It seems to be the phrase of the Occupation, and especially apt in the past week or so.
There was the Law & Order set thing. In case you missed it, dear readers, Law and Order: SVU built a fake occupy camp in Foley Square last week, as a set for an episode. It had tents, a kitchen, a library, police presence, all that stuff. Of course, the real occupiers found it, and, late on Thursday night, occupied it. I ask you — did they think we wouldn’t? You can find info on twitter and elsewhere about it under the hash tag #mockupy. Mother Jones has a short article on it, with video featuring some of the real librarians from the People’s Library.
A while back we instituted an infrequently-used hand signal at library meetings to go with all the up-sparkling, down-sparkling, points of process, and so forth: the clarifying mustache. You take the curved pointer finger part of the clarifying question signal and put it over your upper lip. It means that things have gotten completely ridiculous, and we all need to take a Dada break. With the mockupation, the universe seems to have gotten on board with it, no?
In amongst the absurdity is the former location of the People’s Library in Zuccotti Park. In the first few days after the eviction last month, the people’s librarians were persistent in reopening the library. Over and over and over again. We were some of the first folks back in the park that morning — until we were kicked out again — and we’ve since had as much presence as the NYPD and Brookfield security dudes will allow on any given day. Recently that hasn’t been much.
A couple weeks ago the security dudes put up some red cloth “Danger!” tape between the trees in the northeast corner of the park, blocking off the benches where the Library used to be. The official reason was to protect the brand new ornamental cabbages that Brookfield had planted in the garden area above the benches. Cabbages that they had to tear out the existing bushes to plant, let me add. If you think that sounds completely ridiculous, take a moment to make the clarifying mustache signal with me.
After we spent some time scratching our heads, and occasionally disregarding the red tape — it was, after all, blocking off a good portion of the seating in the park — the absurdity increased. We got this:
See, among us persistent librarians, there’s one particularly persistent librarian. For the terrible crime of bringing books into the park he’s been bum rushed by a score of cops and nearly arrested, had some of the books confiscated, and, now, been banned from the park. The above document is the result of the confiscation. After those five very dangerous books were taken — we are told that one may not put books on the bench, because it prevents people from sitting there — the police delivered this kind note to the park. Not to the Library or to a librarian, but just to the park, asking that it be passed along to Library. Now, I know that’s more or less how it work here on the movement side of things, but I’m pretty sure the cops’ rules require them to be a little more diligent than that.
Since then, the red tape blocking off the former location of the People’s Library has been replaced by authentic yellow “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” cop tape. (Someone should confiscate that, it’s preventing me from sitting on the bench.) Do you have that clarifying mustache ready? Because I know we joke a bunch about how the City has been making books illegal, but someone obviously lacks in the irony department; how else to explain the utter tone-deafness of this whole thing?
Anyway, for once the NYPL has taken good care of our confiscated stuff. Which means we’ll surely be making the trip up to 1 Police Plaza to reclaim it shortly. I hope you’ll join us.
In the mean time, at least the current Christmas light overkill on all the trees in Zuccotti throws off enough glow to read by?