Not a surprise in a society where we’re expected to “curate” our Facebook pages, but still entertaining. The WSJ labels #OWS “highly collectible“:
More than a half-dozen major museums and organizations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly collecting materials produced by the Occupy movement.
Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity. And museums have approached individual protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera. The Museum of the City of New York is planning an exhibition on Occupy for next month.
“Occupy is sexy,” said Ben Alexander, who is head of special collections and archives at Queens College in New York, which has been collecting Occupy materials. “It sounds hip. A lot of people want to be associated with it.”
To keep established institutions from shaping the movement’s short history, protesters have formed their own archive group, stashing away hundreds of cardboard signs, posters, fliers, buttons, periodicals, documents and banners in temporary storage while they seek a permanent home for the materials…
The lavish attention poured on the liberal-leaning movement has not gone unnoticed by conservatives. Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, blogged sarcastically under its “Corruption Chronicles” about the choice by the Smithsonian to document Occupy.
“It looks like it’s taxpayer-funded hoarding, as opposed to rigorous historical collecting,” said Tom Fitton, president of the organization.
I guess no modern American movement is official until it’s given the WATBs a reason to, um, christen themselves.
The Smithsonian said its American history collection also now includes materials related to the massive tea party rally against health care reform in March 2010 and materials from the American Conservative Union’s Washington, D.C., conference in February.
The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University launched OccupyArchive.org in mid-October on a hunch that it could become historically important. So far, it has about 2,500 items in its online database, including compressed files of entire Occupy websites from around the country and hundreds of images scraped from photo-sharing site Flickr…
Staff at the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University set up a system to download and archive tweets about Occupy. So far, they have harvested more than 5 million tweets from more than 600,000 unique Twitter users. Ultimately the database will be made available to scholars, said Stewart Varner, the digital scholarship coordinator at the library.
The New York Public Library has added Occupy periodicals to its collection and is considering obtaining some protest ephemera.
And the Internet Archive, a massive online library of free digital books, audio and texts, has opened a mostly user-generated collection about the movement. As of Friday, the Occupy collection included more than 2,000 items, while its “Tea Party Movement” collection had fewer than 50…
I’m torn between a spelling-comparison snark and the ever-popular “some were not yet colored in… “
Villago Delenda Est
I invite the fascist asswipe to do us all a favor and go DIAF.
John M. Burt
Not as thought #OWS is ever going to have as great an effect on history as the teabag-danglers. Good heavens, people, have you no sense of proportion…?
Control the past, and you control the future. Orwell wasn’t entirely wrong on that.
@John M. Burt: You don’t think the downgrade of our government’s credit worthiness wasn’t historical? And teabaggers are the ones responsible for that, don’t you think? Their insanity spooked the PTB pretty good.
At what point do I mention that the Smithsonian was created and is still primarily funded by a grant from an English duke who wanted to spend his inheritance on something other than his sniveling progeny?
Shorter me: FAIL.
The #OWS movement is a consequence of Teabag envy. It comes as no surprise that agencies of the government seek to celebrate it. I will attempt to explain more, as allowed.
Can a commemorative plate from the Franklin Mint be far behind?
There’s a huge debate in the archiving and library communities about how they should go about documenting and preserving digital-only documents, so I’m not surprised they’re using Occupy as a test case.
I’m also not surprised that people who are completely ignorant about how archiving works are getting their stupid, ignorant panties in a twist about it.
From the perspective of a librarian, this makes sense. The OWS movement is an important aspect of our culture and therefore, its ephemera will be of future value to historians and researchers. The National Archives also collected some of those cheep American flags manufactured in China to commemorate 9/11. We learned the hard way in the past by not collecting material when it was available. You have no idea how hard it is to locate ephemera from the civil Rights Movement or the protest against the first gulf war, because the few people who kept anything form the era now want absurd amounts of money for it. Far form being a weird aspect of our materialist, society, this is an example of the government doing its job effectively.
Human Beings Naturally organize in a timocratic manner. This is because any group of humans, from a chess club to a military battalion to a nation-state, contains human bio-diversity which includes varying degrees of Talent. Members of any group gravitate towards individuals with Talent (largely bodily strength in pre-metallic societies; largely IQ and Virtue in metallic societies). Groups reward those of Talent with things from bananas and roots (Tropics) to metal rods (Spartans) to coins (early America) to a fiat currency (modern America). This is a consequence of humans wanting to be associated with Talent in times of peace and prosperity (sex-propagation), and of survival in times of want or war (hunger-physical assault). See the Bieber singer, and Rambo, respectively.
One flaw of some human beings is that they covet the possessions, and status, of others. This applies to individuals as well as groups. Herein lies the conflict that is has manifested itself in the #OWS Movement. The roots of the #OWS Movement and the Tea Party Movement differ fundamentally.
Due to the constraints of time, it will be necessary to further develop this Truth at a later date.
The historians’ explanation is straightforward and obvious: they are just doing their work, recording history as it’s happening. Although Ben Alexander probably didn’t intend his words mean to sound as vapid as they do in the story: “Occupy is sexy. It sounds hip. A lot of people want to be associated with it.” That was probably the reporter being a bit too clever.
What’s provoking the snide words from the right could be that so much effort is going into documenting OWS, compared to what’s gone into documenting the Teabagger movement. Maybe they see academic (i.e. liberal) biases at work here. Or maybe they realize an unpleasant truth: that the historians might be right to concentrate on OWS; that, for all the Astroturf money and organizing that went into the latter, they still could not produce a truly popular movement to match what is, in their eyes, a glorified flash mob.
Well I guess that’s one way for the 1% to co-opt ows.
c u n d gulag
What are the Teabaggers whining about?
I mean, once you’re seen one their “The Prazdant Iz Ah Niger!,” or “Doo Wee Ctill Hav 2 Kal It The Wite Houze?” signs at their rallies, you’ve seen them all – so what’s the use of archiving more than one?
@BO_Bill: Did anyone else read this dreck and think apes and philosophy?
You read it? I thought you knew better than that.
@Amir Khalid: I skimmed it. Can I still play with the kool kidz?
Mike in NC
They’d better be careful. Putting all that crap together in one room might trigger reactions like the melting faces and exploding heads scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
I guess I can let it slide — this time.
Oh, dear, STRATFOR got pwned by Anonymous/AntiSec. And this firm gets paid good money to provide security forecasting, and they can’t secure their own servers. Maybe folks will realize that when it comes to analysis, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for.
@Amir Khalid: I looked up how to say Merry Christmas in Malay. It’s kinda cool too. :)
I read it and thought “Nobody could love pie as much as this guy does! It’s all he ever posts about.”
I was at UC-Davis that Monday only because my dog was in the Vet Clinic. (Yeah-April Bear Pug)……So I grabbed a bunch of Aggie papers with the pepper spray photo that went viral……..
Where/how to preserve it? Obviously now a piece of History.