Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Danger Mouse Lives!

{Me in the wrinkly Danger Mouse t-shirt facing the unknown}

I hope you're wearing your best poop kicking boots because we're really stepping in it today.
Yesterday, one of the locals overheard me mention I'm a journalist. (That's my way of not having to explain, "I have a lifestyle blog where I report on stuff while trying to be funny and people humour me by leaving nice comments. And someday, I hope to actually make some money doing it. Journalling that is. Not, doing it. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter." See how much easier it is to just say "I'm a journalist?")  And all of a sudden, this woman who'd overheard my comment leapt on me like a child on a piece of dropped candy.

Apparently, this whole Occupy movement that started in America has spread to even my far flung small corner of the world. At the top of this woman's wishlist was for someone to go down and report something truthful instead of just making up something fun to read like this

Ladies and Gentlemen, I decided to accept this woman's challenge. I know. Shocking right? I never really like finding something serious for me to sink my teeth into. Light and fluffy is just so much more fun. 

Night falls early here this time of year, I've got a lot to lose, and there have been some shocking displays of violence by authorities at times. I threw caution to the wind and wore what I have on good authority from Lindsay was the perfect secret spy reporter outfit: my best Danger Mouse t-shirt, a fleece hoodie, and black trackies.   

After a good amount of aimless driving and stumbling around in the dark I found them! Using my best spy moves and my trusty camera, I approached with the highest powers of stealthiness I could muster. 

{if you look closely you can see a small cluster of supporters gathering together behind the sign}

It turns out, they're a camera shy species so that image is the last you will see of any actual people. I blame the sign. Someone driving by was taken with the spirit and honked their support. The group turned to express their appreciation of the honking supporter with a spirited "Oooooiiii!" and a hearty set of waves. Let me be honest here. Being in stealth mode and all, that honk just about literally scared the pee out of me. The next thing I heard was "Hey! People. And one has a camera!" Damn it!

I was instructed to go speak to the people in the big tent to see if it was OK that me and my camera could do our thing. 

When we entered the tent, the energy was high and there were spirited debates going on about various political and financial happenings. The biggest energy seemed to come from two topics in particular. 

{an article labelling the supporters as Anti-Capitalists}

The above article (and let's just agree now to use the term "article" loosely here. It will save time and headaches for us all,) starts off by using the term "Anti-Capitalist" to describe the protesters. While English is my native language, it's not British English. It can be tough sitting in a group of a dozen or so British people, trying to decipher what each person is saying because a lot of it ends up sounding like unintelligible jibber to me. Despite my linguistic limitations even I could discern the protesters don't consider themselves Anti-Capitalists. Weirdly, I can't see a reporter's name associated with the article but whoever wrote it should be at least a little embarrassed. In the second paragraph they described a "march" by the protesters. According to the supporters there was no march, they were simply setting up the camp-site. Perhaps these are small things but they're misleading and it seems to bug the protesters. 

The second hot topic was an eviction notice handed to them to vacate the premises by Friday. The protesters claim to have two separate recordings where they got permission to camp for an undesignated length of time. After talking with several of the occupiers I can honestly say, while I don't agree with everything each and every one of them believe, that I like the idea of living in a place where people have the right to peacefully protest. That was something I believed was possible in democratic countries. I find it bizarre that in two of the most established democratic countries in the world governments are taking measures to evict and dismantle these types of sites. 

Let's just take a minute to squash some of the stupidity that's being reported and aim for some reporting that's hopefully more accurate. 
  • Jobless losers who want free handouts. I keep hearing this term used to describe many of the protesters no matter where they are in the world. Of the people I spoke with last night all of them had jobs with one exception and that person was a full time student. None of them seemed interested in free hand outs. Maybe there are participants I didn't meet that do fit that description. I certainly can't claim to have met each and every supporter. This particular group hasn't collected donations to help fund their needs. They're all reaching into their own pockets for the moment. Let's recap. Of the dozen I met 99% had jobs and the only handouts going on were from their own bank accounts to support their cause.
  • Soap dodgers. I have a fairly sensitive nose and an easily tripped gag reflex. I can say without a doubt these people are fairly hygienic and are on friendly terms with soap. I didn't get even a hint of B.O. from one of them. 
  • I'm not a part of the 99%. It's basic math. If you are not a holder of copious amounts of money that you roll around in, use as a mattress to sleep on, or bathe in, chances are you are by default a part of the 99%. Being a part of the 99% does not mean that you agree with the protesters. A basic math equation does not equate a political view point. 
While I didn't find that the occupiers of Bournemouth had a very concise message that they all agree on, I enjoyed getting to speak with them. Hopefully, if someday I am moved to the point that I am compelled to protest something I will be allowed to. For instance, I could easily see myself protesting a law that made fashion, beauty products and foods with sugar in them, illegal.

