Occupy Wall Street

Underemployed Puppeteer Joins Occupy Wall Street


These puppets are part of the 69%

The Nation continues to impress with its coverage of Occupy Wall Street in telling the hard-knock story of puppeteer Joe Therrien

A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren't exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city's school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe's old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn't afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he's working at his old school as a full-time "substitute"; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. "But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position," he says, "so I'm working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don't have health insurance…. It's the best-paying job I could find." 

Scenes from Occupy Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

Therrien is a regular at Occupy Wall Street, and helped launch the group's Puppet Guild (no dues required, as of yet): 

At one of Arts and Culture's meetings—held adjacent to 60 Wall Street, at a quieter public-private indoor park that's also the atrium of Deutsche Bank—it dawned on Joe: "I have to build as many giant puppets as I can to help this thing out—people love puppets!" And so Occupy Wall Street's Puppet Guild, one of about a dozen guilds under the Arts and Culture working group, was born. In the spirit of OWS, Joe works in loose and rolling collaboration with others who share his passion for puppetry or whose projects somehow momentarily coincide with his mission. With the help of a handful of people, he built the twelve-foot Statue of Liberty puppet that had young and old alike flocking to him on October 8 in Washington Square Park. Right now, he's working with nearly thirty artists to stage Occupy Halloween, when his newest creations, a twelve-foot Wall Street bull and a forty-foot Occupied Brooklyn Bridge inspired by Chinese paper dragons—along with a troupe of dancers playing corporate vampires—will inject a little bit of countercultural messaging into the annual parade of Snookis and and True Blood wannabes strutting down Sixth Avenue.

Somewhat related: The pro-puppet American Recovery and Reinvestment Act doled out $50,000 to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta; $25,000 to the Sandglass Center for Puppetry and Theater Research in Vermont; and $25,000 to the Spiral Q Puppet Theater in Philadelphia.  

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  1. He should just get a job at the Lester Corporation. They hire out of work puppeteers.

    1. Masters of Fine Arts in Puppetry


      1. “it dawned on Joe: “I have to build as many giant puppets as I can to help this thing out”

        Are we sure this is not some righty plant making OWS look like herds of barking moonbats?

        1. Are you saying that Joe or the Nation journalist is the plant?

          1. I don’t think either one is as smart as a plant.

      2. Master of FAP?

    2. snort, Uconn is a safety school for aspiring puppeteers, if he had gone to a better puppet school then he’d have gotten a job

    3. And have to work on a half floor all day? OWS won’t stand for it.


  2. Oh, Mike… The sheer hilarity of this moron’s story makes up for a hundred late Morning Links.

      1. Bravo Riggs. A+ work.

      2. Also a master class in alt text.

        1. Which as we all know is the most important aspect.

        2. Mike Riggs is still trying to cover his student loans…

      3. +1 That is the funniest thing I have read here in a long time.

  3. This story is too funny to be true.

    1. It fits in with the first week or two, but at this point, it lacks a little bizarreness.

    2. Some days, when I am in my deepest despair, a story will turn up the shows me there still is justice in this world.

      1. Some days, when I am thinking my life sucks, I read something like this and feel a lot better about myself.

        1. I dunno, Pablo; after reading this I’m convinced I entered the wrong line of work and should have done something deep, meaningful, profitable, and fulfilling, just like this guy. Boy, ain’t I an all day sucker!


          1. With an MFA, he could teach at any level including grad school. He could leave the big apple and move to a small city in the midwest, get a teaching job in the public school system, and then work the local community theater scene (possibly getting paid) to run workshops and children’s theater. Given the change in the cost of living, he could live much better than he does now making less than a substitute teacher in NY.

            But that would mean giving up New York and living with the hicks in backwoods Iowa, Nebraska, or bum fuck whatever.

            1. But that would mean giving up New York and living with the hicks in backwoods Iowa, Nebraska, or bum fuck whatever.

              I think you found the stumbling block in the path of most OWS types. Notice it’s not “Occupy North Platte…” it’s “Occupy Wall Street”.

  4. Did somebody mention puppets?

    1. Present!

    2. Present!

      1. i only dance to hope n statist tunez babiee !

    3. Here!

      Oh, crap. Wrong kind of puppets…

    4. Go fuck yourself, misanthrope! WHERE’S MY MEDS! JUNK SILVER! CHRISTFAGS!


    1. See above. None of you philistines got the reference.

      1. I did! And then I ranted to Riggs about how it proves my earlier point that in fact the most obvious puppet-related pop-culture reference is BJM.

        1. Totally. How could it not be?

          1. I have never seen BJM. I have seen Team America: Freedom Police perhaps half a dozen times.

            1. It is a very strange movie and highly dark. I think it has one of the darkest endings in comedy history. But it is worth renting.

              1. But it is worth renting.
                Renting? DVDs want to be free! Rent just unjustly gives more money to Da Man! The DVD was paid for already when it was bought! DVDs cost nothing!
                (Am I forgetting anything from the stupid talking points the music pirates have been using since the end of vinyl?)

            2. Freedom Police. The fuck?


              1. D’oh! “World Police”

                1. Just don’t ever say “Dream Police”. They get inside of your head…

                  1. Great. Now I’ve got that song in my head.

                    Fuck you, Restoras.

                    1. Cheap Trick, one of the most misunderstood bands of the 80s.

                    2. Cheap Trick did that song? I thought it was The Police.

      2. See above. None of you philistines got the reference.

        This philistine has no idea what the fuck you and Riggs are referencing. can you mansplain it?

        Lester Corp? BJM? WTF?

        1. BJM = Being John Malkovich

          1. Ah, thanks. Never saw it.

            1. You’re not missing much. Hipster pablum.

              1. You’re not missing much. Hipster pablum.

                Quiet, you! You’ll enrage the neckbeards! What’s next, bagging on TBL? TTDIDWYD? Apocalypse?

    2. Malkovich malkovich [MALKOVICH].

      1. Took me a second, but this was really funny when it clicked.

  5. Seriously, though… charging him 35K for a Master’s Degree in Puppetry is borderline fraud on UConn’s part.

    1. Yeah, except he was the idiot that shelled it out. What a moron.

      1. UCONN profs must be good at puppetry, because they certainly shoved their hand up that dummy’s ass.

        1. +1 … I LOL’ed at this one! Good on ya, mate!

        2. +3? How does this work?

          1. The idea was to learn puppetry not be a puppet.

            Is that too late or is it still funny?

            Learn puppetry? Geezus, I did that when I was about 5 with a sock over my hand.

        3. +4 Truly inspired.

      2. I agree, but I am just soft-hearted enough to think that taking advantage of people with mental disabilities is fraud. Was he really smart enough to give informed consent? His actions suggest that he was not.

        1. This is a good question, but I wonder: Is it fraud if I willingly give you money for something I want? Unless UConn told him entry-level Puppetry Positions are Pulling down serious bank, I have say no, right?

          1. OK, you go out to the neighborhood slow kid and you say “Jimmy, I’ll give you this magical piece of gravel for you ice cream cone. Deal?” and then you guys swap, and Jimmy runs home, licking his rock, clapping and laughing.

            You have an ice cream cone. Jimmy thinks he has a magic rock. Jimmy is happy.

            Have you acted morally? Is tricking the mentally disabled kid out of his ice cream cone an ethical act on your part?

            I don’t think UCONN is legally engaging in fraud, but taking advantage of this guy is a moral gray area at best.

            1. You can’t spell UConn without con.

            2. We will shoot some arrows into the white mans wallet. If he truly has medicine, he will not be hurt. If he has no medicine, he will be broke.

              …and we will laugh.

            3. Nice morality tale! Quite the writing gift you have, SF.

              I get your point and don’t disagree. It seems like university administrators just drum up ideas for graduate school based on the preposition that there is someone out there somewhere dying to get an ‘advanced’ degree in fill-in-the-blank. And since you can get an education loan, there is limited risk in starting an MFA in Puppetry since the borrower can’t declare bankruptcy. Just make up the curriculum, find a couple of guys to teach some classes, print up some glossy marketing materials, and boom! you got another income stream with limited downside. Once the student graduates, well, finding a job is his problem.

              1. “Once the student graduates, well, finding a job is his problem.”

                Actually, the whole point is that the guy is making his failure to finding a puppet job our problem — and, more specifically, our debt, in more than one way.

            4. They didn’t claim it was a magic rock (at least there is no evidence that they did). They just said it was a rock.

        2. Was he really smart enough to give informed consent? His actions suggest that he was not.

          Possibly collaborated by his status as a pubsec teacher.

