Thursday, February 16, 2012

Occupy the Hamptons Doesn't Occupy Common Sense

That grim looking fella to the left of this photo is right. We are the 99%. Especially us here at Hamptonyte Blog. We have all the requisite 99% problems: unemployment, disenfranchisement, disgust with corruption, irritation at the continued illusion we call the American Dream. Hell, we practically started this blog along similar sentiments.

We can't be so cynical as to criticize a small group of protesters holding up signs in a community that is veritably empty during the winter months, and sure to have them lined against a wall and executed arrested during the summer. Despite the usual Hamptons media eye-rolling these protests often create, we're pretty much on their side. We sort of admire the fact that reminders of the greed and corruption that plague our Republic will not be escaped when these creeps from Wall St. head out here on Memorial Day. For that we thank this small band of flies buzzing into the luxury ointment.

But we can't get on board their recent decision to occupy HarborFrost. It just doesn't make any sense. Simply pulling into the 7-11 parking lot, where a lot of the HarborFrost attendees parked, it was visibly evident by the lack of BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis, that many of us jumping into the frigid water were in the 99% and are most likely attending to take our minds off the struggle we endure daily.

I recognize there will always be some degree of shouting at the choir, but the last thing anybody wants to see at a festival, is a group of sober-faced grouches standing there with signs, reminding us how fucked we are change needs to take place in our capitalist system.

The occupy movement needs just a tad bit of PR in this spot. They already have policed themselves when it comes to individual members' behavior. Here's another instance where they should do so. Nothing makes the average person, liberal or otherwise, more turned off to a movement than when the movement doesn't know where or when to land its blows. The perception many walked away with during HarborFrost is that a bunch of sign-wielding, friendless shut-ins, with nothing better to do on a Saturday, attempted to hijack a fun event by drawing attention to themselves. The operative word "themselves." Not the movement. Or the message. Such is the importance of PR in this circumstance. The protest had absolutely no relevance to the festival, except for the fact that hundreds would be gathered in one spot. From a PR perspective, this screams the protestors want attention, more than they want to inform the public of an injustice. Now, if the festival was paid for and sponsored by Goldman Sachs or Lehman Bros., and the soup being served was made from the ground up bones of unemployed Americans who went into default on their mortgages, that would be a different story.

I'm often reminded of a great line in Oliver Stone's Jim Morrison biopic The Doors. The entire movie script is pretty much Jim Morrison wandering around being profound and prophetic, and waxing philosophical over every little thing. But there is one little line, when Morrison has just recorded one of his uber-intellectual, drippy, philosophical poems. He stands up from his session and says: "C'mon let's get some tacos."

Note to Occupy the Hamptons: Sometimes even Jim Morrison knew when to give it a rest!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HarborFrost 2012: We did it wrong

In the spirit of reducing our snark by at least 20% I decided to participate in HarborFrost 2012, held last Saturday in Sag Harbor. For the uninitiated, Sag Harbor, though considered the "Hamptons, has managed to blend its Hamptons Bourgie-ness with its shipping and whaling roots--so much so that it's my favorite section of the east end.

Sure, I can still get a cup of coffee for under a buck, but I can also sit on a bench and check out hot rich girls that would never give me the time of day. It's a perfect storm of literary romance, hard drinking, and women that make you dream of one day hitting it big.

HarborFrost is in its second year in Sag Harbor, and actually a great idea for generating revenue and adding some color to the long, gray winter. Restaurants get a chance to test their food before the big season swings around, artists and musicians get to fine-tune their acts and showcase their work at ease, and the kids are happy to take part in anything that will distract them from killing themselves because there's nothing else to do on the east end in the winter.

There was a whole itinerary of things to do and see at HarborFrost, but naturally I missed all of them, except the afternoon highlight: The Frosty Plunge. It was on my bucket list anyway, so I figured why not: I love Sag Harbor, I'll get there early, check out the sights, grab a cup of joe, and then head down to the Long Wharf, strip off my clothes and jump into a broiling sea of ice water.

I had some company: three nephews, age 21, 19, and 10, and my niece, age 11. We got there just in the nick of time--3:30 p.m.-- sort of missed the countdown bullhorn and dove into the water, sans coffee, sans sightseeing, sans food-sampling, and sans warmth. Also sans soup, because by the time we got dressed at the dock, the complimentary soup had all been doled out to the Occupy the Hamptons people. (More on them in another blog).

Now freezing cold and shivering, we all agreed to hop back in our cars and head home. So, all told, I was at HarborFrost for roughly...mmm...25 minutes. I heard there were fireworks later that night. Would have been nice to see that. Yeah, HarborFrost 2012. We did it wrong.