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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The blog is coming back, and it's going to be a riot

Yes, summer is nearly over, and it's time for me to start putting all my festering thoughts into print. The comeback will be slow and erratic at first, as I decamp for another fall teaching stint in New York at the end of this month, but it will happen.

Meanwhile, why does it take an actor and comedian to talk sense about the London riots? Last week in the Guardian, Russell Brand, in a piece entitled "Big Brother Isn't Watching You", took issue with the oft-repeated notion that the riots were "mindless." Of course, we all know that, even the politicians and law-and-order types who think that a little jail time is all it will take to cure the ills of British society--or at least convince the more privileged strata of British society that something meaningful is being done.

There are many eloquent passages in Brand's piece, but let me leave you with this one. Please click the link and read the whole thing. And clear your schedules for regular reading sessions of Balter's Blog.



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.
If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together.

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