August 15, 2011

England’s cultural rainbow went up in flames last week, and as the smoke clears and the fog stubbornly returns, the experts are once again arguing over exactly how it all started.

Few seem willing to discuss exactly how it all ended.

No one disputes that the flashpoint was the police shooting of Mark Duggan, who, like Rodney King, appears to have been a serial fuckup. Initial reports suggest Duggan was armed with a loaded gun at the time of his death. Although he’d shot four kids out of his bell-end before reaching thirty, he seemed more concerned with maintaining his gangsta persona of “Starrish Mark” than in raising his four li’l nippers to be anything more than scowling social parasites. Most of the media were keen to play up the “father of four” angle, while very few focused on the “nephew of Manchester ganglord” angle. Before being stabbed to death by a drug dealer, Duggan’s uncle, Desmond “Dessie” Noonan, bragged in a documentary called Gangster that “I’ve got a bigger army than the police. We have more guns than the police.”

To distill the matter, England’s recent riots were about cop violence in response to thug violence, which led to more thug violence, which led to more cop violence.

“Pacifists are unable to concede the eternal truth that violence only ever yields to greater violence.”

But to hear the paid experts try and make sense of it is like listening to a darkly absurd modern version of the “blind men and an elephant” fable. They haven’t a clue. In broad terms, their analyses are derived mainly from whether they deem thug violence or cop violence to be more justified.

For the “Hug a Thug” contingent, the rampant arson, looting, and violence weren’t “riots,” they were “civil unrest,” which sounds as benign as “polite insomnia.” They insist this was a people’s uprising in response to discontent, disenchantment, and disenfranchisement. They blame it on high unemployment rather than high immigration. They note that these children are “deprived” compared to many Britons but won’t tell you they’re filthy-rich compared to most Jamaicans. They claim that these youth have nothing to lose but won’t tell you they have nothing to offer, either. They’ll insist that these noble proletarian tadpoles are the victims of a lack of opportunity rather than a lack of ability. They’ll robotically repeat that these yoofs belong to the underclass without ever pondering the possibility that they may be under-intelligent. And even if the rioters are out on the street stripping white people of their clothes, it is the nonwhites who are racism’s true and only victims. These delusional social engineers are upset about slashed social funding in Parliament rather than slashed throats in Brixton’s council houses. Even though they likely never suffered so much as a nosebleed, they state with certitude that street violence is only a symptom of deeper social ills. It never seems to occur to them that entitled, unemployable, inarticulate shitheads might be the biggest social ill of them all.

If the riots were indeed about police brutality, Britain’s bobbies did a piss-poor job of being brutal over the first few days. After years of being systematically weakened and neutered and terrified of being tarred with the indelible “R” word by an Orwellian policy report that defined a “racist incident” as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person,” the police did little more than glumly stand by while they were openly taunted and the buildings burned. In some cases, they even retreated with their docile, tamed-shrew tails tucked firmly between their legs. Although water cannons were once gleefully used to scatter Irish nationalists, the fires this time blazed away as rioters threw concrete blocks at firemen.


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