          1. < nazi >
            < /nazi >

    2. Seriously, though… charging him 35K for a Master’s Degree in Puppetry is borderline fraud on UConn’s part.

      That’s just to pay for the support of the other puppetmasters who can’t find work in the private sector…well financially rewarding work anyway.

    3. I so desperately want to share this on Facebook but a friend’s mom is a professional puppeteer and it would start such a shitstorm that I might not have any real friends, much less Faceboook friends, if I were to do so.

      1. I’ll bet she’d make a lot more money if she had a Degree.

        1. Oh, she’s degreed all right. I honestly don’t mnow how someone can earn a living doing what she does but skmehow she manages. I think it has a lot to do with living in a big city that has lots of rich people who give money to crazy arts foundations as a charitable tax deduction.

      2. You can exclude them from seeing the post.

        That might just make it worse, though.

        1. Can you post it as a sock-puppet?

    4. he should have gotten an undergrad degree in The Classics. Then, he might be familiar with the phrase “caveat emptor”

      1. My ex had a degree in classics from Bowdoin. He was a career bike messenger. Made scratch, got exercise and good drugs, too!

    5. Seriously, though… charging him 35K for a Master’s Degree in Puppetry is borderline fraud on UConn’s part.

      But you see, this is where it is like BJM. He said, “I want to be a puppeteer.” And the two suits across the table looked at eachother and said, “Ok, *poof* you’re a puppeteer!”

  6. “I had a sweet gig in the NYC school system that I never could have lost, and I quit it to go take on debt to learn a trade no one wants.

    “I am the 99%.”

    1. Penn Julliette went to clown school and look where he is now. Vegas!

      1. Clown school is supposed to be really hard.

        1. And probably a lot cheaper than 35K.

          1. I think so. I think the only one is the one run by Ringling Brothers. And I think you have to get hired as clown before they send you.

            1. You get to create a unique clown face that is enshrined forever in the clown face place too. Yes, he went to the Ringling clown college.

              1. There was a PBS show last year called Circus. It was a reality show about the Big Apple Circus. It was wildly compelling. But all of the clowns had been to that school and worked for Ringling Brothers before moving on. One guy was a guest artist but his full time job was head clown at a big children’s hospital in New York. You really can be a professional clown.

                1. You really can be a professional clown.

                  We have someone on contract to do therapeutic clowning for our sick kids. They have a code of ethics and everything.

                  I snarked, until they showed me the letters from grateful parents and kids. One written in crayon, no fooling.

                  1. R.C.

                    The guy in the show is a saint. I can’t imagine spending my days trying to entertain sick and dying kids. I would either drink myself to death or take a self inflicted shotgun to the face in about a year. And yeah, they do a lot of good.

                    1. I can’t imagine spending my days trying to entertain sick and dying kids.

                      I assure you, John, treating them and their illnesses, in addition to their family (whenever you treat a child with either a serious or terminal illness, you often spend more time treating the family than the child proper), is no picnic either.

                      Also, being a professional clown can be very dangerous work, and is rife with injury depending on how slapstick the performer wishes to be. Most common injury associated with being a professional clown is lower back injury R/T falls.

                    2. We went to the Ringling Circus earlier this year. Lots of fun, and the clowns were very talented. There’s Cirque du Soleil, too.

                      And, for that matter, Penn is quite wealthy, and he’s a clown.

                      I’d say clown school is a better investment than puppet school.

                2. “You really can be a professional clown”

                  Let me be clear, yes, you can. And it comes with a big house, a private jet and helicopter.

                  1. And a thick pack mule you can call your wife.

                    If you’re desperate enough.

                3. We have many of those in our fair state. We call them the legislature. They aren’t very funny, though.

              2. Yes, he went to the Ringling clown college.

                But I didn’t – I was born with talent.

            2. Isn’t the son from “Capturing the Friedmans” a clown?

        2. At least Penn Jillette can juggle. Clown college probably isn’t too ridiculous, money-wise, because I don’t think it’s some drawn out education.

          MFAs in the first place aren’t particularly marketable degrees. Tossing in the specialty in puppetry. . .well, I think a lack of income is to be expected, unless your name is Henson.

          1. In clown college you have to take at least three classes in hiding the bodies of children in order to graduate.

            1. In clown college you have to take at least three classes in hiding the bodies of children in order to graduate.

              With honors!

          2. Jim Henson is a freeloading leech. Without those communists at PBS and Sesame Street he might have done something worthwhile, like Hedge Fund management.

            All he’s done is created a generation of self-entitled, worthless subhuman scum who think they’re special.

            1. Henson worked on commercials long before starting Sesame Street and the Muppets (the latter of which aired, I believe, on ABC, not PBS).

        3. Clown school is supposed to be really hard.

          The only hard parts are getting in and enduring the laughter when you tell people you went to Yale.

          1. Will you be here all week?

            1. Of course I will, it’s not like I have a job to get to. I have a degree in Philosophy.

        4. Sideshow Bob: You wanted to be Krusty’s sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college.

          Cecil Terwilliger: I’ll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.

  7. You absolutely Could. Not. Satirize. the Occupados.

    Can’t be done. This guy quits his job to study puppetology for three years (really? three years?), and he has a taxpayer-funded job (which, although “full-time”, still allows him ample free time for making giant puppets for the Occupados).

    But he’s out there, protesting The Man. With puppets.

    1. It is better than that. He was a public school teacher in New York. Those guys can’t be fired. He could showed up every day and enslaved his students making puppets and still kept his job. And he left that to get an MFA in puppetry.

      Does he not have any family or friends? How does someone not take him aside and try to stop him? If you made a movie about this guy no one would believe you and would think you were just making stuff up to make the OWS people look bad.

      1. His friends are probably manning the puppet theater barricades with him. Family? Why listen to those losers who keep slaving away for The Man.

    2. I was just thinking that this really looks like a parody of all of the naive activisty people I knew in college. Forming committees, making little speeches (through the human mic, which is comedy gold by itself) to like-minded people, impotent little marches to demonstrate…something. The committees are my favorite.

      1. Don’t laugh–this is how the Russian Revolution started. Except that, in that case, there were some people who actually had legitimate gripes involved.

        1. …and lots of ammo.

          1. What everyone forgets is that the Communists didn’t actually control most of the revolution. They just stole it from those who did.

    3. I was wondering what one could possibly study for that length of time. Now, I do understand that lots of forms of art require practice- but graduate school for puppetry?

      And anyway, instead of coming up with actual, realistic platforms, OWS spends time with ~12 ‘guilds’ under Arts and Culture (wtf?! I thought this was supposed to be a protest).

      1. The exacting engineering it takes for the little legs to hang down just right?

        1. Frankly, I’d have advised him to get his masters in puppetry through the college of engineering rather than the college of art.

          1. Great idea! Now, if we just call the armed drones puppets maybe the Cosmotarians will stop complaining about reasonable defense measures.

    4. The idiotic part is that he quit his job because he was “frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy,” but as soon as he got his Masters, he ran right back to the same place. WTF? If it was so bad, what on Earth made him think it would have improved after this disaster of an economy we’ve had going the last few years?

      1. The part where he said that he got half the salary and no insurance for doing the same amount of work was my favorite.

  8. Good. Our first catch of the day.

    1. You already said that.

  9. “Starving artist” is not a common phrase for nothing. I’m all for pursuing your artistic passion if that is what is important to you, but in deciding to take that path, you have made a decision to sacrifice your earnings potential for the sake of your art. Where the fuck do people get this idea that just because something is important to you that other people should pay you for it?

    1. I think it is our trophy for all youth culture. I have a couple of friends who have no kidding dream jobs. One is a travel writer and the other is a ancient and medival philosophy prof(which would be a dream to me). They are both 40 and spent well over a decade in poverty working two and three jobs before they finally got the jobs they have, which still only give them a middle class existence, hardly wealthy. The OWS people seem to think they should get the dream job right out of college and it should pay in the six figures and allow them to live in Williamsburg.

      1. ^^Trophy Generation. Just show up.

      2. While I’m all for bashing the trophy generation (assuming I’m too old to be part of it; 32 is too old, right?), let’s not forget that they didn’t become the trophy generation on their own. Of course, their parents are too busy clamoring for what’s theirs when it comes to pensions, Social Security, etc., so what else would you expect?

        1. yes, you are too old.

        2. It is completely their parents’ fault. I feel sorry for them in some ways. It is parents and the God damned education schools who decided “self esteem” was the main goal of schooling.

          1. I grew up just as the trophy bullshit started. No shitting – we had a “class” (more like a small class-sized assembly) one day with the guidance councilor who had us all wear signs that had the acronym IALAC, which stood for “I Am Lovable And Capable”. Every time someone said something mean to us we had to tear a piece of our IALAC sign off. This was ca. 1983-84. Of course it was hippy dippy Vermont.


