By Karen Garcia, Sunday, October 16, 2011
(Reprinted with permission)
Musings on politics and popular culture
OWS is not going away. (Aren’t you glad we can abbreviate it now, and everybody understands what it means? No more Occupy Wall Street, #OccupyWallStreet, We Are the 99% — just OWS. We have arrived!)
Now that the mainstream media can no longer ignore this worldwide uprising, the powers that be are running themselves ragged trying to find ways to diminish and demonize it. One of the chief spokesmen of the We Shall Overreact counterinsurgency is New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Himself a member of the elite Forbes Billionaires Club, Bloomberg’s main concern has been sanitation. Alas, there are no toilet facilities in Zuccotti Park. And nearby eateries are complaining the hippie campers are using their bathroom sinks to take showers — and worse! No Port-a-potties allowed in the park, either. So you can imagine how offended the sensibilities of Bloomberg must be, with the wastrels and their waste.
Bloomberg and friends have balked at providing toilet facilities or dumpsters at the site. The protesters undertook a mass cleaning on their own late last week in hopes of staving off a threatened eviction.
The New York Times broke the story about the bathroom crashers of OWS when the encampment was entering its third week. The paper of record still can’t seem to make up its mind whether to jump on the revolutionary bandwagon and celebrate the movement, or continue siding with the oligarchs over how stressed the whole thing is making them feel. Everybody is talking about the article yesterday that had a slew of anonymous Wall Streeters griping:
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.” He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
According to Bloomberg News (yeah, that ubiquitous Bloomberg again), Mr. Money Manager has a right to be outraged. In all likelihood, he makes about $1 million a year — about twice the salary of a brain surgeon or four times as much as a four-star general.
The bottom line is all the people in investment banking understand that they work harder and are under more stress,” said Jeanne Branthover, a managing director at Wall Street recruitment firm Boyden Global Executive Search. “Many don’t think they’re paid enough.”
But unlike the OWS’ers, the million dollar wunderkinds don’t have to worry about their next bathroom break. Again, from the New York Times (HT to Christina Vining) comes the story of a luxury toilet called the Numi. According to reporter Sam Grobar, who tried it out for a month in exchange for a free adreview:
The Numi features a touch-screen remote control. The Numi washes and dries its user. The Numi costs $6,400, or 81 times the price of the basic throne at Home Depot. Such extravagance may put the Numi within reach of only plutocrats and Pentagon purchasing managers. (Oh, goodie, now the general can achieve parity with the oligarch!) All the Numi controls are handled through a touch screen remote control that is somewhat larger than an iPodTouch. That remote controls flushing, cleaning, drying, music, heating and other settings and preferences; combinations of preferences can be stored in user profiles for different family members. When not in use, the remote docks in a magnetic charging cradle that can be mounted on the wall. There are backup buttons at the rear of the toilet just in case the remote is not working.
The only problems with this plutocrapper, according to Grobart, are that the lid pops up whenever you come near it, regardless of whether you have to go. And the music can be annoying. And the aesthetics leave a lot to be desired. Grobart compares the Numi to a giant Lego building block — see for yourself:
Karen Garcia is a prolific blogger and is a former newspaper reporter living in a small college town in upstate New York, and started her blog just to have a place to publish all of her rejected New York Times comments. She publishes regularly at Sardonicky, (Join her there, too)