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The Thinking Insomniac

by ceebs Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:23:44 AM EST

suggests that in the past several days we have seen a variety of causes suggested for the English riots ranging from cuts to single mothers, from social media to welfare dependence, from racism to weak policing from video games to consumerism, from rap music to social exclusion. As of yet nobody knows, research has not been done and anybody who tells you any of the causes is certain is speaking from personal prejudice rather than knowledge and so can be laughed at. So let me suggest some alternative causes, after all I've as much a chance as any other halfwit commentator of being right.

front-paged with a slight edit by afew


1)    Jeremy Clarkson

Fronting a program that is basically an hour long advert  for  facile individualism,  interspersed with how much fun it is to destroy things and set them on fire, under the disguise of being a combined motoring journalism and entertainment show. Blowing up caravans and trains and tents and anything that doesn't meet a real man's idea of the Lifestyle of choice is seen as a good thing. Could this macho culture not have contributed to the socialising of the lets smash thigs up and set things on fire idea (lets face it most boys grow out of setting things on fire before they have left the first half of their teens, about the time they discover girls, but then I suppose there is a homoerotic undercurrent to the boys together top gear gang, in much the same as there is in local rugby clubs)

2)    TV Advertising

The average person watches 17,520 adverts a year, all highly tuned to tell you you're not worthy because you haven't bought item X. so unless you ascribe to the theory that adverts are entirely informative, and are only there to demonstrate the choice available to consumers, and in no way place said consumer under any psychological pressure,  in which case you would in no way expect anything bad to result from the wall to wall exposure to brands . If you thought in another way, you might expect, periodically for people to go off the deep end as they thought they would never manage to lay their hands on the latest dishwasher or whatever had been mentally thrown at them.

3)    TV in general

Now I know that a variety of people see tv as the sedative of the modern world, but there are some factors that might lead you to think otherwise. TV is made by middle class people, for middle class people.  What is on it? Endless hours of middle class programs about middle class concerns, and when working class people are on, they are frequently caricatures, leaving dismal lives. If not a dismal life then they are portrayed as borderline criminal. Everywhere else families illustrated are nice and middle class, ideal to not offend and fit round advertised products.
 Daytime television, hours of programming consists of programs about selling the collection of antiques you have, real life police shows with the friendly honest coppers chasing the underclass, a program about people claiming benefits illegally, whereas all the heroic people are ones struggling bye not collecting things they are entitled to. If the viewers of daytime television had marched to the tv stations and set them on fire after the average morning, Cameron would have had to got up and said it's a fair cop.

4)    Tabloid newspapers

While it might seem that the current Murdoch scandal might see journalists paraded through the streets and thrown in the cells, the underclasses might see them as shutting the papers down and doing a runner before the justice they deserve arrives.  Having had 30 years on average of being called workshy scum it might be they've finally become convinced and so are going to act out the nightmare fantasies of the Daily Mail leader writer

5)    Drugs

Im not suggesting that the night this all kicked off, rioters threw half a sweet jar of pills and chemicals down their throats and went out to cause mayhem.  What I am saying is that these riots are the inevitable, sooner or later result of prohibition.  Over the past several days we have had a variety of experts pontificating on broken window theory, and how graffiti and litter reduces peoples intention to obey the law and authority, as they can see that low level crime is not worth the authorities time, effort and money to deal with, this low level  crime then occasionally bursts out into riot every now and then, when activities by the authorities or groups inside the community trigger it. in the UK today there are between 2 and 5 million regular drug users, if you go by official figures, and those figures are widely acknowledged as being if incorrect, then only on the low side.  Those five million people are people who are used to disobeying the law, these numbers are only going to rise, as drug use has a much higher penetration into the younger generations. The war on drugs is lost, and the sooner the government understands this and starts treating it once again as  medical problem the better.  Till then these people are the broken windows in our communities, by nature of their exclusion from the law abiding society,  a law that widely flouted shows that society is not serious in enforcing laws, shows that one can disobey without consequence.
I am not suggesting a crackdown, any government that even considered such a policy and then thought that it had  a chance of success shows a level of delusion that should be treated  with largactil, you're talking about between 15 and 20 percent of your working age  population, that you will need to take out of circulation, The only other option is full legalisation, it's the law that's the roblem not the substances themselves.