            1. I grew up in Vermont in the 90s. I worked 25 hours a week while being the high school valedictorian. It wasn’t good enough to get me out of doing all the farm work when my parents went on vacation without me. I think you should have grown up in the NEK instead of (assuming) Chittendon County.

        3. A good point. Where I live, it’s all about being ‘fair’, ‘equality of outcomes’, and ‘just have fun, don’t try to win’. It’s all a formula designed to reward mediocrity, and stifle achievement, at least when it comes to sports.

          When it comes to school and grades, however, the same mealy-mouthed parent becomes Darth Vader on crack. Isn’t it interesting, they don’t want to reward achievement outside the classroom and make sure everyone is the same, but when it comes to grades the equivalent, a “C”, is an abomination? And the thought that hey, it’s not fair to the dumb kids, they must feel bad when the wicked smaahht kids answer all the questions and get all the A’s, so maybe we should spread the A’s around a little? strikes them as an utterance of Satan?

          1. i decided against the starving artist thing early on. the guys in the recording studio next to me DID end up getting a record contract, and were pretty successful (and are still together), another local band did “ok” in that they did get a record contract (one and that was it iirc) and a cheezy MTV video. the first band has done tons of albums, videos, etc. and had a lot of college indie cred, etc.

            hey, you take the gamble, you take the results.

            to quit a secure job for (imo silly reasons) to get a masters degree in puppetry is so fucking insanely stupid from a game theory perspective, it really does read like parody.

            it’s not that i am not saying “don’t pursue your passion” but i say “pursue it at your own risk”

            1. Or maybe pursue it part-time while keeping your day job? I’m betting he didn’t even think of that alternative. How hard can it be to take maybe one puppet class a semester?

        4. I’m 31 and I remember seeing things like this when I was in school. I remember getting chastised by teachers for not wanting to go through the effort of accepting a participation award for science fairs or field day. I also had a wrestling coach who was insistent on getting me my fifth place medal for a tournament once, they didn’t have enough the day of, and was perplexed when I didn’t care. He was one of the hardest sons-of-bitches I’ve ever met, too.

      3. One of my professor’s has a dream job of teaching a course on The Beatles.

    2. The same dipshits who want to go and work a non-profit to change the world and feel good about themselves, but feel aggrieved that they aren’t making as much money as people that got jobs geared toward, you know, making money. They want the sense of moral superiority and the material rewards. Choices? Tradeoffs? What are those?

      1. I knew a guy, quit a decent job, joined the peace corps, went to Africa, 3 weeks later came back and said “HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT WAS STUPID”. I am not sure but I think that little experiment (and he was late 30s by the way) just may have changed his politics.

        1. Was it Tom Hanks in that movie with John Candy?

          1. Yes. And a really good one at that. I love that movie.

            1. Volunteers. Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, WA! Great character. Notice how easily Mr. “motivation” Tuttle was brainwashed into becoming a believer for the other side. Seems common for believers. I think Eric Hoffer wrote something about it.


          …and with that simple exclamation we retain a degree of respect for your friend who was smart enough to pull the ejection seat handle early!

          Well done!

        3. On the other hand, one of my exes (not the bike messenger) did TWO Peace Corps tours. In Madagascar. In agriculture, not teaching English like most of his colleagues. Did I mention Madagascar? With their regular locust plagues?

          Anyway, from what I can gather form a little Google-Fu, he’s a dedicated socialist who works for…..wait for it….The World Bank.

          1. Plagues of locusts? There is an angry lemur god who won’t let his people go?

    3. actually, art can be a pretty lucrative gig. Somebody has to design websites, ads, the little splash announcements at the bottom of the tv screen, etc.

      1. Yeah, but those guys who consider themselves “true artists” absolutely HATE commercial artists. They believe they’re sellouts, corporate lackeys, etc.

        1. I know a lot of working fine artists, and that simply isn’t true. Posuers think that way though.

        2. I know a lot of working fine artists, and that simply isn’t true. Posuers think that way though.

      2. All of my web designer colleagues have educations in graphic design, not fine arts. But they all have to be exceptionally skilled in usability and section 508 compliance, which I don’t think they teach in fine arts schools.

        1. In the end they are all just BFAs. The initial education isn’t much different. But it sure as hell isn’t a fucking degree in puppetry.

    4. Funny, I’ve always understood “starving artist” to be a kind of badge of honor that describes someone whose work is motivated and influenced by physical hunger; very much a means of attaining enlightenment. I never thought it to mean simply “someone who’s perpetually broke due to unmarketable dalliances”.

      1. No, I’ve always understood it to mean “artist who isn’t making much money.” The real division is between the ones who are starving because they just aren’t any good at making commercially viable art and the ones who have no interest in being commercially successful.

        1. realizing that a substantial # of very respected artists spent most or all of their lives starving and then years after their death THAT’s when their shit sells, becomes appreciated.

        2. I thought it was simply a general artist state of being…in that most starve frequently because most people don’t pay artists for artists emotional pieces. They pay artists for something that means something to them or matches a decor.

          1. You mean hacks like Michelangelo?

            Sometimes it works out for the best if people use their talent to create something other people want.

            It’s curious the shift where it became a badge of honor not to be able to make a living in your chosen profession. I believe this is the New Class’s attempt to mimic the gentleman scholars of old, the bourgeois bastards.

        3. No, I don’t think it usually means literal starvation. Hunger is not generally conducive to creative pursuits.

      2. Usually it’s the guy who might be an excellent artist but isn’t a good con artist/self-promoter. Also he has enough integrity to not seek NEA subsidies.

  10. I think we reached peak-puppet a couple decades ago.

    1. Damn straight.

  11. Wait — you can get a college degree for learning to tie a couple of strings to a doll?

    1. That is marionette school. Another $35,000 for that specialty along with the extra letters for your mailing labels.

      1. +1 Do you get the special Pinnocio distinction if you are at the top of your class?

        1. Only if birds actually land on your nose.

      2. On the plus side, though, you could end up becoming John Malkovich.

    2. Not just any degree, an MFA. And apparently the federal government will give you money for “Puppetry and Theater Research.”

      OK, folks, here’s my related but somewhat off-topic question. (We need an “Ask Hit & Run” feature!) My new girlfriend is smart and wonderful in many ways, but like so many in the SF area, pretty much a flaming liberal. Having lived most of her life assuming that all the smart, nice, informed, artistic people are leftist, she can’t quite wrap her head around the fact that I am all those things except the last one.

      We’ve talked politics a little, but it’s hard because she’s so emotionally invested in her way of thinking, though she’s not closed-minded. So what’s the best way of opening her mind to a more libertarian point of view? So far I’ve talked about the virtues of freedom and subsidiarity, how good intentions go awry when acted upon by central governments, how an economy is like a language (a human creation but not something that can simply be redesigned), and a few other points. Any suggestions appreciated.

      1. Just love her, dude. Just love her.

        1. That’s part of the plan. One rule we now have: no political talk in bed.

          1. …unless its dirty talk

            1. I have thought about quoting the P.J. O’Rourke line about “No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal,” but haven’t risked it.

      2. Start with just building her disgust about government. Most leftists hate quite a bit of government action.

        After you get her hating some government, the next step is to show that you can’t have unlimited government in some areas without the stuff she hates happening, too.

        Finally, slowly introduce the idea that things like helping people out, etc. are all possible outside of government.

        1. I’ve been doing this in roughly the opposite order. I can’t start with disgust of government because she thinks the federal government is the obvious solution to most problems.

          1. Point out to her that the Department of Defense is part of the government, too, and that the mindset there isn’t any different than any other government bureaucracy–“give us more money and everything will be just fine!”

            It sounds like that her belief in government borders on religious faith, and the key to breaking down any faith is to relentlessly show where it contradicts itself.

          2. Start hammering on the DoD, marijuana, and gay marriage, and any other points that libertarians generally agree with liberals on. Point out that it’s inappropriate acts of government that is the problem in those areas. Point out that so long as government is allowed to be all powerful, the people who WANT the WOD, are anti gay marriage, etc, can use it to their own ends.

          3. I started explaining libertarian principles to my wife using examples of charities supplanting gov’t programs, and entrepreneurs as the best indicators of market needs. Also, really emphasize the non-aggression principle. My wife really didn’t “get” libertarianism until I fully explained coercive power of the gov’t versus non-aggression. Also, spontaneous order; it’s simple, logical, and there are excellent examples on every block in every city. Good luck, and tap that ass!

