Why is a month-long slumber party in a public park more heroic or newsworthy than getting up daily and going to work? “I’ve been here a week and I’m lovin’ every minute of it,” a jagged-toothed, self-described vet leaning against a planter in Zuccotti Park told me on Sunday. One of the biggest decisions that he and his fellow occupiers have to make each day is whether to eat vegan or to scarf down some saturated animal fats in the Dunkin’ Donuts that regularly make the rounds, thanks to the bounteous food donations that pour into the park on an hourly basis. (The most critical decision, of course, is which local establishment to invade for your sanitary needs.)
Henry, a delicate, doe-eyed anthropology and interdisciplinary-studies major from the University of Alabama, came up to New York a week ago with the blessings of his professors, who are undoubtedly celebrating the long-hoped-for revival of 1960s student activism. The chance that his courses are so demanding that his open-ended leave of absence will jeopardize his grades is zero. “It’s obvious that the good guys are fighting the bad guys,” he said. “It’s a question of good v. evil. Bad guys serve themselves, seeking individual gain; they’ve forgotten what it means to be a good guy. You can be rich, but you shouldn’t try to get richer, because you make people poor by getting richer.” Henry was particularly exercised by the fact that a timber company had bought up all the farmland in his area, while three counties there lack hospitals.