6)    A culture of celebrity

Programs like Big Brother, and tabloid newspapers celebrity articles and the national lottery  have built up a get things for nothing culture in our society, 25% of teenage Boys and 40% of teenage girls rated being famous as their aim in life, of the girls, the vast majority, saw their route to fame as being to get themselves a footballer. Now there aren't that many premiership players available, and so a vast reservoir of youth who don't need to learn because theres a mythical opportunity out there to strike it lucky, be on a show, sleep with a sportsman. And these are the people who will be disaffected when their lottery numbers don't come up and  feel aggrieved at not getting their turn in the spotlight in much the same way as the older generation are still bruised at the lack of a flying car and jetpack.

So there's some alternate causes, some amusing some semi-serious, and each of which as likely as some that have been thrown out as explanations by self-interested groups in the last few days.

Feel free to add your own

Display:
I will come and look at this again when I have finally got some real sleep and see if it makes any sense

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 12:44:31 AM EST
Great, great diary, you definitely express all my convictions on the matter, and much better than i could have.

some of the best analysis/social commentary ever in one diary, on ET (or anywhere else for that matter).

as for the washing machines 'thrown' at the disaffected, i think it's more 'dangled in front of, yet forbidden till you pass the money test'.

no-one will ask you if you got the money from beating up grannie, but the washing machine is yours...

excellent points about drugs causing otherwise law-abiding citizens to despise the stupidity of current laws. once over the line into so-called criminality, the rest flows easier.

what's the real crime here is that there is no nation effort to solarise economies, ramp up insulation programs etc, which would incentivise the youth by making them part of the solution, rather than another mindless consumer unit with FAIL written on their foreheads, as the current system does.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Im not sure I got it right in a lot of places, the ending of the top gear bit could be seen as being anti-gay, and if I edited it i'd rewrite that

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
although having said that, it's a rewritten version of my notes, wherein it looked even worse

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it is homophobic to note the homoerotic tendencies in the all-male perpetual-adolescent environments. Homoeroticism and homophobia as well as misogynism appears to be fundamental bricks in a certain kind of toxic environments. Frank Herbert noted similar things and called the male army rapist at its essence.

Might be another diary, but then again you cast a wide net here.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 18th, 2011 at 08:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, no, it's space aliens space storms.  Yeah, that's it.

Riots, wild markets: Did space storms drive us mad? | Reuters

Some academics have claimed that such geomagnetic storms can affect humans, altering moods and leading people into negative behavior through effects on their biochemistry.

Some studies have found evidence that hospital admissions for depression rise during geomagnetic storms and that incidents of suicide increase.

A 2003 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that such storms could affect the stock market, as traders were more likely to make pessimistic choices.

"Unusually high levels of geomagnetic activity have a negative, statistically and economically significant effect on the following week's stock returns for all US stock market indices," the authors found in their report.



Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 07:55:15 AM EST
No the real problem is that parents aren't allowed beat their kids up enough. Apparently.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:22:23 AM EST
Have to get back to first causes, and the first cause of Everything Wrong is 1960s boomer-generation permissive liberalism. Which explains why parents no longer flog their children.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I blame the softness brought about by the end of the reign of the late queen Victoria

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanie Phillips, I command you to leave afew's body

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<screeeech!!!!>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 10:42:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We in the US are spared Jeremy Clarkson and have only an attenuated version of your tabloid culture, but, as to TV adverts, without the mute button I would have even more difficulty controlling my impulse to smash things and the content supported by the adverts is equally poisonous drivel. I think we invented prohibition and the war on drugs, with even more baleful effects and the culture of celebrity is equally bad, if not worse here.

