Naomi Wolf on OWS

Naomi Wolf writes for The Guardian about violence against OWS protestors.

Wolf is as smart as she is outspoken. (The Beauty Myth is absolutely essential reading.) She’s also given to strong rhetoric. And she’s very often right, and most always insightful.

Say what you like about Frank Miller, the vitriol he spat against OWS puts voice to a distressingly common and all-too-difficult to pinpoint ideology – a thread of violence and hate that lurks in our society. For every Frank Miller, we need three Naomi Wolfs.

What do you think? Too strong? Too inflammatory?

9 thoughts on “Naomi Wolf on OWS

  1. There are maybe a handful of mainstream media figures that haven’t written off Occupy as a group of “lazy hippies” and “hipsters who are expecting handouts.” Or if more exist, they aren’t getting though the media haze that passes off as news. (I don’t give a shit that celebrity A is divorcing/marrying/impregnating celebrity B.) The police brutality and suppression of the First Amendment occurring within our own country should be the focus of newscasts every night. Instead we have to hear about shopping deals and the latest idiot that opened their mouth and revealed their insanity during the last debate. Which appears to be all of them.

    The most disappointing aspect of the news coverage in regards to Occupy is that my 20 year-old sister has no idea what it’s about. She’s in college and had no idea what had happened at UC Davis. I guess I can blame that on the fact that she is going to a Texas state university. I had to explain what Occupy was for and what had happened to the students of UC Davis to her. This is someone who should be on the pulse of this movement. Reacting to events as they occur thanks to social media. She’s on her intelligent phone ALL THE TIME, yet the only thing she does is tell people about football scores and all the drama that comes with being in a sorority. I’m sending her this story and telling her that I expect to be able to discuss this, as well as what ever my occur in the meantime, with me when she comes back for the winter break.

  2. I just read Joshua Holland’s rebuttal of this article.
    I suggest giving it a read.
    I have not yet read Naomi Wolf’s blog post, GQ article, or this Guardian column. I will do so, I promise.
    Joshua Holland is a writer for AlterNet, which is somewhat like a political version of Cracked, very clever and informative but with a few too many sensational headlines for my taste. I like his post because he doesn’t debate the politics of it – he sides with OWS – he trashes her lazy journalism.
    I agree that Naomi Wolf is a welcome chaser to Frank Miller’s brainless cheap shots, but that’s not what we need. We need water-tight journalism, the hallmark of which is clarity.
    So much is written about OWS everyday (Daily Kos boasts of 60 new OWS posts a day) but little of it stands out.
    I think we should each write a post about Occupy. Exactly 3 people read this blog, but those 3 people deserve clarity.
    Perhaps we should host an Occupy roundtable, during the which we can also come up with new characters for Dog Mic and vote on a better name for Astroman, you know, something along the line of Astroman, only more proactive.

  3. PS I linked to Joshua Holland’s personal blogger site because Blogger is easier to read that AlterNet and Dirty Hippies, the two organizations he writes for, both of which published the article.

    I think it’s cool that blog posts like this can be published on multiple sites, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, I’m amazed that personal websites like Blogger and WordPress are so much easier to read (especially longer articles) than professional sites like AlterNet, HuffPost, etc. When I saw the article on AlterNet, I noticed it was a five page article. I didn’t even realize it was so long because I read the whole thing on Blogger in about five minutes.

  4. I love this rebuttal. Note that I compared Wolf rather pointedly to Miller – her language is, to a lesser degree, inflammatory and a little paranoid. However, it is not hateful.

    I’d rather have a boxful of that than any amount of the bilious offal that Miller put forth. (Though, honestly, nothing Miller has ever written is anywhere near so valuable or insightful as is the bulk of Wolf’s major works. The comparison is unfair. One is an intellectual goldfish, the other a whale.*)

    When I read her article I did not assume that congress was actually literally ordering cops to crack down, but rather that they were exerting influence against the protestors – making protests harder – as an act of self-interest. What I enjoyed about the rather over-dramatic light she throws is that it does ask (implicitly) the reader to think about the institutional forces at play. Even if no one ever explicitly says “those cops should really go out and brutalize some folks,” a system is created where the bias rolls down from the top.

    I don’t think Wolf is saying that. Certainly not explicitly. But it is

    I can’t help but think of the Wire – Scott, forgive me – and all of Lester Freeman’s manifold troubles that arise from following the money.

    There is a valid question being raised here. Is her tone too much? Maybe not – if it raises the right questions. But then again. Maybe.

    *It’s too easy and cheap to belittle Miller so.

  5. I don’t know Naomi Wolf at all, and I read this article fairly quickly, but I found it senselessly sensational. It read like an infomercial. It was trying to wow me with big revelations and sneaky “in-your-face” epiphanies. I was turned off immediately by the title: The Shocking Truth etc…? That title belongs next to the National Enquirer and Star, not at the head of thoughtful reflection on the oppression of an incipient revolution. It’s amateur dramatics. It’s Reality TV, and it’s just as false, and exponentially more destructive than either because a government and its people are at stake. It is also wildly irresponsible.

    Wolf probably didn’t title her article. Editors title articles. Still, these two lines, from her article, are inexcusably poor:

    “Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people?”


    “That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.”

    I know the first line is mocking the misinformed haze of the average person. That doesn’t matter. No journalist should ever write with such trite affectation. That’s for advertising. Journalism is dead when readers can’t tell advertising from editorial.

    We don’t need to put someone in the ring with Frank Miller. Fuck Frank Miller. We need brave, objective, and accurate journalism, because this shit will NOT cut it:,9263,7601111205,00.html

    Furthermore, we need everyone to put away their dicks and their egos. We need constructive discussion on the purpose and efficacy of a government to protect the rights and the quality of life for its people. We can’t fight fire with fire. That will only make things worse. Imagine if the Occupy Wall Street protesters threw stones or had rifles. They’d be crushed and killed immediately. They’d be no better than the people they intended to replace. The goal of Occupy Wall Street is not to replace one evil with another. It is to demand a higher standard of humanity.

  6. Hell yeah, Scott!

    I didn’t intend for them to be “put in ring” by the way. It’s just interesting to see how a recluse insaniac and a (generally) smart, socially conscious person alike write so strangely.

    Wolf makes some valid points. She approaches them in a really strange way though. Obviously, Wolf’s article provoked a different train of thought from me than from many people. But I’m an antisocial nit, and thus I asked, “Is it too much?”

    That was only fractionally rhetorical.

  7. I didn’t read Naomi’s full article. Like many people of the Internet, I skimmed it and then commented on one aspect of it.

    Last night Occupy LA and Philly were both removed from their camps and the media was quarantined once again. They didn’t even seem to put up much of a fuss. I haven’t heard any stories of journalists being arrested. On the bright side, I haven’t heard any police brutality tales either.

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