            1. Non-aggression and spontaneous order: both good points, thanks.

              1. Pro Libertate has it right. As a libertarian conservative transplant to the Bay Area, I have found it much easier to shut off pro-government sentiment with cynical comments about things people don’t like about government than philosophical argument. If someone wants to tack about health care, talk about medical marijuana. If somebody wants to talk about helping the poor, talk about how much government employees make. If someone wants to talk about economic fairness, share their dream about everybody finding a fulfilling job, then wish that we had some people in government who cared, instead of the tax dodger at Treasury. Wish, aloud, that Obama would come to Oakland to meet real people, not just to Silicon Valley to raise money. You can even grumble about how the police are too busy writing tickets to keep people safe. Very little material out there to make somebody analytically turn libertarian, but there’s plenty to talk about if you merely want to nurse that healthy cynicism about politics and the governing class that leads to de facto libertarianism – I wish the government would (buy the world a Coke) but I don’t trust them to.

      3. Only mention politics after you have banged her, never ever before.

        1. Too late. We knew that from the start, but hit it off so well and connect in so many other ways that we’ve been pushing politics aside, mostly. She has joked that she’s “sleeping with the enemy.”

          1. The enemy? If anything, libertarians are double agents.

      4. My wife is a European Socialist, and I am one mustache away from being Ron Swanson. However, neither of us submitted the other to a political litmus test when we got together.

        I’ve had girlfriend’s in the past dump me when they couldn’t get over some political issue I was for. I found this ridiculous–I’m a boyfriend, not a supreme court nominee.

        The wife is proof that I was better off without them. If your girl can’t accept you as you are, then make her cut you loose.

        1. “I’m a boyfriend, not a supreme court nominee.” Love it.

          One irony is that *I* can accept *her* as she is, so it’s someone supposedly on the side of “tolerance” and “diversity” who might reject me for insufficient agreement regarding political means. But I have a somewhat detached view of politics, and if I restrict myself to libertarian-leaning women in my age range in the SF Bay area, I’ll die alone. If she decides she can’t accept me, she’ll do the dumping. But I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that.

          1. Have “Pro Libertate” tattooed on her ass. Tell her it means something progressive.

            1. Have “Pro Libertate” tattooed on her ass. Tell her it means something progressive.

              How dreamy! It sounds like PapayaSF had already been imprinted by this lovely lass.

          2. Relationships are hard enough without politics. So, be ready for lots and lots of seemingly petty disagreements that start over politics, especially if kids come into the picture.

            I married a liberal Jew. I would kill for even a mildly libertarian spouse.

            1. I would kill for even a mildly libertarian spouse.

              Well, that explains the granny panty fetish.

              1. Nothing explains that. Nothing.

          3. One irony is that *I* can accept *her* as she is, so it’s someone supposedly on the side of “tolerance” and “diversity” who might reject me for insufficient agreement regarding political means.

            Scorpion, toad, you know the rest.

            Having been a libertarian since college, I’ve gotten used to that. “Tolerant” my sweet ass.

            1. Phew. Doth my schnozz detect a whiff o’ consternation?

            2. My girlfriend in college almost dumped me because it came up that I wouldn’t pay for her to get an abortion if she got pregnant (I’m prolife, and she never got pregnant).

        2. Well said Sir.

      5. Jewelry should work, or shoes if you are a cheapskate.

        1. Hand it to Suki, that is a free-market solution.

          1. Ha, yes, but she can’t really be fully bought or bribed. Principles, you know.

            1. I don’t know. Given the right methodology and rationale, women can be very flexible mentally.

              After all, she’s not doing it for the shoes or jewelry, she’s doing it because of how much you’ve shown you loved and treasured her…

            2. Then try taking out the trash because you like to, not because you have to.

              1. She’s somewhat awestruck that I often do some of her dirty dishes when I visit. I’m not a neat freak, but her kitchen sink can approach Science Experiment territory when she’s busy with work.

                1. Beloved washes dishes if I cook and I wash them if he cooks. Works out great and he never whines. He also does all of the work on my truck because he is so sweet.

            3. Principles, you know.

              But I thought you said she was a leftist.

              1. Now, be nice! Her principles are a sincere concern for helping people. The only problem is that she thinks leftism will do that.

                1. Screw O’Rourke, you need to add that bit from C.S. Lewis to your e-mail sig, your FB page, everywhere she can possibly see it. Hell, print it out and tape it to the fridge.

                  1. Sorry, which “bit from C. S. Lewis”?

      6. I’m in the same boat as you and unfortunately have nothing to offer by way of useful advise. I will say this much – it’s incredible how much sex appeal leftists immediately lose when they start talking up their politics. It’s like kryptonite for boners.

      7. Pointing out how supposedly anti-poverty programs ultimately fuck over the poor and create permanent underclasses is a good place to start too. Make her realize that caring about people means more than giving them free stuff.

        1. Don’t push it too hard, else some leftists heads explode, leaving a mess.

          1. This is very true. I know I have to be careful, because she’s very emotionally invested in her p.o.v.

      8. I’d say do what a lot of men in your position do: ignore the liberalism and enjoy the girlfriend.

        If you marry, make sure to construct your will so she gets a decent allowance but can’t give the whole wad to counterproductive causes.

      9. PJ Orourke imo.

        liberals are correct – most of the good comedy and art doesn’t come from conservatives or libertarians.

        His writings are an exception imo.

        Also, as a former liberal his writings about how/why he turned are both funny and insightful.

        i find that even many liberals who will NEVER be libertarian will give grudging admittance that they like his stuff

        1. No good comedy from libertarians!?

          Explain South Park, I dare you.

          No good comedy ever came from anyone incapable of seeing irony, but plenty red and blue voters made good commedians. There aren’t many yellows, so its harder to say.

          1. Then explain Penn & Teller! Dance as you explain!

            1. do you have a problem with reading comprehension? i said MOST.

              obviously, south park is a great exception.

              i mean for fuck’s sake, they inspired a whole movement “south park conservatism”.

              and of course, one of the reasons i generally find hollywood comedies so lame is that too often the liberal conceits filter through.

              MASH (the teevee version) was a perfect example of it. i found it less and less funny , the older i got, and the more i found liberalism discredited.

              shows like “family ties” were groundbreaking in that they actually had a sympathetic and SMART conservative, and the liberal sister was the airhead.

              but again,i never said NO good comedy from libertarians. i think a certain newly skinny improv act is another good example

              but let’s be realistic. most good comedy comes from liberals.

              1. No fair proving your own rule by being so whiny.

                1. i’m supposed to be FAIR too?

                  dammit, i have to capitalize, be fair, AND assume all cops are guilty based on little to no evidence

                  man, this is the worst chatroom EVER!!

                  1. It’s best just to ignore it.

      10. As long as core principles are the same, you’ll probably be good. If she’s a flaming liberal because she hates economic freedom and needs to control other people, it’s probably not going to work out. But if she’s generally against being a controlling elitist jerk, can think critically and understands economics, you just may have a shot.

        1. She just has a huge heart, not a need to control others. She can think critically, but years of NPR and the New Yorker and leftist friends have not helped her understanding of economics, unfortunately.

          1. The best thing you can do is show her that her libertarian boyfriend can be a loving caring individual and completely unlike the poor strangeling Kochtopus she’s been led to believe. After she accepts you in loving her, her New York friends will start sounding as petty as they seemed, because she knows the other side and the charactitature is gone.

            1. That’s part of the plan, and it’s working so far. She knows I don’t fit the caricature she has in her head, and that’s going to take some time to change, but some sort of shift has already begun.

              1. If you have an libertarian friends that are like you, a) introduce her to them, which will further collapse her stereotype and b) introduce them to me (assuming they live in the DC metro 🙂 )

                1. I thought you moved back to Vermont and I gave you a hard time for doing so?

            2. This.

          2. i realize it’s been said before, but she probably falls under the “if you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart… if you are still a liberal at 40 you have no brain” syndrome.

            i grew up practically on the campus of one of the most liberal universities in the country. these people are simply surrounded by like minded folks and many of them really can’t even fathom of a kindhearted, intelligent, well meaning conservative and/or libertarian.

            spend any time on DU etc. and the distinction is clear. far more liberals, etc. really do think that many many people aren’t liberals because of meanness/selfishness etc. not because of honest disagreement about (as sowell would put) “the vision thing.

      11. plusses and minusses. If she asks, answer, if she doesn’t, as long as her personality wins over her foolishness, just accept it. A happy marraige isn’t two people who constantly agree. Its two people that respect the other for what they are, as wierd as the other may be.

        1. That last point is true, and we are extremely compatible in pretty much all other ways. I sense that she’s on the verge of fully accepting me despite my beliefs, but she’s not quite there yet (though we are exclusive girlfriend/boyfriend now).

          1. or so she TELLS you!!!!


