Saturday, 20 August 2011

Down town: 10 exercises upon the idea that rioters are produced by riots

"If ever,’ he said, ‘your heart has known the feeling of love. If you remember its rapture; if you have ever smiled at the cry of a new-born child; if any human feeling has ever entered into your breast, I entreat you by the feelings of a wife, a lover, a mother, by all that is most sacred in life, not to reject my prayer. Reveal to me your secret. Of what use is it to you?... Maybe it is connected with some terrible sin with the loss of eternal salvation, with some bargain with the devil... Think: you do not have not long to live, and I am ready to take your sins upon my soul. Only reveal to me your secret. Think that a man’s happiness is in your hands. Not only I, but my children, my grandchildren and great grandchildren will bless your memory and hold it sacred..."
The Queen of Spades

The moral flaw of ethics is its orientation towards actions. Ethics has no proper account of fate, it presumes a capacity in individuals to act otherwise. But the damned were never lost because of what they did. There was never a pact with the devil which did not merely require a signature on the document of what must be, and thus on what had always been. Malign acts are the outcome of some other flaw, belonging to a person’s occurence in the world as the wrong one, as the one who cannot be redeemed. Like Jane Greer’s femme fatale in Build My Gallows High, the individual ‘can’t help it’...  her caprice is her function. And so the August rioters did not choose to stage a revolt against the priorities of this society, they only manifested their inability to exceed its already established values. And thus, it had long been written that they must fall into expressing those conventions, albeit inappropriately. The rioters appeared innocently, fortuitously, at the crossroads where crime is a sort of conformity, and got caught up in a non-strategised, machiavellian function of the town planning of general governance. The rioters became another instrument of policing themselves.