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Conservative Bloggers Mine Satirical ‘Occupy Toronto’ Essay For Real Quotes

Over the last week, bloggers, emailers, commenters, and posters have shared the words of a 38 year-old slacker Toronto resident named Jeremy, who took part in the Occupy Toronto protests:

“It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it’s time to go, they’re still there. I guess that’s why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That’s the power of greed.”

What they don’t realize is that the quote was one of many featured in a satirical piece by The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Mark Schatzker. 38 year-old Jeremy doesn’t exist. Neither do any of the other awesome characters Schatzker created, including:

  • 20 year-old Tracy, who couldn’t believe that, in just a week, the group achieved, “government-funded health care, a well-regulated banking system, and a cap on corporate political donations.” (Canada, of course, already offers all of this)
  • 23 year-old Alex, who used an ATM the day after protesting and, even though the message still came up saying he’d be charged a $1 fee, said it felt different. “You could tell the ATM felt embarrassed, that it knew it was just another pawn in this charade we call capitalism.”
  • 26 year-old Russell, who decided to use the human microphone in his everyday life, which didn’t go over too well with mom and dad at the dinner table. “At one point, [mom] says ‘pass the potatoes’ and I shout ‘pass the potatoes’ and then my dad just freaks out. He starts laying into me and then tells me I’m a pathetic loser.”

The article is funny on its own. But what brings it up to another level is that it’s been passed around and forwarded to the point where the satirical origin is lost, making “Jeremy” a symbol of OWS laziness and greed. The “I Am The 53%” Facebook page posted the quote on Saturday and set off a string of comments that eventually led to people debating if morbidly obese people should get disability. Chris Future from FreedomBunker.com tore into Jeremy in a two-and-a-half minute video, based on the quote that he saw on Google+. Harris Kupperman from AdventuresInCapitalism.com passed it off to his readers as an “actual quote.” And Rob Port of the Say Anything Blog tagged poor Jeremy under “a**hats,” saying that, “Nothing undermines their own positions and philosophies so thoroughly as what they actually do and say.”

Give Schatzker, author of the book, Steak, and frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, credit: he created a Swift-ian piece of satire and it has grown into a stellar hoax without any effort on his part. This isn’t as bad as some other “real” stories involving a made-up Jeremy, but it’s kind of funny in that he went as being ammunition for anti-Occupy protesters (as a joke mocking them and their complaints) to ammunition for pro-Occupy folks, showing just how shoddy the research of the angry anti-Jeremy crowd could be.

(Photo credit: Mike Wood)

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