So, perhaps it is only the widespread, delusional, triumphal belief in "American Exceptionalism" that keeps the US from being similarly burnt down. Here the self identification with being "middle class" appears much broader than in the U.K. And perhaps Obama's play acting at being the champion of the downtrodden fools enough of those downtrodden to defuse the explosion from what is truly happening to what was once a credible perception of employees moving into the middle class.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:23:37 AM EST
well I only see an attenuated version of US culture, but that culture of exceptionalism does make you all seem far more gullible than us Europeans :)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't have the tabloids, or the drinking "culture" or the whole YOB thing, either. We have, I think, more of a gang problem, but gang violence may tend to be concentrated within that community...
by asdf on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:10:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have, I think, more of a gang problem

It's pretty disappointing just how bad the Cripps and Bloods are at 'investment' compared to Goldman Sachs and the Death Star Fed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 12:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wachovia and BAC, at a minimum, did pretty well by the drug trade, though.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 01:07:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Clarkson!" is a valid reason IMO. Smashing up things and playing with fire and explosives is fun. A bit of cheap shopping after that and it's a great day.

The days of building rocket launchers are over for me but who can rule out a nostalgic return to happier juvenile times. Or this could have been an exciting bout of physicality - a reprieve from living inside your head all the time. Mental mono-stimulation does take its toll. What kind of adventure is left today? Excluding the ones prearranged and paid for (also called vacations).

by epochepoque on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A friend made a "potato" bazooka using hair spray, a barbeque lighter and some 2" PVC tubing that would reliably shoot a potato over 100'. It was great fun. I am somewhat surprised not to have seen adaptations appear in some of the "events" we have seen this year.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 01:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as to TV adverts, without the mute button I would have even more difficulty controlling my impulse to smash things and the content supported by the adverts is equally poisonous drivel

I switch channels. And developed a sixth sense to switch back right at thew end of the commercial break. When I'm forced to watch commercials in company, most of it sounds and looks like brainwashing and annoys me tremendously. The few that stand out, for being genuinely funny, tend to fail to get me to remember the advertised brand. (The one I remember most was for a chocolate, an employee answering letters from customers with the punchline that if the customer doesn't like the wrapping then he shouldn't eat it, but I don't remember the brand.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 06:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the advertisers have adapted to the mute button. If you have heard the ad a few times it is amazing how well the lines coming out of the mouths of the actors are lip read. It is brainwashing and it requires mental energy to resist that is comparable to the energy it takes to work through physical pain. (I joke that I can divert energy to the shields so long as I have the energy.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 02:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its also amazing how much the basic ad message gets through at 2x fast forward, until you remember that they are aiming to get it through 2x fast forward. And if you do 4x fast forward, you sometimes overshoot and have to rewind.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 02:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been disconnected from 'live' TV for many years. If people alert me to specific programs, they can usually be found online for a week after.

I do watch DVDs (with a good sound system) - which means I rarely get to the movies either, although I follow what's released, mainstream and otherwise. I almost never buy newspapers and buy no magazines (unless travelling).

For an hour most mornings, I scan various online tradmed news sources and professional opinion blogs + google further info. Basic news, local and world, takes max 15 minutes. Then I check FB, ET and another Finnish forum for article recommends, and zeitgeist connections. Then catch up with project email.

 In the evenings, it's more entertainment-based, or channels that are not directly connected to work.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Aug 21st, 2011 at 07:29:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this simple procedure to work extremely well to avoid TV ads:

Step One: unplug the TV cable or satellite cable from the TV.

Step Two:  measure 18" (45cm) from the base of the plug and place a mark.

Step Three: with a pair of wire cutters or dykes cut the wire at the mark made in Step Two.

Step Four: telephone your cable of satellite provider to come and pick their junk up, you're done with being verbally and visually assaulted in your own home and you're canceling your subscription.

Step Five: join Netflix® where you can get the programs commercial free for a lot less money than your previous cable/satellite fee.

Step Six:  after a six months or so desensitizing period, wander over to a neighbor's and watch an hour, or so, of TV.  I guarantee you'll be appalled at the horrendously & truly obnoxious & annoying ads & will be grateful you no longer subject yourself to sitting through that shit.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 09:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the purpose of the 45cm cut?
by njh on Sun Aug 21st, 2011 at 06:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Snark, mostly.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 21st, 2011 at 11:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
when working class people are on, they are frequently caricatures, leaving dismal lives. If not a dismal life then they are portrayed as borderline criminal.

You've neglected soap operas, particularly DeadEastenders and Coronation St. Wherein bunches of middle class actors with good diction roughen their accents and "slum" it a bit while repeating lines such as "'ere, woss goin' on ?" and "don't worry, let's have a nice cup of tea".

