Gaston Gordillo goes deep:
The Vancouver riots were a moment of rupture of the sanitized image that our local elites cultivate about Vancouver The Beautiful as a global brand. The corporate media lost control of the huge collective energies it contributed to releasing on the streets by glorifying sports as the main source of collective fulfillment. The media and all the decent citizens now blame the riots on “criminals” and “anarchists” and feel good about the “real Vancouver” that allegedly had nothing to do with them. And the usual suspects are now calling for a bigger and more repressive police state, with more cops and more restrictions on the use of public space. The mandate is clear: Vancouver The Beautiful, global jewel of the Pacific Rim, had nothing to do with the riots that violently emerged from within its urban core.
Jon Beasley-Murray is embarrassed:
This week a small group of people have profoundly embarrassed some of us here in Vancouver. They have behaved unthinkingly, in a sort of mob mentality, with their small-town ways and their hysteria fanned by the local media. They cheer on violence and gurn for the cameras. And before that, there was a riot.
…A moment’s reflection would reveal that the riots tell us something about the city, a city that is rather more real than the so-called “real” Vancouver. The post-riot discourse also tells us something, of course. As UBC student Miriam Sabzevari eloquently observes, it tells us that there is a significant minority who “have a need to feel morally superior to others—and when an opportunity comes to bask in our superiority, we actually become quite relentless in it.”
And Alexander Dawson wants the adults to take responsibility for what they did:
The problem in this instance has been that we have seen absolutely no leadership from our politicians and police agencies, who instead of owning up to their responsibility for the riot (yes, the looting was on the looters, but the riot as a whole was the responsibility of those who thought it a good idea that we invite 200,000 people to an enclosed space downtown, get them drunk, and then fill them with adrenaline), have stoked an disturbing local tendency to somehow accuse the rioters as not being truly Vancouverites, or true hockey fans (balderdash! Come to Granville St. on any Saturday night, and you will see the same people, doing much the same), to blame anarchists (Mayor, please define the word, anarchist!), and then to act surprised when things go sideways.
So, in the spirit of it all, especially the spirit of misguided retribution, I would like to encourage our mayor to turn himself into the police.
…The Mayor, the Premier, and the chief of police have insisted that all those responsible turn themselves in, and face the harshest consequences possible. Some local residents, with relatively little forethought, seem to have brought it on themselves to turn in their own children, likely costing those children enormously in the future, in spite of what was an idiot moment of drunkenness – a moment of drunkenness no doubt fueled by the mayor’s reckless behavior in this matter.
The mayor may indeed claim that he did not intend to cause a public disorder, but his claim is no better than the claim of the drunken driver who maims an innocent bystander.
Me… I’ve been mulling various follow-ups to my previous confused and muddled first impressions… Keira said to me yesterday that the riots have not ended yet, they have just mutated into a different form. And watching the virtual ‘public shaming‘ movement taking place online… from people so intoxicated by anonymity and a sense of impunity that they openly defy the police themselves… I don’t think I can come up with anything that captures the essence so well as this old movie clip:
(This one comes to mind as well.)
In any event, tonight Gaston, Jon, Alec and myself are set to convene in a suitably dingy beer hall to discuss these and perhaps related matters. If they agree, and the stream is free, the proceedings will be ‘cast on #ds106radio sometime shortly after 9:00 PST… You can listen here.