One of the main points I extracted from the Boal reading is the importance of communication and how varied that from of communication could be. I feel that one of the big issues with American society that is occasionally emerging in the Occupy Wall Street movement is the extreme separation between ‘the people’ and the authority, but specifically police officers. Within an abundance of progressive societal movements and protests lies a face value hatred for the police, however what is not taken into account is that the rights and privileges the protestors are fighting for, the ability to provide support for the families of those speaking out, are the same goals of the officers. When an officer is out regulating a protest before it gets out of hand, the officer is performing their job and their duties in order to make a living and provide for their families. These are real people with real emotions, frustrations, and complications, very similar to the prison guards performing in the Theater of the Oppressed.
The distinction between American society and a culture that breeds a performance such as the Theater of the Oppressed is that the communication embodying the similarities between the protestor and the police officer do not exist. However, the Occupy Wall Street movement is showing some signs of this cultivation of thought. In a few occurrences, police officers at specific protests are joining the protestors and abandoning their authoritative responsibilities, relaying the message that they, in addition to the protesters of the movement, are the oppressed 99%. That while they serve as the tangible face of civil authority, they do not reap the benefits of the 1% and, instead, receive all the anger from the 99% directed at the higher authority. I believe the American public could benefit greatly from this humanizing form of communication and can aid in understanding where and at whom to cast blame for economic instability.
Demand over discourse = Eternal Struggle
Rationale: When commands and demands are placed down on a group of individuals instead of a more productive discourse or conversation, the result will yield an unending struggle for all parties involved.
After Thursday’s class on symbols and ritual, specifically the question “can symbols silence?”, I started doing some further research on Wal-Mart. We all remember the symbol of the large yellow smilie face, bouncing around the store slashing prices and bringing a smile to the faces of both the employees and the consumers, making sure those price cuts just “keep rollin”. The smile symbol seems to be expressing the joy and pleasure both the customers and employees feel while shopping or working at one of the 8,000+ locations around the globe. In a sense, this symbol was acting in a silencing manor by inadvertently speaking on behalf of their consumers.
The Wal-mart symbol is significant to me because it embodies the idea of consumer culture. Even now, with their new yellow “spark” logo, the aesthetic that Wal-mart provides a breeding ground for attention to quantity over quality and inequality over equality. It embodies the idea of society performing as selfless consumers. Each year we see numerous lawsuits and news stories relating to Wal-mart and sexual harassment, subpar salaries, and violation of child labor laws (and these are only the stories large enough to make the news.) The symbol is powerful enough to choose which aspects of the company to make visible (price cuts and store abundance) yet it can also choose what aspects should remain invisible (child labor law violations, etc.) Luckily the horrific elements of the business have started to be revealed to the public over the past years, however even with a large amount of the public becoming aware of the numerous immoral and unjust decisions made by the company, Wal-mart continues to grow and prosper with each new year.
Does saving money at the expense of violating another’s human rights really constitute living better?