Opinion: Occupy Pop Culture

"There's a storm coming… You will wonder how you thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."

That ominous prediction isn't a speech aimed at the Goldman Sachs office tower by an Occupy Wall Street speaker via the human microphone, nor was it a prophetic letter to the editor or protest sign held up by Zuccotti Park. It's the whispered threat Selina Kyle shares with Bruce Wayne in the newly-released trailer to the upcoming conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

Is Ms. Kyle - who Caped Crusader fans know without hesitation is the alter-ego for Catwoman - warning us as well that the language and themes of Occupy Wall Street are about to occupy our pop culture?

The Occupations themselves have had some ambivalence toward Big Entertainment. Although Catwoman herself has joined the protests - Anne Hathaway has been seen marching in solidarity - many OWS sympathizers criticized Mayor Bloomberg for arresting 700 protesters for crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, when the city willingly closed down the 59th Street Bridge for "The Dark Knight Rises" shoot days later. And when Law & Order created their own "Mockupy" set, real life Occupiers, well, occupied it

However much Occupy Wall Street doesn't want to be co-opted - by pop culture, commercialism or even other progressive institutions - it isn't stopping the culture-at-large from embracing the images and spirit of the movement. Part of it is the word itself: NPR chose "Occupy as its word of the year. The "Occupy X" meme has leapt beyond politics and protest - and everyone can now "occupy" something. (This year's annual SantaCon of mass hordes of drunken Santas in the streets of New York was affectionately and unsurprisingly dubbed "Occupy Santa.")

Part of it is the setting. There's something exciting about encampments - it's why OWS captured national attention to begin with. And it's probably why MTV has been rumored to consider a "Real World" series set in a camp.

But part of it is the message itself. When TIME named "The Protester" its person of the year, it was a reflection of an increasingly felt and expressed frustration with the separation between elites and regular folks, the uber-rich and the struggling, working family, the cronies and the commons. Call it inequality. Call it injustice. It's certainly, at long last, in vogue.

And while Occupy Wall Street may never lend its name to a mainstream movie or commercial ad campaign -- and some protesters may even resent such use -- it is a sign of success. A movement grows bigger than its organizers; it infects language and infuses the broader society. And when NPR, MTV, Santa Clause and Selina Kyle are all pulling from the same script, it means your message is getting heard.

Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."