      12. Occasionally (not too often, at first) email her a link from Reason’s Hit & Run blog. Say “Hey hon, check this out, when you have a minute. Funny stuff.” Be patient. If all goes well you might get a “hmmm, interesting” response, or a “Seriously? Wow!”. Eventually this will lead to more one-on-one discussions. This will surely take time, as change always does, but the potential payoffs are enormous. Good luck!

        1. Yeah, like that article about how BJ’s prevent cancer. Send her that one.

          1. She needs no encouragement regarding sex, I am happy to say. This is the upside of pro-sex feminism.

            I’d be reluctant to send her H&R links, because things can get outrageously sarcastic and mean around here. That’s one reason *I* come here, of course, but reading some comment about (say) using using the body parts of an OWS protester to clean a monocle isn’t exactly going to help.

            1. We mean it in jest of course. And they say libertarians can’t be comedians. we’re hi-larious.

              1. True, but it’s a basic principle of humor that someone can’t laugh at something they take very seriously, and instead they just get offended.

                1. good thing there is rarely anything we take seriously around here, except spelling, because spelling matters!!

                  1. because spelling matters

                    It’s called mother fucking standards, okay?

                    THIS IS HOW WE GET ANTS (AND TROLLS)!

              2. We do? Damn, I’ll need a shovel, some lye…

            2. I’d be reluctant to send her H&R links, because things can get outrageously sarcastic and mean around here.

              Why else would you spend time here if not for the venom?

            3. dont point out that there are comments. You can just forward the link without the comments.

            4. Also, don’t be a beta and capitualte to her views to just to keep her quiet/happy…pick your battles for sure but make sure to POLITELY stand up for your opinion when warranted. Chicks, though they may say otherwise, hate betas.

              1. Chicks, though they may say otherwise, hate betas.

                Jezebel would like to harp on, then fuck you, sir.

              2. She’s web-savvy, so she’d find the comments.

                You are right about standing up for myself. I do that, and I know she respects that. And of course I am totally polite and reasonable when making my points.

                1. And of course I am totally polite and reasonable when making my points.

                  Of course, of course. I mean, its not like its the internet after all.

                2. Then copy and past the stories with your own name on them showing your brilliant insight.

                3. I did the whole “Swish Technique” to convince several loved ones. Basically start out with an outcome they find important and demonstrate how your way is better suited at accomplishing it than the governments. It tooks years by the way but now they are registered Ls (note: that is meant as an indicator not a push for the LP).

            5. fwiw, i realize it’s somewhat of a cliche, but ime liberal women are in general less attractive, more uptight about sex, etc.

              i know it’s the opposite of the idea that liberals would be more “open to new stuff”, comfortable with their bodies, bla bla sting tantra, bla bla

              but that’s just my experience.

              it’s almost like i see way more frank zappa catholic girl syndrome… iow, once they get those (metaphorical ) catholic school dresses off, the conservative/libertarian wimmins are the most fun in bed

              by far

              i’m not talking fundie conservatives, though , since i have no idea… to my knowledge, i’ve never dated one

              i’ve also found, ESPECIALLY as women get into their 30’s and 40’s etc. that conservative women are more likely to really take care of their body, etc.

              at least from what i see/saw as a guy who goes to the gym/crossfit a lot, and used to be a personal trainer – the smoking hot milfs are way more likely not be liberals

      13. Just don’t go there. Nothing to be gained from it. I speak from experience.

      14. Don’t placate. Seriously, don’t.

      15. “So what’s the best way of opening her mind”


      16. Two step process:

        1. Be a good person. Be generous with your time and money. My wife is a flaming liberal, and only listens to my political opinions because she for some reason doesn’t think I’m a complete prick, and respects me personally. At the very least, she occassionally play’s devil’s advocate with her friends now.

        2. Find areas of common ground. There are some things we can’t talk about at all, but she does appreciate the concept of personal responsibility. She has no sympathy for people who bought houses they can’t afford, she would laugh at this puppet guy along with the rest of us, that sort of thing. Use whatever you can as an entry into Advanced Libertariansm

      17. I dated a flaming liberal about a decade ago. It didn’t work out, and one of the biggest problems was that she insisted on thinking of me as a conservative instead of a libertarian. She’d been pumped too full of post-modern English department gobbledygook though. Perhaps SF liberals are a different flavor.

      18. consider ALSO, that she is probably asking HER friends the exact same questions

        iow, you both want, to some extent, to convert the other.

        it’s natural.

        imo, if it’s really meant to be and shit, it CAN work even if you have very different political views.

        i had a girlfriend at one time who was the classic seattle liberal. i mean, in every way. she worked for microsoft, ALL her friends were liberals, etc. etc. etc.

        frankly, i never tried to change her, but what i found annoying was her friends, not her. she would tell me they would constantly be amazed that she was dating a cop, let alone a libertarian cop.

      19. I’m a social liberal with libertarian leanings, for sure. I’d say start with the Drug War. That’s what got me hating the government. 😉

        1. i find some liberals go with this, but the invariable response is “libertarianism is like liberalism without a conscience”. iow, the hardest part isn’t often showing them the futility of the drug war, etc. which at least a fair amount disagree with, the hardest part is showing them that what is often viewed as compassionate (an extreme example would be a nannystate SF happy meal ban), is in fact incredibly paternalistic, controlling, and ultimately soul wrenchingly dehumanizing

          it’s the elitist part of liberalism, the idea that they, and by proxy – the state, can protect people from themselves and should do so, that’s the hardest for them to overcome imnsho

      20. Socratic method. Ask questions and hold her to a standard. Call her, gently, on her priors and the contradictions in her own philosophy. Is it well thought out or knee jerk? I’ve always found I learn so much more about my own stance trying to explain it to others.

        1. yea the socratic method is very sexy in a relationship.

          clearly, people walked away from The Paper Chase wanting to fuck john houseman!!!


      21. I wish I could give you some advice from a chick perspective, but I’m not all that emotional (except when PMS strikes, but then it’s just rage). The only thing that would work on me is an appeal to reason (drink!).

      22. Allow me to speak from experience: when I met my boyfriend, I was a liberal who voted for, volunteered for, and donated to Barack Obama. We’ve been together a year, and I am definitely now a full libertarian convert. I eventually started to see the light after reading Atlas Shrugged (buy her Atlas Shrugged) and after discussing current events with my boyfriend. It will happen sooner than you think!

    3. To be fair, marionette puppetry is a fine and subtle art which takes very fine skills that take years to perfect. That still doesn’t mean that you are entitled to make a good living from it.

      1. Why? Please explain

  12. I think this guy would have more luck with #OccupySesameStreet.

  13. I like the cut of this man’s jib. A puppeteer’s upple and dexrous hands are perfect for polishing my monocle. I would hire him forthwith, if only he had a PhD in the Marionette Arts from a reputable, Ivy League university.

  14. At last, a protester whose strings aren’t being pulled by the Koch Brothers! [Laugh at him all you want but he probably gets laid alot more often than many posters here. Can’t vouch for the quality though.]

    1. I see what you did there…

    2. Hipster Sex

      SugarFree|10.1.10 @ 9:44AM|
      Try and imagine any of those people having sex. It’s dark because of their body image issues. They are on a bed-bug-ridden futon in a converted loft in an abandoned paint factory in Greenpoint. The air reeks of heavy metals, soy candles, and multiple unframed college degrees letter-pressed on unbleached recycled paper. A thin wail issues from dying solar-powered iPhone dock speakers, playing indie tweehards MGMT doing an ironic cover of Justin Beiber bootlegged from an all-ages show. She touches his limp penis. He brushes against her giant pubic retro-bush. Simultaneously, they both hitch with a sob and rush off to update Twitter. This is the most successful sexual encounter either have ever experienced.

      1. No wonder all of the cute hipster girls I see on the metro always look vaguely frustraited.

      2. You people want ART? THIS^^^^^

        SF, again another masterpiece. you need a book.

        1. And here I thought the edge had come off of Nutra-Sweet’s razor sick wit. But it remains sharp and twisted as ever. A veritable North Star of deviancy!

    3. “he probably gets laid alot more often than many posters here.”

      That’s probably why he became a puppeteer. I understand that sex dolls have come a long way in recent years.

  15. OWS is just the gift that keeps on giving. Just when you think that you’ve managed to wring all the hilarity out of it, you read an article like this.

  16. Everyone there is a puppet. They don’t need him.

  17. Oh sure, focus on the guy who sticks his hand up dolls. But what about the Occupier who got an expensive engineering degree that he couldn’t use? Or the out-of-work protester who took out loans for that unusable business or nursing degree?

