Saturday, 20 August 2011

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

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you/Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to/Guide them along/So maybe I'll see you there/We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares/So go downtown/ things'll be great when you're/Downtown - don't wait a minute for/Downtown

There is a peculiar, and gleeful, fascination in receiving the news that the powers-that-be have been given a bloody nose. Where it has been predicted, even hoped for, there is an exultant joy, a sought-for objective affirmation of a subjectively perceived hidden law, that things in general seem to be breaking down. 

But following closely upon the heels of the ecstasies of schadenfreude arrive more sobering deductions: that really, this is the powers-that-be giving a bloody nose to itself; and what is being broken down are the human beings who are nothing but the mules of the the powers-that-be

Undoubtedly, in the context of riot, individuals make decisions over their personal participation, but such decisions are secondary to the force of an overriding logic which demands the involvement of those whose function it is to express the very behaviours that are already coded as the most grotesque and unacceptable. It is written into riots that somebody must behave riotously; those who are written into riots are expected to behave riotously.