They Hum at Night

When Children Roar

Via Dan, this is one of the funniest, most cringeworthy things I’ve seen this year. A six-day “occupation” of the NYU student centre food court today reached a gripping climax. Behold the magnificence of student activism

The footage does, I think, provide plausible justification for having these whiny, pretentious people publicly beaten with lengths of copper piping: “Excuse me, brutality here… We need to look at the situation, the hierarchy, the power relationship…” So here we have a group of over-indulged poseurs who expect to be taken seriously by mouthing every conceivable cliché and fatuous trope they’ve managed to internalise. Just like thousands of other terribly “edgy” students. Not only that, they feel entitled to disrupt the university and other students’ work while coercing others to do as they demand – and all at someone else’s expense. Is that “social justice”? It’s so hard to keep track of these things. Will Mr Lotorto and his merry band be offering to pay for the disruption and damage caused by their “occupation”? Or will they go on whining and rubbing their metaphorical nipples?

Update: See the comments.



Oh. My. Sweet. Lord.

"Excuse me, brutality here. You are on camera... Do not use brutality."

What a whining sack.


It’s the combination of grandiosity, presumption, pretentious victimhood and sheer whininess. Makes you want to hug him. Quite tightly.


With an axe.

carbon based lifeform

"We're using the democratic process here... I don't know if you understand that... We're using consensus here, and the way that works is that they come back here and report to us on what the disciplinary procedures are and we collectively decide ... we collectively decide... Okay... well we're here in this room and we're welcoming discussion and dialogue...We will not cooperate with you and we need to use a consensus process to move forward... You need to give us some time...this is directly democratic, OK? And you're making everyone very upset..."


Hose 'em. Hose 'em good.

Shawn Levasseur

Gotta love the fact that the guy who was told "you are on camera, do not use brutality," was armed with a camera too.

Brutality? Nah, exposure to ridicule will do the job just fine.


The cameraman/activist leader is presumably responsible for releasing the footage online, which suggests he’s quite proud of his performance. Which in turn suggests a remarkable capacity for delusion.

carbon based lifeform

Every line's a classic:

"Come together guys, we only have 10 minutes to decide. Seriously guys we need a consensus and we only have 10 minutes. We need consensus here! Now we have to decide if...Fred? Fred...Fred! Where are you going? Fine Fred, we'll decide without you..."


"They drink corporate water" :D


Couldn't we get the security guards from the 'Don't taze me, bro!' incident to handle this?



“They drink corporate water.”

Yes, “corporate water” is bad. Thankfully, the “corporate” laptops, cameras, etc used by the students are apparently kosher. It’s rather like the blather about “consensus” and being “non-hierarchical” while having pretty obvious leaders, including Mr Alex Lotorto, our heroic cameraman, who, naturally, wears a keffiyeh. And it’s rather like the students’ claims that they “do not intend any harm or damage to any living beings or to private property, and strongly criticise any will to do so,” while making threats, wielding bolt cutters and vandalising property. But never mind the generic, cartoonish hypocrisy of it all; imagine the rush of geopolitical self-importance.

Some background here:




“Couldn’t we get the security guards from the ‘Don’t taze me, bro!’ incident to handle this?”

I was hoping for lions.


Nuke it from Orbit, the only way to be sure.


I can't remember the earlier post you added it to but your comment, "Pass me the gun. No, the big one"
seems apt here too David.


"You may not come in here. This is student's free space"

Epic fail. Bwahhuhuhhah!!!



“I can’t remember the earlier post…”

This one, perhaps?


Yes, I see there’s a theme.



Brian H

Tossers: 0. Hegemon: 1.

wayne fontes

Let's see, they don't want NYU to out source services (net savings)but do want the school to foot the bill for 13 Palestinian students (net expense). The tuition at NYU currently stands at $50,000 including room and board. How did they expect to fund 13 scholarships? I guess were just going to have to wait for them to work through the democratic, non-hierarchical process to reach a consensus to find out.



Surely the practicality of the demands is irrelevant? It’s theatre and moral masturbation. Arguably, the less plausible the demands are, the better. The Gawker piece linked above notes that the very first demand – and therefore, presumably, the most vital one – is “full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation.” I mean, who do we think this pantomime is about?


That is the funniest goddam thing I've seen in a while. Thqat dude sounds like the hippie teacher from "Beavis and Butthead." Put a little bass in that voice, Pardner.

wayne fontes

The head Chief Consensus Builder wrote an Op-Ed last year.


