In 1951 the play, “The King And I” premiered on Broadway, the third collaboration between Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The play had a three year run and in 1956 was made into a movie starring Yul Brynner as the King of Siam. The play has some wonderful songs and has been staged repeatedly in community theaters and in revivals almost non-stop since it’s first performance.
One of the songs that the king sings is entitled, “Is A Puzzlement”. He has hired an English school teacher to help modernize his view of the world which is, at the play’s beginning, very Siam-centric and to bring him into the modern world of the 1860’s in which the play is set. But the new ideas which Anna, the teacher brings to him are, in many cases, in conflict with what he has learned and believes. Yet, he sees some of the truth in what she tells him and he expresses his confusion in “Is A Puzzlement.”
This week Facebook began what Wall Street commonly calls its “Road Show” as it begins to gauge investor sentiment before it becomes a public company next week. The purpose of this “Road Show” is to determine how many shares will be issued and what the offering price will be. Current estimates are that the company will come to market with a value between $75 – $100 Billion, turning founder Mark Zuckerberg who will retain a 51% controlling interest into another member of the elite 1%.
As I thought about this remarkable public offering, the largest in history, I wondered how the OWS movement might respond to this and to the events which led up to it. For some reason, the king’s song from the “King and I” came to mind.
In speaking with a number of people who are part of that movement I realize that there is a lot of frustration about the fact that many are mad because they made the effort to earn a college degree, now have the expense of that education hanging over their heads and are unable to find a job using that education. I can understand that frustration. Three of the members of the elite 1%, Bill Gates of Microsoft Corp.; the late Steve Jobs of Apple, Inc.; and now Mr. Zuckerberg of Facebook were all college dropouts. It doesn’t seem fair and truly, “Is A Puzzlement.”
But there is something that the members of OWS can do to express their sense of unfairness. They can turn off their computers, whether Windows or Apple-based; refuse to buy or use any I-Phones or other Apple products and resign their membership in Facebook. Since by their own admission they are the 99% and since these companies all depend on large numbers of users for their continued success that should have a profound effect on all these companies’ bottom lines. Otherwise, OWS members are supporting some of the various entities that they so abhor.
Will this happen? Will the members of OWS honestly live up to their rhetoric?
Is a puzzlement.