Over the course of the past week, many of the world’s greatest thinkers have tried to make sense of the looting and rioting going on in London. But while countless have tried — there’s rarely any shortage of people, from the over-educated to those with few active synapses firing in the brain, willing to offer their opinion on this sort of thing — I’ve yet to hear or read anything on the riots that I’ve felt was poignant and penetrating.
Enter Russell Brand, author of “My Booky Wooky.”
Yes, that Russell Brand, the guy who was probably the only person to weigh in on the death of Amy Winehouse and left you feeling, “Yes…that’s it…what he said!” Today the Guardian published a mammoth op-ed (2000 words?) by Brand on the riots, and by-golly he’s gone and done it again. Russell Brand gets it.
The only question I can legitimately ask is: why is this happening? Mark Duggan’s death has been badly handled but no one is contesting that is a reason for these conflagrations beyond the initial flash of activity in Tottenham. I’ve heard Theresa May and the Old Etonians whose hols have been curtailed (many would say they’re the real victims) saying the behaviour is “unjustifiable” and “unacceptable”. Wow! Thanks guys! What a wonderful use of the planet’s fast-depleting oxygen resources. Now that’s been dealt with can we move on to more taxing matters such as whether or not Jack The Ripper was a ladies’ man. And what the hell do bears get up to in those woods?
However “unacceptable” and “unjustifiable” it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can’t justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.
Can we just give the man wagging his tongue in the gif Tom Friedman’s horrible, worthless New York Times column? Seriously.
Politicians don’t represent the interests of people who don’t vote. They barely care about the people who do vote. They look after the corporations who get them elected. Cameron only spoke out against News International when it became evident to us, US, the people, not to him (like Rose West, “He must’ve known”) that the newspapers Murdoch controlled were happy to desecrate the dead in the pursuit of another exploitative, distracting story.
Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively, “mindlessly”, motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that’s why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers.
These young people have no sense of community because they haven’t been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron’s mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there’s no such thing.
I can’t believe the guy in the HP TouchPad commercial below made so much sense of all this. What world am I living in?