MONDAY, OCTOBER 17: It is 12:30 AM on the dot. The live video feed from Zuccotti Park has just frozen, as it does from time to time. At last there is silence in my apartment, and I can begin to write.
I keep the video window open despite the interruption, but some apparently do not: The odometer at the bottom of the frame, measuring the number of real-time viewers, cascades downward, spinning like a dying slot machine. Livestream viewers are an impatient bunch, it seems. When the plummet slows, though, it turns out that only a hundred or so have left, of over a thousand people. The rest of us would rather watch a blank screen, waiting for the stream to return, than give up hope.
An hour ago, restless and browsing Twitter, I learned that the protesters had just won a minor skirmish with the police. Some cops had come to take down the medical tent. Everybody linked arms and formed a human chain around the tent. Jesse Jackson magically appeared. The cops left.
I tune in to the livestream in time to see a guy reenacting the confrontation with funny voices and hand puppets, his hands pursing into Muppet-like visages. "You can't have any structures here!" one hand squeaks. "Fuck you, this is our park and our medical tent!" the other retorts.
Has anybody else seen these amazing puppets? I search Twitter and get into a conversation with somebody who goes by Weeddude. Weeddude thinks the livestream is too unprofessional. Weeddude objects to the hand puppets.
I happen to believe that hand puppets are the key to the coming revolution. Scratch that — the present revolution.
Watching the livestream inclines one to make such sweeping statements.
The livestream is addictive. "Nothing ever happens," says my friend who has been too sick to make it down to the park but has been watching the stream for days on end. "But somethingmight happen, so you have to keep watching just in case." It's the anti-Tivo: On it, time runs only forward, and if you miss seeing an event — a confrontation with police, a meeting, a concert — it's hard to go back to it. Although many segments are saved, and the most recent ones are easily available on the site, they're titled only with a date and time, nothing descriptive or searchable, and in most of the segments nothing happens anyway. (If there were titles, they would be things like "People mill about on a brisk morning" and "Man with cigarette frowns at a computer.") The archived segments are there, but we're not encouraged to watch them.