Monday, 8 August 2011

Initial thoughts on London riots

There can be no excuse for the riots that are happening in London. I do not condone or apologise for those behind it. I will wait to do a longer follow up. One story though that made me think was about a random gang smashing a Halfords. A crowd gathered and a woman stopped a car and shouted - 'I want a SatNav'. Now this is just one story. It might not even be true. But one thing that is true is that this explosion of violence is directed as much against property as anything else. Part of this is looting for gain, but I feel there is something else going on too. Fear from bystanders is one facilitator (how else could twenty kids trash a street while fifty people film?), but is there also a sense in which people are lashing out, probably unconciously, at the symbols around them? In a world in which humans are largely reduced to consumers, shops and brands become objects of fetish and of hatred. You may long for the product, but you hate the provider and celebrate its downfall, in the same way a prisoner may rely on and hate his captor. I am not suggesting this is some moment of class conciousness or some other such nonsense. It is young people with no sense of belonging to society as a whole or the country. There is no excuse, but society cannot go on like this, and crass greed and consumerism, from the top to the bottom is part of the problem.

On the other hand, I also subscribe to the Southpark philosophy which states that one quarter of any population is an asshole. At least.

1 comment:

  1. Wholeheartedly agree. Hope all is okay where you are. I live in hope that some day us stupid monkeys will figure out that hitting stuff with sticks is not the best of ideas. Any ideas on how to help break the feeling of discontent in our over consuming never really nourished landscape?