OWS, as it has come to be known, by contrast gives the impression of being constituted by entirely rational people, mostly young but afforced during daylight hours by writers, academics, curious bystanders and members of the Class of ’68 eager to show solidarity with their grandchildren.
I once had a landlord who was an arch Republican with signed pictures of various Republican figures (George W. Bush, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan) on his walls. He was also an avid dowser, past-life regresser, and astral projector. He cured the neighbor’s apple tree of a worm infestation, found people’s lost objects over the phone, and attempted to heal my terror of snakes through a visualization technique that involved repetition and tapping on my sternum (the last one didn’t work and can’t speak to the second, but there weren’t worms in the apples when I lived there). He was an aficionado of conspiracy theories, a veritable archivist. I have never had so much fun talking to anyone with whom I disagreed so much. He was a truly marvelous person. But every time I try to describe the man to someone, the story is met with wonderment that a person could be both a conservative and a new age mage. Some sort of inauthenticity is implied in the discomfort. Yet why should it be so? What is our anxiety about dissonance? What is the landlord out of tune with but our own conceptions of harmony?