How much have you looked into this movement that's spreading around the world? Does it completely put you to sleep or does it light a fire in your gut? Do the occupy protests make you sick or give you hope for a better tomorrow? Share your thoughts! And, if you have any questions you'd like me to risk life and limb to ask them, let me know and I'll do my best to get them answered. 

Yours Truly,
Rachel (a.k.a your local Danger Mouse)


  1. Wow, Rachel, I'm quite proud that you went out there and did some real investigating. I think this is your best piece yet. I can't quite honestly say that I've followed the #Occupy movement that closely. BTW, nice shirt. Danger Mouse is awesome. One of my favorite cartoons as a kid.

  2. 1. People that make up things are dumb, period. 2. Why do people that have alternative views always have to have a reputation of being dirty? I never got that. 3. I'm so proud that you went out in your Danger Mouse shirt to get justice! Well...something like that.

  3. I bequeath upon you a gold star for having fabulous cartoon taste. And "as a kid"? Let's be honest. As soon as your kid is even slightly interested in watching cartoons, you'll be sitting right next to them and watching Danger Mouse again. ;)

  4. Next time, you'll have to fly over and join me. We can carry lipstick walkie-talkie's and get our Bond Girl routine on.

  5. Well done, Lois Lane!:p lol You should try to sell your stories to a newspaper, news websites or something like that!;) from now on I'm also gonna introduce myself as a journalist. A freelance fashion journalist! Sounds good!
    I don't believe in protesting! I just don't! I don't see how it helps to solve anything. Specially cause protesters don't usually (note I said usually and not never) present any solutions. I like to take action! I am involved in politics and that's how I speak my mind, not only criticizing but also showing alternatives! The good thing about protests and demonstrations is that it shows that people actually care about what happens to them.

  6. Rachel, I owe you a Portuguese recipe and since I'm having a nice and easy Portuguese dish for dinner I decided to share it with you. It's called "a├žorda" and even though it's better with Portuguese bread it works with other breads. Here it is:

    Ingredients for 2 people:
    400g of hard bread (none of that sliced sandwich bread. some real bread)
    olive oil
    4 garlic cloves

    So you put some olive oil with the garlic in a pan and then put the pieces of bread in the pan. Join water and smash the bread as you go. Put salt and coriander (as much as you wish) and keep stirring. Then when it looks like oatmeal(not too dry not too watery) join the whisked egg and mix it all together. This whole process takes about 5 min.

    You eat it with fried fish on the side or prawns.

    It's cheap, easy and delicious (it may look kinda weird but it tastes great)! Hope you enjoy it!;)

  7. That's just exciting to try! I'm using my prawns and fish in an attempt to recreate one of my childhood Cajun favourites from childhood tonight but next store run, I'm making this! Thanks for thinking of me!

  8. Why thank you Miss Diana! I wish there was a clearer message coming out of all these protests. I'm fairly sure most people would say they are against corruption in banking systems and governments. That seems to be the biggest consistent message I'm hearing from all the groups. Just saying that doesn't seem enough to me. As you rightly pointed out, a solution needs to be offered.

  9. Good for you for accepting the challenge! You're such an adventurer :)

  10. Anytime! Actually, I need to change the recipe a bit. Yesterday my boyfriend heated the water first and then the olive oil and the garlic. But I think it works both ways. Enjoy!;)

  11. Oddly, the Occupy folks and the tea partiers seem pretty similar. Neither have a "leader" or a consistent message, but both are backed by frustrated people who are angry with how things in the world are going, and feel like this is the only way to express their voice...