Musto Occupies 2011: A Rich Year for Gossip

Musto Occupies 2011: A Rich Year for Gossip
Photos by Chad Griffith

New York became fun again in 2011!

Thanks to a global economic meltdown! The lingering desperation in the air brought down our emotional walls, and New Yorkers became friendlier and more open than we've been in ages, most of us no longer propped up by elitism as we reached out to one another like we were having a massive midlife crisis together—in a good way.

Even better, activism replaced bottle service as we saw the rise of Occupy Wall Street, a grassroots movement hating on the corporate greed and corruption that has led to drastic social inequality, unemployment, and crappy pizza. The marchers stomped against financial institutions all over the city—and ultimately, the world—while the OWS home base at Zuccotti Park brought back a '60s-ish rebel-yelling community, complete with old-style folk singers, fringed ponchos, and new-style celebrity drop-ins. (What would an anti-bank protest be without Capital One spokesman Alec Baldwin? And what would a thriving home base be without capitalist giant Bloomberg clearing it the hell out, celebs and all?)

Donald Trump wanted Obama to show his birth certificate. America wanted Trump to stop showing his comb-forward.
Chad Griffith
Donald Trump wanted Obama to show his birth certificate. America wanted Trump to stop showing his comb-forward.
Charlie Sheen partied and pleaded as his career turned into a death watch.
Chad Griffith
Charlie Sheen partied and pleaded as his career turned into a death watch.


Like the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street targets the way our economy is run, but The New York Times took pains to point out that at least OWS is against the right people. That became clear with their detailed demands, like minimum wage for members of Congress and "removal and arrest of all CEOs responsible for the Great Recession." The generation being propelled into the hopelessness of someone else's making wasn't going to take it in a prostrate position, even if incidents of police brutality and neighborhood antagonism were trying to wet-blanket the excitement. "Get a job!" yelled the idiots, forgetting that this uprising was happening because there weren't any!

Well, at Least His Job Will Be Open

As unemployment stayed at unworkable levels, President Obama's popularity plummeted even more than my money-market fund. Still, he managed to squeeze some triumphs through the gridlock of our deadeningly partisan political system. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was shot down in September, finally closing one of the darker chapters in U.S. military history. (Do you really want to launch bogus wars, then hire a doorman to turn away soldiers based on whom they sleep with?) Whatever their sexuality, troops no longer had to keep fighting in Iraq, Obama mandating them home by the end of the year (though he had no jobs for them). And as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approached, Osama bin Laden was creamed in May, proving that Dubya hadn't really been trying all that hard—no, really!

In the midst of playing out all these life-and-death issues, the president had to make time to provide his long-form birth certificate to the world, so he could shut Donald Trump up for a second, generously not demanding that Trump show his immigration papers from Queens or his certificate from the Hair Club for Men in return.

That moment of diversionary absurdity would have been a perfect time for the entire planet to implode, but alas, everyone had to wait until May 21 for that to happen, according to fulminating radio host Harold Camping.

We dutifully packed our luggage and held on for the Rapture as promised, but Camping shockingly turned out to be wrong, so he simply rescheduled the end of the world for a later date! More packing!

As the globe kept spinning, the Republicans were forced to choose from a bevy of intolerant oddballs in hopes of regaining the White House and undoing whatever human rights advances had taken place in the past three years. Overexposed Sarah Palin wisely decided to stick to TV, by golly, but Michele Bachmann seized her chance at the Big Top while trying to live down mounting reports that the counseling clinic she and husband Marcus own has urged people to pray away the gay (something one wondered if colorful Marcus needed to start doing himself).

But you couldn't pray away Herman Cain, as the seeming joke candidate and his relentless 9-9-9 tax-overhaul plan gained prominence right next to Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and all the other nightmares. Cain (a/k/a "6-6-6") wouldn't go bye-bye even after old sexual-harassment charges surfaced around the same time his manager smoked during a badly conceived campaign commercial. When adultery claims hit the press, Cain still swore he was able, proving there was hope for Obama after all. But then he decided the bad press he was getting could hurt his wonderful family, so he went back to square 0-0-0 and dropped out. Not his actions, mind you—the write-ups about them! Family values are so vulnerable to being reported on!

Politicians Made for Strange Bedfellows

But these screechy hopefuls were behavioral icons compared with the year's truly self-destructing politicos, which we learned about thanks to Rupert Murdoch's nonstop phone hacking. (I mean hack coughing. Or maybe it was just WikiLeaked.) Cain's alleged antics paled next to those of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who 14 years ago fostered a love child with his hotsy-totsy housekeeper. The moment this tawdry news dribbled out, Maria Shriver said, "Hasta la vista, baby"; son Patrick Arnold Schwarzenegger changed his Twitter name to Patrick Shriver; and I turned my Jingle All the Way poster into a crotch guard for my Conan the Barbarian doll.

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