff Bailey.

It’s never been easier or more necessary in these difficult economic times where our unemployment rate seems permanently stuck at around 8% to consider starting your own business. No other business I know costs less to get started in than Mail Order and with the help of the Internet allows beginners to run their own businesses from anywhere.. It can be started part- time to help your family ‘get over the hump’,’ put some bread on the table’ and when the profits come rolling in, it’s easy to make it a full time career like Norman and his son Robert Edmund.

The book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE contains all you need to know to make a go of this exciting and rewarding business. It’s sold on a complete money back guarantee of satisfaction. You can order it from Amazon for $39,95 plus s&h or as a reader of this blog direct from the publisher for only $29.95FREE shipping and handling. Send check or money order to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1032, Chicago IL 60601.

15 Hot New Startup Businesses For Under $100

Can you really find a new business for under $100?   The short answer is Yes! The longer answer is YES, BUT….

Finding a new business can easily be done for less than $100. But there is much more involved to guarantee your success and that’s what this weeks post is all about, but first to whet your appetite, here are 15 New Hot Startups for under $100. This information comes from an article published in a current issue of Small Business Opportunity Start Your Own Business.

You don’t have to come up with a fortune to start a small business. In fact there are dozens of great new and hot businesses you can start for less than $100. Use your imagination as you scan your community to see what’s needed. If the business you are contemplating already exists, figure out a way to beat your competition by doing it faster-cheaper-or better. Here are some moneymaking potentials for you to consider.

  1. Pet Biz: Pets are hot and services for pets are booming. It’s a  $50 billion a year industry.
  2. Blog for Cash: Everyone wants a blog but can’t provide content. You do it and earn big.
  3. Cleaning Biz: Busy people have no  time and you are selling convenience.
  4. Delivery Service: Connect with small biz in your area that don’t deliver and provide the service.
  5. Custom Cakes: Sweets are always big in any economy, Custom cakes are hot.
  6. Windows: Businesses that offer window cleaning are booming. Residential and Commercial.
  7. eBay: Sell online — your trash is someone’s treasure.
  8. Website: Build a website and sell stuff as you make money from home.
  9. Services For Seniors: You can run errands, teach computer skills, etc. for this market.
  10. Inventory Biz: You photograph/video and list contents of  home for insurance purposes.
  11. Jewelry Empire:  Turn your crafts into cash at sites like etsy.com
  12. Small Biz Owner Fill-In: Start a business filling in for entrepreneurs who need  to be out of the office/shop, etc. but who have no employees to hold down the fort.
  13. Bottle Your Recipe: Take your sauce and sell it at fairs, online and trade shows.
  14. Day Care: Learn regulations and care for kids in your home or their’s.
  15. Apartment Prep Service: You handle cleanup, etc when tenants move out. Connect with realtors, etc.

Mail Order continues to boom! By the end of this year sales for mail order businesses will exceed more than two trillion dollars. It is a wonderful business to  pursue as it easily adapts to a part-time, full- time or weekends- only schedule. You can sell from home and thanks to the Internet, you can effortlessly set up shop and sell your goods to a global audience if you like–and best of all it doesn’t matter where you live…big city or small town, on a farm or up in the mountains–in Chicago or Cleveland or Bombay, India or even from the Bahamas.

The mail order business is one of the least expensive types of business individuals can start. In mail order, a person can start small and then gradually build the business from the profits. Mail order entrepreneurs purchase products wholesale or better yet create their own products, such as a “How-To” book.

Speaking about How To books is a perfect segue to my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. Now in its fourth printing, it is a complete guide to  starting your own home based mail order business.  Easy to read and easier  to follow step by step directions to a business of your own. You’ll learn:

  1. HOW TO GET STARTED
  2. HOW  TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  3. HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE FROM THE START
  4. HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  5. SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  6. HOW  TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR  BUSINESS
  7. 14 SURE FIRE CHECK-OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS FROM EVERY AD YOU RUN.

Convenience has always been the key to mail order success. Some shoppers love to make purchases from their armchairs. They save time,money, gas, etc. The Internet has been a tremendous boost to mail order businesses. Online shopping is a significant reason mail order selling is growing and the chapter in my book on how to use the Internet contains up-to-date information on this most important tool.

Fred Broitman, a long time mail order expert, has written the definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order. Founder and CEO of SUNMAN DIRECT, Chicago’s oldest and largest independently owned Mail Order/Direct Response Advertising Agency. He is personally responsible for selling hundreds of millions of dollars in products and services and literally helping to create many MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRES.

The book is available  for purchase from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h but to readers of his blog, you can save $10 and purchase it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h. (Total $33.40). Please send check or money order to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. The book is sold on a money back guarantee of satisfaction.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful – Winter’s many Hidden Hazards

Home for me is Chicago and we are having one of the mildest winters I can recall. Very little snow (by Chicago standards) and not even all that cold (again by Chicago standards) but if you are reading this and your winter weather is frightful, here are some helpful tips courtesy of THE INK WELL who publish a monthly printed newsletter sent to their customers.

