Going Paparazzo

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 19, 2016

Micah M. White, center in white shirt, a founder of Occupy Wall Street movement, and a new Berkeley resident. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The co-founder of Occupy Wall Street was based in Berkeley where his wife took a post-doc in rhetoric.

During an Occupy General Assembly at Bank of America Civic center Plaza, Occupy’s wife was sitting on a popular homeless bench when I got off a shot from nearby. She saw me take the shot and demanded to know why.

“You’ve got a doctorate in Rhetoric, you ought to know,” I rhetored. Rhetoric, has nothing to do with this. Yet that’s what I said.

The rhetorician complained about me to her husband, Occupy co-founder, Micah M. White.

White wasted no time confronting me, demanding to know what journalism school I had attended. “University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana,” I bragged, (where I was a poor journalism student, even though I worked summers for my Springfield, Il hometown paper, one of “the worst in the state,” according to my professors).

Began the co-founder: “Of all the stories written on Occupy around the world, yours are the worst.” With all those stories out there, I was glad he’d singled mine out.

White had tried to lead the first Occupy Berkeley protest onto the Cal campus, but couldn’t rouse the troops.

White’s Berkeley Occupy was eventually supplanted by Occupy Cal, but by that time, White had become as irrelevant as Paul Revere. Still, at the Berkeley Daily Planet, where I was covering Occupy Berkeley, Ad nauseum, I had become interested in the Whites. My editor agreed that our readers would be interested that an Occupy founder had moved to Berkeley.

This was all too much fun to stop to debate ethics. At one point my editor tried to put me up to stalking White in the campus library.

The paparazzo shots of White’s wife were published in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

However, I can cite numerous examples of shots I declined to submit for publication—like the shot of a dead fireman’s son, himself a fireman, standing near his father’s fire engine, writing his eulogy.

There was the woman on the ground bleeding profusely from the temple at a street fair, the football players who asked not be photographed grieving for a fallen comrade, and the downed half-marathoner, who later died.

My shots of nudes, a strip-off at a campus Eucalyptus grove, were called “respectful,” by the event organizer.

There have been scores of incidents in which I have been hassled trying to get a shot.

Others want money for my right to shoot.

A Caffe Mediterraneum Medhead tells me that she “doesn’t care about the law; it’s wrong to invade someone’s privacy…” even on a public street.

Nagging concerns…nag.

Once upon a time, I was free of cares—and going paparazzo.

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