They're largely a modern dress version of what 1950's Ealing studio type middle class people think rough diamond working class are like. And utterly humourless

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:38:12 AM EST
Hmmm thought that that was what I was talking about :) (that and shameless of course)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 09:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically all of your potential contributors are connected by the increasing melding of 'reality' and fiction (or information into entertainment) - which is driven by ever-present media. While we can argue about the nature of 'reality' physiologically, socially the change has been immense for large swathes of the population.

When once (say 100 years ago or less) the partaking of fiction was a deliberate act: opening a book, going to the theatre, playing with the kids - a decision to enter another world - the boundaries have now become ever more muddy.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 10:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
When once (say 100 years ago or less) the partaking of fiction was a deliberate act: opening a book, going to the theatre, playing with the kids - a decision to enter another world - the boundaries have now become ever more muddy.

excellent point! i have noticed something lately that tallies a bit with this...

people more and more use fictional characters and situations to describe reality, as they are more 'real' than the lives and people with whom they are in meatspace contact. project is what humans love to do, receptive revery is the gift every child has robbed from him/her, and frequently artists pick up on quintessential truths about the human condition, thus becoming/creating archetypes.

joseph cambell's work with myths ties in too. we identify with legend, and within there's a will to individuate, to become dictinct from the masses, to distinguish oneself. if inspiration is in short supply on the ground, indeed the opposite, then people tend to move into the virtual world to compensate. if their neighbourhood is ruled by wimpish pols, then no wonder many run to rambo movies...

not sure how i feel about this, i guess it's ok when the art is top-flight, but the average zombie droning out in front of jeremy clarkson or celeb-pandering BS... meh

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:14:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly true. I think it's more that fiction - jingoism, patriotism, imperialism - were served neat, with simple and unsophisticated tropes: a bit of shouting, a bit of pointing and yelling, a bit of dressing up, a bit of marching up and down and killing.

Now they're dressed up as media and advertising, and the glamour is in being rich and narcissistic rather than in being militarily potent and significant.

The world wars were just World of Warcraft with real soldier and real weapons.

Hopefully one day we can have similar play spaces for people who think economics and celebrity are similarly important.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 12:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are talking about exploitation, rather than ubiquity. My other, more tentative theory, is that fiction had a role in slow-changing societies in that it revealed social patterns by 'speeding up' or pixellating interactions.

Where we are now, in constant and rapid change, we need slo-mo to see emerging patterns.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 01:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your last point is something to ponder...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 01:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When once (say 100 years ago or less) the partaking of fiction was a deliberate act: opening a book, going to the theatre, playing with the kids - a decision to enter another world - the boundaries have now become ever more muddy.

Worse! Now we have consciously constructed world views projected onto a population through the use of media and government. Rove read Goebbels and gave us the War on Terror.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 01:25:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see the point of Shameless, it just seems idiotic to me.

Conversely, I felt that the Royle Family was programme that captured the fag end of society a bit too well. It catapulted me into some bad memories of a "friend's" house in Droylsden Manchester in the early 80s. I actually couldn't watch cos every scene was a horrible flashback

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must admit ive only seen parts of the odd episode in passing, I may be losing my sense of humour, but I have no desire to live in the way that the Royales do, so why would I want to watch people doing that?