Nobody needs to click the link and read it. Your initial guess was correct.


Hilarious link though Wayne. In the first paragraph, there's mixed metaphor, illogical argument, oxymorons, and just general incoherence. And it reeks of pretense, and arrogance.
"At colleges speckled all over our country, young minds are awakening to a startling reality that our parents, or at least their generation, were right, and better off for it. We, on the other hand, are not better off because we did not follow their path of resistance. From the impending financial crisis, to indentured servitude by student debt, to the old men’s War on Terror fought by teens and 20-somethings, to an overwhelming, propagandized society at war for our hearts and minds, we are a generation with subcultures that have ceased to steward social change."
Hell, it's almost all there in the first *paragraph*. These are not smart kids we're dealing with here.


Er, sorry, I didn't mean to type this:

"Hell, it's almost all there in the first *paragraph*."

I meant:

"Hell, it's almost all there in the first *sentence*."

Maybe I'm just exorcising the inner student activist.

James S

They also wanted to reinstate a ban on Coca-Cola products. Truth to power!


Isn’t it likely that the vandalism and prolonged disruption to classes will cost the university, which may then have to pass on that cost to other, non-disruptive students? Is that “social justice”? Who will be paying for this ever-so-daring “occupation” and clearing up afterwards? Will it be the fearless Mr Lotorto, who can be seen below?



Or is he, like his comrades, expecting a “full legal and disciplinary amnesty”?

James S

But he's so busy fighting imperialism, hierarchy and corporate water.


No, he's fighting for Purity of Essence


This does much to reconcile one to the thought of police brutality.


James S,

"They also wanted to reinstate a ban on Coca-Cola products. Truth to power!"

Wait. What? *RE*-instate!? So they banned evil sugar water before? Is that what they mean by "corporate water"?


Over at the Guardian, Priyamvada Gopal – a delusional* lecturer in “postcolonial studies” - champions the protestors filmed above. Amid the usual blather about “ruthless corporatisation” and “endless war,” she tells her readers that the protest in New York wasn’t “juvenile anti-establishmentarianism” and that it was met with “disproportionately authoritarian responses.” This is, to say the least, a strange construal of events. This “authoritarianism,” she claims, reflects the “asymmetrical exercise of power that marks the Gaza situation itself.” Gosh. (And presumably authoritarianism doesn’t count when it’s enacted by pretentious students who assault police officers, seize and damage property and prevent others working, supposedly to advance some cause Ms Gopal finds congenial.)


She also tells us that, “There is unmistakably something in the campus air, an antidote to the solipsism and self-regarding, rather than apathetic, student mode of recent decades.” Again, this is an odd interpretation of the events and attitudes filmed above, which, if anything, suggest gestural tosspottery and self-regard as artform. Like the idiots in the clip above, Ms Gopal believes the university should be a place of “social engagement” and political “agitation,” rather than a place of, say, acquiring knowledge and becoming skilled in thinking. The mismatch between the two, at least as conceived by Mr Lotorto and Ms Gopal, should be fairly obvious. As one of her readers points out, “This wasn’t about Gaza. This was about a bunch of spoiled rich kids who wanted to wear bandannas on their faces and play revolution.”

* http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/06/apostates.html
* http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/06/salman_rushdie_.html

John D

That's hilarious. Total wankers.

"That's a demand… you're making demands… we need to use a consensus process to go forward… You're making everyone very upset."

Spiny Norman

These pathetic over-indulged children are beyond parody... or, actually, they already have been:

Ah! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help! I'm being repressed!


John & Spiny,

Yes, it’s odd how these pricks feel entitled to make *their* unilateral demands and shut down lessons for days with little regard for staff and other students. That’s all, like, cool, man. But when faced with the disciplinary procedures that inevitably follow such acts, suddenly they want “discussion” and “consensus” to negotiate their immunity from punishment. Suddenly – conveniently - they see themselves as the victims of their own drama and everyone else as being unreasonable. They shift effortlessly from “we are totally righteous because we’re fighting the power” to “we are totally righteous because we’re being oppressed.”

That’s not just an error of perception; it’s psychodrama and pathology.


Spirits were good on days one and two of the occupation, but by day three, tensions had developed between Camboy, who wanted to raid the pastrami bar for leftover slices of meat, and Dredgirl, who was an enlightened vegan, and thought that the lentil bar was more the go. Pretty soon they had split into sub-factions of the sub-faction and ended up occupying separate sections of the canteen. But they all joined together in those heady last few moments of the sixth day.

