Even Bill Maher Has Turned on Occupy Wall Street

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The loudmouthed liberal comedian's critique of the movement is inaccurate, but it shows how attitudes about OWS are changing -- including on the left.


Says Bill Maher, once an Occupy Wall Street supporter:

Similar to Afghanistan, when you occupy anything for too long, people do get pissed off. And as I watch them on the news now, I find myself almost agreeing with Newt Gingrich. Like, you know what? Get a job. Only because the people who originally started, I think they went home, and now it's just these anarchist stragglers. And this is the problem when your movement involves sleeping over in the park. You wind up attracting the people who were sleeping over in the park anyway.

And I think that's where we're at now with the Occupy movement. They did a great job of bringing the issue of income inequality to the fore. But now it's just a bunch of douche bags who think throwing a chair through the Starbucks window is gonna bring on the revolution.
This isn't particularly accurate. As accounts of the movement's origins make clear, the original organizers of the protest were much more politically radical than the subsequent masses that flooded into the streets. And summing up their present activities as throwing chairs into Starbucks windows is misleading at best.

But Maher's comments are nevertheless of interest, if only because his perceptions and commentary on the protest movement are a sign of changing cultural attitudes about its current standing.
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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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