Edward T. Hall III, better known as “Ted” to his friends, has become one of loudest voices on Occupy Wall Street. The lanky redhead with the neon-splotched hat looks vaguely like a Scream-era Matthew Lillard, making him easy to identify in YouTube videos of protests, where he can frequently be found preaching to the crowd in almost every single instance of arrests during the occupation of Zuccotti Park.
Before becoming a member of OWS, Mr. Hall made a minor splash in the tabloids, when he jumped a JFK luggage carousal in an attempt to get around airport security without I.D. and talk to a girl.
So why is The New York Times making him the poster boy for the protest?
Last Friday, The New York Times posted a video in its City Room blog, called “Opposite Sides of the Protest Come Together, Briefly.” The video shows Mr. Hall discussing the movement with Jimmy Vivona, a stockbroker on Wall Street. The point of this get-together seems to be that Mr. Hall comes from money and a trust-fund (he’s the grandson of anthropologist Edward T. Hall), whereas Mr. Vivona pulled himself up by his bootstraps to make a lot of money on Wall Street, yet it’s Mr. Hall who is protesting as part of the “99%.”
Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?
Not for anyone who has done their homework on Mr. Hall, who has a history of general rabble-rousing. The first red flag in The New York Times article may be that Ted identifies himself as a “leader” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a leaderless collective. He jumps in front whenever a camera is on, and can be found in numerous videos and articles about Occupy Wall Street. (He even does it in Spanish!) But that doesn’t make him a leader, and it doesn’t necessarily help the cause.
A source on Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly had previously told The New York Observer that Ted was often on the front lines, trying to incite police officers by screaming at them and leading chants against them. An early ABC video of the protests seems to confirm this analysis.
(Note: We don’t know why Mr. Hall is identified as Collin Quinlivan in this video.)
He also doesn’t seem to be completely in his right mind.
It seems odd that Mr. Hall has not gotten himself arrested at the protests yet, seeing as that would appear to be his main goal. He was quoted in Capital New York saying the Brooklyn Bridge protests were “the best P.R.” the occupation could have gotten. He also is very well-versed in the psychology of protests:
“Counterinsurgency theory is based on securing peace in pocketed areas,” he said. “Basically, you occupy the space and you protect the citizens from the insurgents. That’s kind of what what we’re doing. We’re occupying a space and protecting the people from authority, from the police. And the more they fight us? The more they’re seen as the enemy.”
The jury is still out on Mr. Hall’s ability to get others riled up enough to get arrested, but we wonder if a trust-funder with a history of being on the wrong side of police lines should not be speaking for the OWS movement as one of its leaders in The New York Times.
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