Spiny Norman

Iowahawk, in his own inimitable way, predicts the near future for these wannabe-revolutionaries:

Dow Soars on NYU White House Takeover

wayne fontes

Mr Lotoro tries to stretch his five minutes of fame out a little farther.



It’s a stretch too far, methinks. Especially his apparent belief that “the Holocaust could have been stopped by divestment from the companies that profited from it.” At which point further comment seems unnecessary.

James S

Looks like their "amnesty" was granted.

"None of the Kimmel 18 will face ongoing suspensions or expulsion. The only long term punishment is probation for the rest of the year, during which time they cannot take leadership positions in campus activities… They are each slated to return to housing on Friday and class on Monday without further punishment... In the long run, this may hurt TBNYU!’s drive. When your university blows you off and doesn’t provide any kind of punishment for what has been declared an $80,000 event, it doesn’t provide a strong foil for your own group’s radicalism. Now, if they had expelled all of the 18 students (as our readers overwhelmingly supported), the majority of the campus would have surely been up in arms over the punishment. However, this decision on the part of the administration means that the event has blown over as quickly as it appeared."


carbon based lifeform

"The only long term punishment is probation for the rest of the year, during which time they cannot take leadership positions in campus activities…"

But dude, it's a non-hierarchical co-operative. They don't believe in leaders because they don't play by the rules.


Nor, it seems, do they believe in paying for the $80,000 of damage and disruption they’ve caused. That’s what taxpayers are for.

Horace Dunn

"That’s what taxpayers are for"

The taxpayer will also probably support them throughout their careers. These are not the kind of people who go on to do something constructive and useful with their lives. It'll be the public sector for them, and I don't imagine that many of them will be renewing infrastructure, or collecting dustbins. And as they collect their generous paychecks, I don't suppose they'll spare a thought for the poor schmucks who work for the evil commercial concerns that generate the surplus that enables the government to collect so much tax.


And the consensus is: they are idiots.


Mr Lotorto briefly makes an appearance in the comments linked below. It’s a chaotic tangle of personal issues and self-justification, and the premise of the protest seems to shift once again, but it does include two statements that may amuse:

“I put my body on the line for changes I want to see in the world.”

“I am non-violent for now, but my rage is infinite.”


It’s slightly pleasing that the other commenters, many of whom are students, aren’t terribly impressed.


"Who is the hierarchy here?"


Steve in San Diego

Maybe it's already been noted, but the whiny narrator and several others are not NYU students. They face no risk of expulsion from NYU because they don't attend there.


Four words - white guys with dreadlocks.

James S

Looks like the police did some clubbing…




Yes, but it hardly looks inexplicable or unprovoked, does it? Unless “activists” now imagine they can surge at police barriers and kick at police officers with impunity. I wouldn’t presume that - would you? And imagine you’re one of those officers and your job is to hold that line, whilst being kicked at. Or imagine that’s your home behind the line. In that situation, I’d have already used industrial-strength Mace on the nearest two dozen trouble-seekers. And that is what they are.

Given how the situation was allowed to escalate to the point of deliberate and threatening provocation, some retaliatory violence seems unavoidable. I suspect at least some of those involved will have known this and sought it out, hoping to capture it on film and thus display their credibility. And again, I wonder why the incident above is considered “disproportionate” and “authoritarian” while the actions of the protestors which made that moment happen - and their subsequent actions, including mass disruption and the seizure and damage of property – are not. Or are some among us so unassailably righteous they can break the law and assault others as and when it suits?

James S

"Unless “activists” now imagine they can surge at police barriers and kick at police officers with impunity. I wouldn’t presume that - would you?"

Totally agree. They got a taste of what they'd been asking for.

wayne fontes

It has become an integral part of the protesters play book to seek provoke a violent response from the police hoping to create a martyr. In both of the videos concerning the NYU protest expletives are hurled at the cops. In the second one the cops at the barricade had good reason to fear for their own physical safety and nothing short of a using some force would have stopped the protesters from over running the barricade.

I think the reason protesters seek to create martyrs is they know their demands have little appeal to the public at large. Unless they can gin up some outrage they have little chance of persuading the public.

This video story by Zombie shows how the game is played.



And yet the protestors, whose actions set violence in motion, have the temerity to shout “for shame”. The capacity for inversion is remarkable, and rather vile.

Alan Kellogg

What a maroon.

I must say the police in this situation showed remarkable patience.

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