NYPD Destroys #OccupyWallSreet Library

No, I'm not being facetious or hyperbolic. In their effort to "clean up" (Newspeak for "evict and intimidate") the Zuccotti Park OWS crowd last night, the police tossed over 5,000 books into dump trucks. Those books were private donations by people who happened to give a shit about educating their fellow men and women in the ways of the world. Thanks to what amounts to police state politics they are gone, and they are not coming back. If I had to assume a cost of the lost items I'd make it somewhere in the twenty-five to thirty thousand dollar range. I don't know about you, but for us that several semesters worth of book budgeting.

From Media Bistro:

The Occupy Wall Street librarians have been tweeting the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”

From the NY Times:

The operation in and around Zuccotti Park was intended to empty the birthplace of a protest movement that has inspired hundreds of tent cities from coast to coast. On Monday in Oakland, Calif., hundreds of police officers raided the main encampment there, arresting 33 people. Protesters returned later in the day. But the Oakland police said no one would be allowed to sleep there anymore, and promised to clear a second camp nearby.

And, since a picture is worth a thousand words, from Animal New York:

Occupy Wall Street Getting Raided by NYPD

The one bright spot in all this mishegos is the fact that the courts are fimly on the side of the occupiers, at least when it comes to illegal random seizures of their belongings and space. Bloomberg is trying to nullify that, too.

So bite me, Mike Bloomberg. Bite me hard.



Audrey Cohen, NBC, and the NYPD

 So the archivist at NBC is calling the cops on Lou, our director.

We have a VHS tape in the Audrey Cohen archive, a gifted video recording from over thirty years ago of Gabe Pressman interviewing her for NBC . We don't however have the necessary equipment or training to convert the material to DVD. Lou called the archivist at NBC to see whether they'd be able to transfer the video onto a DVD for us once we sent the tape to them.

I wasn't there for the conversation but Lou found it fascinating that the gentleman was apparently willing to call the cops to get that tape back. (This is the tape we were planning on sending them anyway.) I don't know what's going to happen next (hint: nothing!) but we agreed that the threat was a bit over the top, given the circumstances.

Personally, I wonder where that sort of reaction likely comes from. Anyone can have a bad day, and it might be the gentleman at NBC's turn. He might have gotten home last night to find the locks on the doors changed and his belongings strewn across the lawn. He might have opened a seemingly innocuous letter to find that his neighbors are suing him. NBC might have passed him over for a raise again or cut his department's budget for the third time this year. He might have opened his bag lunch–the same bag lunch he's been packing and eating every workday for the past 38 years (a tuna fish sandwich with lettuce and mayonnaise on wheat bread, with a baggie of baby carrots and a box of Welch's Grape Drink) to find that someone, perhaps his wife who meant well but just won't stop touching his stuff, had sent him to work with a roast beef sandwich on rye bread with mustard and Russian dressing instead, which completely threw him off his game because while he's okay with roast beef even through he likes tuna fish more, he hates Russian dressing, and who puts both Russian dressing and mustard on the same side of the same sandwich anyway? It's ruined! He can't even scrape the dressing off the meat because it slipped and slid around in the bag and now it's over everything. Lunch is effectively over for him and he's stuck in a little world of despair because the carrots and the juice box just won't fill him up the way the tuna fish sandwich would have, and now everything sucks!

And now the phone rings and he screams "Hello?" into the receiver and it's this person from MCNY who says he's the director and then says that he has NBC's property. What the hell did he think he was doing? The nerve! He's been hanging on to stolen property of NBC for 31 years? Is he insane? No, you can't have a copy made of the interview, sir, no, damnit, either send it back to NBC today or he's calling the cops.

The aggrieved archivist slams down the phone, picks it up again, dials 911 and then . . . nothing. The NYPD doesn't really do that. They didn't do that when the department was flush and they are far from flush now.

In fairness, there are copyright issues and permissi0ns involved. Also to be remembered is that both the interviewer and the interviewed subject are deceased. I don't think that Gabe Pressman would actually care that the tape he filmed is in our hands, although I allow that Gene Shalit, for example, might care had it been him.

In either case, it's interesting to imagine just what a scene from that alternate future would be . . .

A siren blasts down Canal Street and winds down and a police car screeches to a halt. Minutes later, a pair of giant NYPD cops barge through the doors of the MCNY library, guns drawn, one of them, the older one with a Sergeant's stripes on his sleeve and the voice of every Irish cop who ever walked a beat in any American city screams:

"All right, Director, where's that Audrey Cohen interview? Where are ye hidin' it?"

“It’s not in this cabinet!”

 “Ho-HO, it’s hiding in the cabinet, eh?”

 “Look, if that interview with Audrey Cohen was in this cabinet, would I turn on the gas?”

The cop stands his ground. “Hmm. You might, Director, you might . . .”

“Yeah? Well, if that interview with Audrey was in here, would I throw a lit match into it?”

Lou does. The cabinet explodes with a loud *BOOM* and a flash of light, but the weight of the director's body on top of it keeps the explosion localized.

The cops nods, and they holster their weapons. “All right, Director, you’ve convinced me. I’ll go look for that tape of Audrey in the Bronx . . .”

And like that.

I, for one, would pay real money to see that.

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