The Occupy Movement Has Been Fictionalized

And everybody’s in a hoodie. It’s a doozy. ICYMI this Monday’s CASTLE, “47 Seconds”, covers a bombing with fatalities at what is called a “Takeover” movement protest in Lower Manhattan.

Of course, the bombing recalls 9-11, with one of the early suspects being someone the show calls a “Middle Eastern man” carrying a suspicious bag. Lower Manhattan seems to have become a symbol for both trade and trauma in our collective memory.


After all, that’s what the 9-11 destruction of the World Trade Center was ultimately about. Most Americans felt this on 9-11, but as others have noted, the Twin Towers and the hegemonic capitalism it represented were a symbol of terrorism to many others before the attacks. This episode highlights and connects the meanings of trade and trauma through the apparatus of the Occupy movement.

The emphasis on Lower Manhattan here is made even more interesting to me since CASTLE is one of those shows set in Manhattan but very obviously not shot there. An Occupy movement could certainly be set in any place, but the Wall Street branch is its symbolic center. The narratological foundation of CASTLE requires an Occupy storyline in Manhattan. However, the anywhere-everywhere nature of the Occupy movement parallels the anywhere-everywhere potential for CASTLE’s production, even though the stroyline structure is sutured to Manhattan.

And now for the *****SPOILER ALERT*****

So who are the ultimate culprits? The movement and the media covering it. The desire for promotion and circulation proves too strong for one of the movement leaders and his college friend, a local TV news reporter. The leader wants more attention for the movement; the reporter wants more respect in her field. The greed for this visual capital is their undoing. Destruction through one’s own devices is not an unusual trope, but certainly avoids the culprits targeted by the actual movement (albeit, media monopolization being one).

Has anyone else noticed any fictionalizations of the Occupy movement yet? The next season of TREME will have some connections. I’ll be curious to see other treatments of the movement on film and television over the next few years.

POSTSCRIPT: Thanks to Twitter friends for updates of these shows with Occupy inclusions.


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