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Radiohead Hoaxster Comes Clean, Wanted to Raise Awareness for Occupy Wall Street

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By HVnews on October 3, 2011


On Friday, all day, there was a constant will-they-or-won’t-they debate about Radiohead playing an impromptu concert for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. It turned out to be a hoax.

The protest movement, however, never had a brighter spotlight upon them as they did on Friday when Radiohead rumors ran rampant online.

Then, over the weekend, the protests began spreading to other cities like Boston — where thousands protested Bank of America — as well as Seattle, Denver and Chicago. Yes, hundreds were arrested Saturday when protesters effectively shut down and occupied the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, the NYPD managed to arrest working reporters and photographers. Yes, this story is playing HUGE in international media, even as it’s largely being ignored here at home.

But all anyone can talk about is how the movement got duped into thinking Radiohead was legitimately playing a concert for them. The Village Voice used a lot of elbow grease to locate those responsible for the fake email sent to Occupy Wall Street organizers. Turns out the hoax came from a “J. Erin Stubbie.” Obviously, that’s not a real name. Stubbie sent an email to Gothamist and the Voice with his/her reasons:

Yeah, you found me, but I’ll be taking my story to the Times freelancer who got arrested on the bridge yesterday instead. To the gutsy go the spoils. I’m not an “organizer” or a provocateur, I’m an occupier who tried something, like a lot of us are. The whole occupation was a bluff by Canadians in the beginning anyway. If you continue to think of the only acting bodies as the organizers and self-declared spokespeople, you’ll continue to miss what’s happening. The prank was to give folks an excuse to go to Zuccotti, and although I’m sure I’m terribly sorry for all the pain and suffering I’ve caused apolitical Radiohead fans, it worked, and now our numbers are larger and growing. But it was also to illustrate the buffoonery of self-important spokespeople and committees. This is what happens when two people get put in charge of something (the vaguely tyrannical “Arts and Culture committee”) and empower themselves to speak “officially.” Now they’ve put one person in charge of communications. There are left authoritarians too, they’re a vocal minority, but they don’t speak for me or plenty of others.

So this is a call for more humor, more pranks, more of that good old anon shit at Occupy Wall Street and at the other occupations springing up around the country. It’s not that hard, it’s a lot more fun than long meetings, and it’ll work.

NOTE: This email is for publication in its entirety or not at all. None of that out-of-context lamestream media trickery. As a precautionary measure, I’ve CC’ed the comrades at Gothamist, who seem totally prepared to call you out for even the appearance of violating source instructions. You, of course, don’t have to publish this note, but I imagine they probably will.

Officially yours,
J. Erin Stubbie

Stubbie’s email is the perfect example of why the Occupy Wall Street protests are doomed to fail. Despite all of the activity this weekend, the OWS movement hasn’t exactly reached a tipping point. Wall Street isn’t exactly running scared the same way Arab dictators were last spring.

And, sadly, maybe it has something to do with appearances. Protesters need to show up showered and clean-cut, wearing khakis, jeans and polos. They need to look like intelligent people other Americans can identify with or develop respect for. It’s the same tactic Martin Luther King, Jr. used. Everyone protesting with MLK dressed in their Sunday best. In other words, don’t show up to protest dressed like zombies. It’ll kill your credibility fast. It’s a weird observation, absolutely, but as long as the OWS look like entitled college kids who refuse to grow up, they will be treated like entitled college kids; they will never affect others to get involved, to take up the mantle, to march in lockstep and cause a necessary tipping point across the country to make these businesses scared.

The other salient point, alluded to in Stubbie’s email, is that the protests seem to lack a unified message and a unified front. Stubbie is down at Zuccotti Park participating in the protests and seems annoyed that a few people have taken charge as the spokespersons for the protests.

Stubbie seems angered there aren’t more people down there participating, yet the Radiohead hoax seems to undermine his/her own protesting efforts. If you can’t sum up what you’re protesting in a single phrase or sentence then your message is doomed to fall on deaf ears.

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