COMMENTARY | Rapper Jay-Z, proving there is nothing too rancid or distasteful that one cannot make money off of it, has started a line of Occupy Wall Street T-shirts. The "w" in "wall" is crossed out and an "s" is added to streets to make it "Occupy All Streets."
Officially the purpose of the line of Occupy Wall Street apparel is to raise awareness of something like that for the need for social change. Since none of the proceeds will be shared with Occupy Wall Street, the real purpose is to line Jay-Z's pockets.
In effect, the rapper has found a way to commit capitalism by capitalizing on an anti-capitalist movement. One can do naught but salute Jay-Z. He is making equal parts money and irony.
Mind, it is wonderful to see something positive to come out of a movement-if such can be used to describe a bunch of whiney lay-abouts who are laying around-that has hitherto generated crime, disease, and government mendacity. But Jay-Z would seem to have just scratched the surface in the marketing possibilities of Occupy Wall Street.
Music videos, books, movies, computer games, and a line of urban camping gear, complete with tent and latrine shovel, are other possibilities. The Occupy Wall Street movement itself could not possibly engage in this kind of activity. It is capitalism, after all, which is evil. But that does not prevent anyone else from getting into the act.
While city governments dither over to wait until the occupier camps generate enough disease and crime to devour their communities or rather to go full bore Roman on them, with lines of police equipped with plastic shields and batons, the rest of us can do our part to heap ridicule. Jay-Z seems to be doing that, albeit perhaps unintentionally, by making money off of the movement that is supposed to stop the making of money.
The prospect of the Occupy Wall Street movement burning itself out soon, as Charles Krauthammer suggests, means that the opportunity to make money off of them is somewhat limited. Soon the "I Occupied Wall Street and All I Got is this Lousy T-Shirt" will be marked down, half price, next to the Obama "Hope and Change" wear from 2008.