Depending on where you live, a covering of fluffy snow and the glisten of icicles can be beautiful signs of the season. However, winter can also come with many hidden hazards.

Here are a few must-know tips to keep you safe and healthy.

Did you know indoor radon gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer? Radon levels can increase at a deadly rate during cool months when windows are closed, so it’s important to test your home for radon. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon.

If your furnace or other heat source stops working, avoid frozen water pipes by turning your faucets to a steady drip. If the pipes do freeze, open a faucet near the frozen area to release vapor from melting ice, then direct a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer at the frozen section. Never thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, which can cause a fire or steam explosion.

Hypothermia can happen to anyone when their body temperature reaches 95 degrees or lower. Even mild indoor temps of 60-65 degrees can trigger hypothermia in infants and the elderly.

Signs of Hypothermia include

  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Slow Breathing

Beware of frostbitten skin, which appears whitish and feels numb. Treat frostbite by wrapping the area with blankets, or use body heat to warm it gradually. Do not rub frostbitten areas — friction can damage the skin tissue.

If you are standing on a frozen lake, pond, or outdoor skating rink and hear the ice cracking, lie down immediately to distribute your weight. If you fall in, don’t panic. Focus your energy on getting out as quickly as possible. Once out, use powdery snow to sop up excess water. Do jumping jacks, push-ups, or run in place to get your blood pumping and warm up your body.

For more winter tips, check out: www.epa.gov/region3winter

Wise words:

“Health is like money–we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”

Speaking of money. If you are contemplating going into business for yourself, take advantage of my special offer for HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. It’s available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h, but as a reader of my blog, you can obtain a copy by ordering direct from the publisher. Send a check or money order for $29.95 plus $3.50 (Total $33.45) to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601 Sold on complete money back guarantee of satisfaction.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests

That’s the headline to Matt Taibbi’s article in the current issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. Last week’s post was from a conservative columnist who writes for FORTUNE MAGAZINE. It’s only fair for a progressive view–and there’s few as good as Matt Taibbi. He alone is well worth subscribing to one of my favorite magazines ROLLING STONE. Herein are excerpts:

“I have a confession to make. At first I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. The first few time I went down to Zuccotti Park, I came away with mixed feelings. I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world. You could put 50,000 angry protestors on Wall Street, 100,000 even, and Lloyd Blankfein is probably not going to break a sweat. He knows he’s not going to wake up tomorrow and see Cornel West or Richard Trumka running the Federal Reserve. He knows modern finance is a giant mechanical parasite that only an expert surgeon can remove. Yell and scream all you want but he and his fellow Franksteins are the only ones who know how to turn the machine off.

That’s what I was thinking during the first few weeks of the protests. But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street but EVERYTHING. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it‘s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

The right-wing media wasted no time in cannon-blasting the movement with its usual idiotic clichés, casting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty hippies who should get a job and stop chewing up Mike Bloomberg’s police overtime budget with their urban sleepovers. Just like they did a half-century ago, when the debate over the Vietnam War somehow stopped being about why we were brutally murdering millions of innocent Indochinese civilians and instead became a referendum on bralessness and long hair and flower-child rhetoric, the depraved flacks of the right-wing media have breezily blown off a generation of fraud and corruption and market-perverting bailouts, making the whole debate about the protestors themselves—their hygiene, their ‘envy’ of the rich, their ‘hypocrisy’.

The protestors, chirped Supreme Reichskank Ann Coulter, ‘needed three thing: showers, jobs and a point’. Her colleague Charles Krauthammer went so far as to label the protestors hypocrites for having iPhones. ‘OWS’, he said is Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s- clad, iPhone clutching protestors (denouncing) corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over’. Apparently because Goldman and Citibank are corporations, no protestors can ever consume a corporate product—not jeans, not cellphones and definitely not coffee’—if he also wants to complain about tax money going to pay off some billionaire banker’s bets against his own crappy mortgages.

Meanwhile on the other side of the political spectrum, there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY AMMUNITION! we counseled. STAY ON MESSAGE! BE SPECIFIC!. We were all playing the Rorschach-test game with OWS trying to squint at it and see what we wanted to see in the movement. Viewed through the prism of our desire to make near-term, within the system changes, it was hard to see how skirmishing with cops in New York would help foreclosed-upon middle-class families in Jacksonville and San Diego.

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something.

I think I understand now that that’s what the Occupy movement is all about. It’s about dropping out if only for a moment, and trying something new. It doesn’t need to tell the world what it wants. It is successful for now, just by being something different.”

These are only excerpts from Matt’s excellent article in the November 22nd issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. To read it in its entirety, pickup a copy or better yet become a subscriber. I’ve been hooked on their political reporting for 25 years and with age, year after year, it only gets better.

Worthwhile Books