    1. My fiancee is getting paid to get her Mech E masters. If you can’t get a job as an engineer today you’re fucking retarded. I know that not everybody can do math and stuff but graduating with a nursing degree isn’t so hard and it’s the same deal. I’m not sure a business degree (at least an undergraduate one) is all that useful though. It’s basically watered down economics/accounting degree.

      1. I think it is a joke.

        1. I know it is, I’m just adding my 2 cents. It’s one of the frustating things about these protesters with their worthless degrees.

          1. yea, as soon as i saw unusable nursing degree, it screamed spoof

            1. You could just check the handle.

              1. yea, with a handle like ‘fist of etiquette’ the SCREAMs subtle irony, like a Spinal Tap album “smell the glove”


                but he/she/it is a good poster, in retrospect

          2. They are not worthless. The puppeteer degree got Reason thousands of page impressions and advertising fees. May have sold a hoodie or three.

  18. While not as hilarious, USA Today a week or so ago highlighted the plight of a young woman who had $50K in student loan debt…to pursue her dream of acting.

    Much to her dismay, it wasn’t so easy to keep up with the debt working her minimum wage job which was all she qualified for after spending $50K going to acting school…

    Are these really the best examples they can come up with?…

    1. Not seeing many history degrees on the protest lawn. They are pouring drinks for these no-tipping clowns.

      1. People with history degrees tend to be aware that their job options are pretty limited.

        1. Yeah, all the history majors I went to school with knew they were going to end up either teaching, or doing something else completely. In fact, in the mortgage department at my bank, there are three history degrees: me, another loan officer, and an underwriter.

          It’s not a degree you pursue because it’s a “passion”, it’s a degree you pursue because, so long as you enjoy reading, it’s easy enough and gets you that piece of paper with a minimal number of math/science classes.

          1. History degree represent! No, but seriously, teaching prep school all the way, after I work in the real world for a while.

          2. Yeah, useless majors aren’t so bad if you have other skills and know how to work. I’m a math and philosophy major and I work in robotics and make furniture out of wood.

        2. My wife’s former teaching assistant’s daughter (yes, my wife’s a dreaded public school PRE-K teacher) graduated recently with a History degree. She now wants to teach, but didn’t take any teaching courses. Her mother’s been a TA for 20 YEARS and apparently it never occurred to her, her parents, or her advisers that perhaps she should combine history with education.

    2. $50,000 in debt and an acting degree sounds like a recipe for a new porn starlet.

    3. I taught at an acting school here in H’Wood last year, and I kinda felt bad for the kids. There were a couple that were good dancers, and one or two who figured out how to get by doing voice work, but most of those kids will be lucky to land a toothpaste commercial in their whole lives.

      Did not stop the school from cashing their checks, however.

      1. There’s tons of these types of school here (and in many other places, too.) Film schools, writing schools, comedy schools, animation schools . . .

        It’s sad seeing people live off others’ dreams, like what this puppet school did . . .

        But caveat emptor.

  19. Off topic, but it looks like the new Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 game is casting their most sinister villians yet:

    In Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Patriots, Team Rainbow faces a new and very real threat called the “True Patriots,” a highly-trained, well-organized revolutionary group that claim the American government is irrevocably corrupted by greedy politicians and corporate special interests. The True Patriots will do whatever it takes to reclaim their country. Playing as Rainbow, players will face critical scenarios that will require them to make tough ethical decisions in order to stop this new breed of terrorists.

    1. Rainbow 6

      Is that Tonys unit?

  20. First they came for the puppets, and I did nothing because WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK ABOUT PUPPETS??????!!!!!!!!!!

      1. But do you hear them speaking out?

        1. Their silence is their cry.

        2. That would violate the Mime Directive.

      2. Learn the words.

  21. I can’t believe Mike Riggs blogged about a guy with an advanced degrees in puppetry and didn’t use this graphic:


  22. Listen everyone, in the spirit of OWS (and struggling puppeteers everywhere), let’s forgive this man’s debt. What’s $35,000, anyway?

    1. Intern fail…

  23. WTF is it with lefties and puppets?! I remember looking at photos of anti-nuke marches back in the 80s and they would have these giant stupid puppets.

    And I know, absolutely know, that this nitwit looked at the same photos and said “Right On. Puppets are where It Is At.”

    1. When the left takes over the puppeteers will be elevated to the positions in society that they rightly deserve.

      1. I, for one, welcome our new puppet overlords.

    2. I think the right-wing equivalent is the American flag.

      How do we stop out-of-wedlock pregancies? More patriotism!

      How do we control a ballooing deficit? Flag-burning amendment!

    3. I don’t know. I used to go to Bread and Puppet up in VT and I couldn’t figure it out then either. I mostly went for the acid and the free-spirited hippie chicks. They did usually set at least one giant puppet on fire, so that was cool.

      1. They did usually set at least one giant puppet on fire, so that was cool.

        …or at least a good start!

  24. I’ve obviously never seen this guy’s work, but if his MFA in puppetry has provided him with the same level of skill as every artist I know with a degree in art, I’m sure he sucks.

    1. you must not know anyone that went to an actual art school.

      1. You must like shit that sucks.

        1. no, I went to one of the top art schools in the country and know people who make all kinds of amazing art(not just conceptual PoMo crap). Now I will agree that with rare exception a degree in art from a university is completely worthless.

          1. like aeon flux (animated) did you like that? A buddy of mine was an artist on that back in the day. Now he works on Futurama and used to work for ILM. fucking philistines.

          2. When I trash talk art majors, I’m mostly thinking of a handful of girls I’ve dated or known who went to regular old Universities. Some of them are elementary school art teachers now, but most do absolutely nothing with their degrees.

            But I’m also thinking of a local professor who’s work I can’t stand and a teacher I had in high school (great teacher, boring artist) who both graduated from Kansas City. I know there are great artists who do go to art school, and I’m mostly just kidding with this shit, but I still have a hard time believing the majority of art school graduates are in the same league as your friend. Then again, I wasn’t an art major and I didn’t go to art school.

            1. You can pretty much tell if the person sucks by whether they say that they majored in art or went to art school. Everyone in art school majored in art so it’s kind of pointless to menion it. As far as quality goes, the majority of art schools like ArtCenter, RISD, Pratt, Otis, Parsons, etc possess an amazing amount of incredibly hard working and talented people.

              As an example of the expected work ethic, one time there was a classmate that asked an instructor how we were expected to finish a project that was supposed to take 3 weeks in the shortened amount of time (1week) that we had available. The instructor replied, “get some benzedrine or coke or something and stay up for a week straight like i did at Pratt after I got out of the Korean War.”

          3. RISD is a fucking good school btw. and responsible for a lot of great creative talent, not to mention the talking heads got their start there

        2. Or you are an idiot who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  25. Can’t wait until NPR gets a hold of this story.

  26. Can’t decide who I like more, Puppet Joe or Ketchup:


    1. I love it when she says “i’m female bodied.”

      You can hear everyone in the audience whispering “barely.”

      1. Ketchup?!

        This just can’t be real! It is unpossible for human beings to be so ignorant, so self-unaware!

        This is just a spoof to make the OWS people look stupid. Please, Science, let it be a spoof.

        We are so fucked.

        1. Re: Ketchup. This must be the precious Millenial trophy winner profiled by Chris “Chicken Little” Hedges in one of his regular spasms for that truthy web site.

  27. Allow me to assist you, Marcel….

    “I have to build as many giant puppets fire-belching cop-car-crushing killer robots as I can to help this thing out

  28. … working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes …

    I call bullshit. There aren’t that many kids interested in taking drama class.

    1. Sounds like a class size of 15 is more than this doofus can take.

  29. An out of work puppeteer Occupying Wall Street?

    Like a real life Matryoshka…

  30. “I have to build as many giant puppets as I can to help this thing out?people love puppets!”

    No. No they don’t.

    1. Puppets ain’t nothin’ but mimes on a string!

  31. Go to most large state universities and you will find all kinds of programs for which there are very few actual jobs available for graduates.

    Just as an example – and I only use them because I am a graduate and and familial with the school – take USF (University of South Florida).


    One such major is “Classics”. Here is their description: “History often repeats itself. To understand the present, it is helpful to look to the past. The study of Classics embraces the history, politics, language, religion, economics, literature, law, mythology, philosophy, science, art and architecture, daily life of ancient Greece and Rome. The Major program leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree offered in Classics is designed to meet the needs of students who desire competence in Latin and/or Greek and a broad understanding of ancient culture and literature. The major is of particular interest to students who wish to teach the languages, to those who plan graduate study in a humanistic discipline, and to those who want an undergraduate major which focuses on the ancient civilizations which are the cornerstone of the Western tradition. The major in Classical Civilization is a liberal arts degree and is therefore excellent preparation for professional schools.” I would have LOVED to have this as my major and if college were free I probably would have. But even their own literature states these as the careers: Art Critic, Curator, Antique Dealer, and Historian.

