In her 1966 book Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas famously explains dirt as “matter out of place.” Dirt does not index an objective category of pathogens or pollutants she suggests, but rather the designation of “dirt” indexes a contravention to a social order, and by extension, its boundaries.
“Mic check!” The shouted exclamation punctuates the days at Occupy Wall Street (OWS). A lone voice yells it from somewhere in the crowd, soliciting the hoped-for response, “mic check!” yelled back by all within earshot of the initial call. Often the response is weak the first time around. Maybe the caller is surrounded by people new to the movement, who aren’t yet familiar with the rituals, or don’t yet feel comfortable making them their own; maybe the voices around her are tired, from so many days and weeks of the people’s microphone. But with a second, often more insistent call, “mic check!” the surrounding voices rise in response, “mic check!”
Occupy Wall Street’s numbers have swelled to thousands here in New York City, not to mention the Occupy Together Movement across the country. At the October 10th General Assembly meeting–held every evening at 7pm–the kitchen announced that it serves 2000 people free food every day. The Occupied Wall Street Journal is in its second edition, with the first also translated into Spanish.