One of my best friends in high school went through a (short) period of thinking of himself as a lady killer. Anyone who’s a friend of mine likes to talk – if they can’t keep up with me, I lose interest – but he suddenly went silent. When I asked him why, he said, ‘If I don’t say anything, they get curious about what I’m thinking.’ (I don’t have to tell you what he was thinking. 17-girls-17-girls…)
Since then, I’ve seen this game played to the point of madness. It’s a traditional guy thing: say nothing and let the woman make you whatever she wants you to be. She fills the silence with her own hopes – if she didn’t find you attractive, she wouldn’t be on the date anyway – and her hopes are always more compelling to her than anything you have to say.
I’ve also heard really brilliant women complain that they’ve let men project their hopes and dreams on them, out of a desire to please or because the men weren’t interested in any real living human being.
(You might love my writing or hate it but you’ve got to admit I’m the king of odd segues)
One of the unique things about this Movement is its silence, its enigmatic presence. No spokesperson, no set of demands, lots of individuals speaking their mind but no headline, no sound bite. Like all good revolutions, this one is succeeding by taking the conventional wisdom apart bit by bit, the famous death by a thousand cuts.
By not speaking, the Occupy movement is letting the rest of us fill in the blank. And, as the silence wears on, we’re finding more and more content for that void.
Corruption at every level. Indifference to injustice. Treading on the weak and dependent to bolster those who already have more than they could ever need. A public culture that not only lies, but doesn’t bother maintaining even a tenuous relationship to reality.
When we stare into the silence, we see the society we’ve made (or at least tolerated) – and are unnerved to find nothing there resembling us.