    Really? How likely is a newly minted Classics major to get into one of those fields?

    1. Fill out the application at the History factory.

    2. It wouldn’t be a terrible degree to have if you were planning on going to law school afterward.

    3. As an under graduate degree it is okay if you put it with some kind of math or business minor or double major. You can then go to grad school in something useful. If you learn latin and greek and read all of that stuff, you will be able to read and write at a pretty high level. It is probably the best liberal arts major you can get. As far as getting a PHD, forget it. You will end up doing post docs teaching for nothing your whole life.

    4. fwiw, historically speaking, college was (at least a liberal arts degree) not about giving one a marketable talent/vocation.

      that’s what TRADE SCHOOL was for.

      college was for

      people who could afford it and wanted a “liberal education” (in the classic sense), a prerequisite for certain graduate “trade schools” of sorts (e.g. medical school), etc.

      nobody thinks, or should think, that graduating with a MA or a BA god forbid in philosophy means that Rand Corporation is going to be knocking your door down for their latest 120k per year staff philosopher position.

      college was never sufficient nor necessary to live a successful middle class life in the USA.

    5. I minored in History, but I majored in Finance. And, of course, went to law school.

      History is doable if you do very well and get the PhD. After that, it goes downhill very quickly.

    6. History and Philosophy undergrad. With a minor in booze, pot, and skanks.

      Then law school.

      1. You can major in anything and go to law school. Even puppetry.

        1. i majored in philosophy too. plan was either rock star, or law school.

          1. and you ended up a fucking cop?

            1. yea. and considering nearly every lawyer i know hates his job, and i love mine. i’m glad about the choice i made.

              again, *if* i could have been successful (and who knows – luck plays such a huge part) as a musician, it would PROBABLY be more fun.

              guys like duff mckagan who made it through can look back

              or then there is the mythical wunderslash.

        2. Imagine calling a lawyer from jail and having some Jeff Dunham wannabe show up.

    7. Some observations: Up until the 20th century, all college (and pre-college) education involved the classics, at least in the west. Grammar school was where you learned Latin and Greek grammar, not English grammar (it was assumed that you would know the language you spoke from birth). I would argue that many of the people who went to college pre-1900 were much more educated than those today. Look at the entrance examination for colleges in the 19th century, and ask yourself how many high school students could pass them today. Very few, I’d say.

      But only a tiny percentage of the population went to college then. There was no prevailing idea that everyone should go. College was not designed to get a job, at least not as a primary goal. It was to foster the mind of a free man. That is why we call it a liberal education, it is for the vir liber.

      But the 20th century fucked it all up. College was for everyone. It became glorified trade school. As a result, standards lowered, and the classics were dispensed. What the practical result of this has been on education and society as a whole, I’ll leave you to judge.

  32. You know, I had my problems with the books, but the central conceit of The Unincorporated Man is really not a bad one. Basically, until you actually earn money, you pay for thing with shares of your future earnings.

    Imagine if colleges only got paid by producing successful people? The Puppetry degrees and the like would evaporate.

    1. I doubt even Jim Henson Majored in puppetry, but I’m too lazy to check it out.

      1. University of Maryland. Started in studio arts, then eventually got a BS in Home Economics.

        Turns out if you want to make puppets, it helps to know how to sew.

    2. If by evaporate you mean burst into flames after being doused with gasoline and tossed a lit road flare, then I am with you.

    3. That’s an interesting point because, as of now, colleges really have no stake in whether or not you are employable after you graduate.

      1. Yeah, they are only worried about how that might effect future enrollment. So they lie their fucking asses off in job placement stats. $40,000 theatrical lighting degree? Successful in finding a part-time job at Kroger? “We placed a graduate!”

        1. At least you can probably get a job with a degree in technical stuff. There is a lot of work in TV and film production.

          1. it’d be better if there was a apprenticeship instead of a degree though.

          2. If you somehow are able to get into the union. Tough to crack into TV/film production as well.

      2. but they sure are big fans of risk retention for the private sector.

    4. That is pretty much what student loans are. The problem is that the universities are not making the loans, you the tax payer are. The colleges are taking their money and laughing.

    5. Wasn’t that part (specifically referencing college) inspired by a quotation from Milton Friedman? Also, the third book has apparently abandoned all ideology in the quest to tell a better space opera.

  33. Art Critic, Curator, Antique Dealer, and Historian.

    They forgot freelance tour guide.

  34. Theres a great scene in “This Film is not yet Rated” where Matt & Trey explain why the sex scene in the unrated version is so long. They figured if they made it as long and disgusting as possible, when the MPAA told them to cut it they could do so and end up with the scene they originally wanted.

    1. Anticipate the regulation and play to it, nice!

      1. This sad thing is the MPAA is only a de facto regulator. It was created out of fear of actual censorship but now that the 1st amendment is better protected it is not really necessary. It has morphed into something even less accountable than the government. The difference between a pg-13, R or X rating can be quite arbitrary an dependant on having a big film compnay behind you. (see The King’s Speech with a laughable R rating) It’s a good documentary, definitely check it out.

        1. I don’t know. Anyone under the age of 18 could be severely affected by watching a brit stutter his way through a movie.

          1. I think he meant that it should of gotten an ‘X’, you know with all the fucking and everything.

  35. I am the Hindmost.

    I am the 99%.

    1. No, you’re the 1%. How about sharing the FTL love with us humans?

    2. Experimentalist or Conservative?

  36. puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand

    I’d think artistic puppeteering skills would translate directly from government-subsidized stage to fairground fried-butter-on-a-stick booth.

    “The butter is the flattened-on-all-sides Foucauldian regard in which patriarchico-capitalism constrains the castrating threat of noncisgendered femality, and the oil is capitalism.

    The stick is capitalism as it understands itself.

    The $2.99 challenges capitalism’s conception of the non-male body as a passive medium with no self-defining value or qualia, only an exchange rate determined minute by minute by the ever external-to and always objectifying gaze of the ‘market.’


    1. Fuck, cent. That is scary.

      Can you just rattle that shit off any time you want?

      1. Dude, cent is a fucking genius. WHEN HE TRIES!

        1. But you gotta watch out for his twin.

  37. I thought the Nation *supported* the OWS protests? Highlighting a guy like this seems like a bad call, PR-wise.

  38. Are OWS just puppets of ACORN?


  39. Then he should have gotten a masters degree in Puppetry of the Penis

    1. I got that at 14!

  40. What could a three-year curriculum of a MFA in puppetry possibly include?! Open for guesses:

  41. At what point do people’s innocence over colleges die? My father went college on the GI Bill in the early 70s and my mother didn’t go to college. Both of them and by extension I was very naive about college when I went in the late 80s and 90s. We really thought colleges were telling the truth and if you got a degree it would actually help you get a job. Stupid us. But they really did come from a different generation and hadn’t caught on yet. And I was a dumb kid who had no way to know any better.

    I have no excuse. If I have kids when they go to college, I am going to have no illusions and understand most of what they sell is bullshit. These kids’ parents are ten or fifteen years younger than my parents. How did they not know colleges were full of shit?

    1. Better your kid gets a decent skill learning job early.

  42. The website for the UConn puppetry program is also pretty enjoyable reading:


    Man, I’m enrolled in DA 5192(C), and it’s really kicking my ass.

  43. Another victim of Big Puppetry.

  44. Hey, I’d like to start an informal survey of sorts. Can any of you remember this kind of wholesome, folksy, empathetic portraiture ever being applied to people participating in any Tea Party protests throughout it’s history?





    1. I don’t have to read it to say no. Since the Tea Party has a big bright line of Jingoism, Nativism, racism running through it that the Occupy movement is missing. Just ax Lotion Man.

    2. To be fair, the Tea Party was pretty stingy with the giant papier mache puppets. It’s like Public Relations 101–taught by Edgar Bergen

  45. Puppetry is serious business you guys!

    Starts at about 3:15. Its a making of video about the show Crank Yankers.


  46. Threads like this are why I keep coming back here.

  47. All my friends in grad school were fellow students in math or science. We all had assistantships. I remember being quite shocked learning that some people (other than doctors or lawyers) actually paid to go to graduate school.

  48. “OMFG” is about all I can muster up.

  49. We should be looking at the regulations that make puppet courses 35k over two years.

    If you do like puppetry, go for it. But be careful how much you spend. Even if the economy was great and you did find a job, I suspect puppeteers don’t make much and it would take a long time to pay the money back. According to http://www.simplyhired.com/a/s…..ouston,+tx they make about 17k a year.

    And the article says subs make half of what full time teachers make. About 5% of Oakland teachers took the day off to protest yesterday (and used their vacation pay). They hired subs in place. I say let them protest everyday and hired subs all the time!

    1. Houston is cheap. I bet in high cost of living areas like New York, they make more.

      Like 19K a year.

      1. Woo hoo! Anyway, given the cost of living in NYC area, 19k is less than 17k in Houston.

  50. Bubbles doesnt even have his Grade 6, and he’s probably more into his work than this assclown.

  51. Get another job, puppet boy.

  52. I ask again, when are we going to see the large papier mache heads of Obama and Biden?

    Oh, also, Occupy Seattle has their own Fat-Cat bouncy house! Nothing warms the heart like watching Vegans jump around on a giant inflated cat.

    1. Obama heads would be racist. The papier mache heads of Cain are still being constructed.

    2. vegans, are almost always skinnyfat, and thus have shitty verticals, though.

      all that ultimate frisbee doesn’t help the fast twitch muscles either.

      1. har…

        following from my puppeteering-friend mention… I also have a friend who’s one of the best Ultimate players *in the world*


        Won the world club championships more than once. He ran a club team locally that I played a few times with, but I couldn’t keep up. They were fucking world-class athletes.

        I think your stereotype however is generally correct.

        1. yea. i mean carl lewis was a vegan iirc.

          they CAN be good athletes. i do enjoy making fun of them and they do GENERALLY tend to be skinnyfat and weak.

          but sure, the best at ultimate frisbee are going to be great athletes.

          in my field (explosive strength-speed sports) veganism is exceptionally rare.

          generally speaking, i prefer to eat like a predator, not prey… and train the same way.

        2. this was the guy


          … he had no shortage of twitch muscles.

          1. ok, that’s nice.

            but you wanna talk fast twitch muscles, you gotta talk sagir. guy barely looks like he could DEADLIFT 172.5 kilos. and he can snatch it! weighing under 77 kilos.

            that squat under during the snatch is so blindingly fast it boggles my mind

            THAT is an elite athlete.


  53. “I have to build as many giant puppets as I can to help this thing out!”

    Yes, that will certainly tear down the facade of the Global Capitalist Conspiracy.

    I have a friend who has worked as a professional puppeteer… and he learned on the job working for the Jim Henson company and doing odd gigs on NBC shows like Conan’s Late Night, doing traveling childrens theater, state-fairs in full-body suits, etc. I’d bet he’d out-puppet this motherfucker in a heartbeat.

    His work is noted here …


    … when he did 4 nights in a row in a whale suit. On this episode he was replaced by Will Ferrel. But they show clips of his skits (dumb, admittedly) @ 0:39 forward.

    He once told me a funny story about a guy who’d been working as Big Bird’s understudy for close to 20yrs… never really getting to make it to the Big Show, as the aging original Big Bird performer (who started in 1969) kept deciding not to hang up the yellow feathers and finally retire. He said the guy would hang around the set, hoping Big Bird would trip and break his neck, or hit a light and go up in a ball of flames. He despised Big Bird to his core.

    The original guy seems to still be kicking it =

    Apparently the guy who played Elmo was also something of a prima-donna, and he inspired a great deal of resentment among the original cast members. Or maybe I just imagined that because it helped round out the plot.

    I thought the story would make an awesome movie. In my version I think the understudy would actually begin plotting various ways of murdering the guy, eventually accidentally succeeding, but then eventually be undone by his own bloody ambition. Sort of like Macbeth, but in a bird suit.

    1. Isn’t that Death to Smoochie?

  54. because i KNOW reasonoids will appreciate a SWAT guy looking like a fucking moron


    1. bwahahahahahaaha!

      Its funny on at least 2 levels =
      1 – it opens *out*, and
      2 -it was unlocked

      I thought the guys who opened for him, and quickly resumed the “look serious! Hands behind back!”-posture provided some extra comedy value.

      All that was missing was a ‘hup!hup!hup!hup!hup!hup!hup!’ sound while making his Dynamic Entry.

      1. and you KNOW those guys were also thinking “what a fucking moron”

  55. He despised Big Bird to his core.

    Sounds a little like Death to Smoochy.

  56. Seriously. UConn has an entire degree program (both undergrad and grad) devoted to Puppetry.

    1. UConn will give a degree in anything.

    2. UConn will give a degree in anything.

  57. Who’s really pulling the strings here?

  58. And the Federal government has granted millions for puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  59. By Moira Macdonald

    Seattle Times movie critic

    Kevin Clash and Elmo meet a fan in the documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” Clash has been the voice of the “Sesame Street” monster since the early ’80s.
    Enlarge this photo


    Kevin Clash and Elmo meet a fan in the documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” Clash has been the voice of the “Sesame Street” monster since the early ’80s.


    Browse movies and showtimes
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    Movie review 3.5 stars

    ‘Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,’ a documentary by Constance Marks. 76 minutes. Not rated; suitable for general audiences. Varsity.
    Top comments Hide / Show comments
    quotes Gotta say whenever I hear Kevin as Elmo – my mind flashes back to the first time I saw… (November 3, 2011, by El Whacko) Read more
    Read all 1 comments > Post a comment >


    Should you be looking for a feel-good film this weekend, you can’t do much better than Constance Marks’ sweet documentary “Being Elmo,” about the man behind that helium-voiced “Sesame Street” monster, furry red Elmo. Kevin Clash, a quiet puppeteer from Baltimore, has been the voice and movement of Elmo since the early ’80s.

    “Kevin comes alive through Elmo,” says Clash’s mother in the film, and it’s true. Watching him manipulate the puppet for adoring children, a kindness and joy shines through. Clash always seems to be smiling when being Elmo, even though he knows he’s not on camera. We learn, in the film’s brief running time (narrated by Whoopi Goldberg), that Clash seems to have been born with a puppet on his hand. As a child, he crafted his first Muppet-like creature by cutting up his father’s raincoat. In adolescence, he staged puppet shows for neighborhood kids, and finally, as a young adult, achieved his dream: working on the TV show he adored while growing up in the ’70s.

    In “Being Elmo,” Clash takes us on a tour of the Muppet workshop (drawers full of eyes jiggle enticingly) and shows us a few tricks of the trade (always keep the puppet’s mouth slightly open, “for a little smile”). Late in the film, we tag along as he meets a fan: a little girl, herself a puppeteer, who knows the names of the faces behind every Muppet.

    Watching him with the child ? a mirror, perhaps, of the puppet-crazed kid Clash once was ? is quite touching, reminding the viewer of a quote from veteran “Sesame Street” puppeteer Martin P. Robinson, early in the film: “When a puppet is true and good and moving, it’s the soul of the puppeteer you’re seeing.”

  60. UConn will grant a degree in anything.

  61. “Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand.”

    Do hispters and innuendo know no mercy?

  62. http://www.drama.uconn.edu/Pup…..t_home.htm

    I didn’t make this up. When I called the school the very nice lady said when asked about finding a job with a Masters said, “Well you can go to work for the Muppets”

  63. For a positive comment about puppets, the “War Horse” stage production is pretty awesome

  64. My comment: This is what the left/Dems, and the government and media generally got people into the mindset during the days of inflationary flushness: that you can go into debt up to your eyeballs to “pursue your dreams” and somehow there would be a job for you, no matter if your dream was needed or not. My maxim for the day: decoupling of work and utility is a recipe for social and individual disaster. Oh, and the whole robo-going-to-College thing. Very bad. It kept people insulated from real life, institutionally dependent, and in thrall to the leftist bias in the required humanities courses.

  65. To summarize, Joe Therrien took an easy major and a teaching gig. He tried making it outside academia, but no one would voluntarily pay for his performances. So, he’s back in the public schools where 100 children are compelled to sit through his classes under the threat of police action should they try to escape the building. And the Left is sympathetic towards Joe Therrien for not getting paid more.

  66. Hey Puppeteers gotta eat… amI wrong. I thought all tou libertards were for the entrepreneurial spirit, following bliss without the evil gubment squashing your cherished dreams etcetera. Seems to me that’s what this guy did

  67. my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $81/hr on the internet. She has been fired from work for 7 months but last month her income was $8779 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read about it on this site NuttyRichdotcom

  68. Jesus you guys are such jerks! It’s like you purposely pick out the biggest losers in a crowd of big losers and proceed to mock them incessantly. Jerks. All of you!

  69. Masters! Masters! Where’s the dreams that I’ve been after…s?! Masters! Masters! Promised only lies!

  70. For a positive comment about puppets, the “War Horse” stage production is pretty awesome

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