Its not like Shameless is original, in many ways it's a more extreme version of Bread the 1980's sitcom that portrayed a family of unemployed liverpudlians as scroungers and layabouts.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your points are good and all of it is adding to wider story of what's wrong with western society as such. Or even with not so western societies nowadays (I would say from what I am seeing on TV).The disease is spreading around the globe.
It is nothing wrong with wanting to have flat TV, Iphone or car or even designers clothing or holiday on Ibiza. But there is something very wrong when having it become "purpose of life".
I'll try to sum up some of my thoughts (hopefully) in short.
Malignant form of materialism spread to a middle class with cheep credit not just given but pushed on middle class. My believe is that so called middle class (for this occasion let's say that we call middle class those who work and make pretty solid income) is actually sick too. With cheep credit so called middle class went on a crazy shopping spree, finally seeing themselves as soon to be if not really rich but at least secure. They saw their chance to at least one day become renters instead of workers (and also to pass their wealth to next generation if possible). They went out of their means to do that. Everything looked so good.
Previously poor were not alone because middle class were not that much better than them. Poor had their dream to become middle class and they knew that there is a way there...either with educating themselves or starting a small business etc. In a short span of time (maybe few decades) things have changed drastically. I remember TV program in 90s when they asked American young people how they feel about their generation comparing with their parents. Interestingly one young man being IT engineer (it may be during IT crises) explained how all tho he is educated and his father was not, he feels that he will never make such a huge move in life as his father was able to. His father started with small grocery shop (or something like that) and ended with a chain and became pretty wealthy. He cannot see himself there. So even middle class now does not have a chance to make wealth trough normal work if it wasn't for crazy credit spree. We are still watching here (all tho during night program) how UK middle class buys huge houses in Spain that they could just dream of in UK. It must be or have been on UK TV too. We have seen American secretaries and plumbers buying those mansions in new suburbs with walk in wardrobes full of new clothing that they never had chance to wear because they were constantly buying new stuff. Some of them are in shelters now selling their kids electrical toys for their next meal.
In next decade we'll have a chance to see what will happen with middle class "wealth". I am not optimistic. Why? Because of enormous greed of super rich. They never actually shared their wealth with middle class as we wrongly may believed (so that their multibillion businesses can grow rapidly).The "money"(value/credit) that they pushed on middle class actually did not exist in real world as we are starting to witness right now. And middle class/tax payers will have to "invent" it because superrich are not giving up on it.
Poor people not having the same access to credit (because of the small income or no income) felt suddenly so alone and excluded and helpless. Then these crises started to kick. We/they have seen well educated people out of work doing painting etc. and we have seen a lot of small businesses going in to the bankruptcy...So suddenly this ,no matter how weak dream, disappeared for them. Why bother trying anything to dig up yourself from the hole?
Lack of hope...as I see it is a main reason for what is happening.
Then it is becoming so obvious for everyone that there is no hope in changing anything on a political field. Protests...they had them...did not change anything. Election...nothing there to hope for...they had both sides in power and the difference is minimal. No one can live on welfare/dol...And especially no one can feel good living on welfare but people can survive. I dare all those who are screaming about "lucky single mums" or anyone on a dol to try to even survive on it let alone feeling lucky and happy. Take that little money from them and especially in a jobless economy and they will not have any other way but crime.
But all tho generally world have descended to a very cruel and heartless malignant materialism I have to say that we "baby boomers" have generally done something very wrong to our kids. At one side we are leaving to them one very ugly "world" where they'll have to "eat" others to survive and progress. They are lacking empathy and responsibility because of what we have done to this "world". We were row models to them and even if we are not conscious of who we became and what we have done, they could only learn that from us. And I am shocked with lack of empathy in today's youngsters (here and also in Serbia which is interesting). They would feel greatly for hungry children in Africa and pay money to charities and follow progress of that child and at the same time will not feel any empathy for their parents or relatives or even their children. So many examples of this and I am not talking about "bad" kids but even those very much appreciated in many fields of life. One of the cases that shocked me was when two sisters, both highly educated and making great money left their mother who was just then diagnosed with breast cancer and went to African safari(that they paid for prior to diagnoses) while mother was undergoing operation and chemo therapy. A huge amount of young working people that are not only living in their old parents' home not paying a cent but also demanding stuff. A lot of even not so young parents that wrecked their "families" (usually not even married) and are not seeing their kids or are not paying for them. And so on...millions of examples.
Lack of responsibility is also visible even at work...employers have a hard time with those workers who would just not present themselves at work calling in to say that they were heavily drank last  night so they'll take sicky...it's hard to relay on them. I am not saying that they are all like this but...
That's why (it also have been on TV) employers like foreign workers (mostly from Asia) because they are responsible and usually they have families to take care of. Young Australians are wrecking their families (if they start them at all) in numbers...
So what to expect of those kids with no future.
This is getting long...sorry...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:18:28 AM EST
well on the size of houses and buildings  that todays  middle classes have bought compared to those available in the future,

you'd have to look the increase in average house price compared to the increase in average wage. and then think beyond that to the increase in median wage rather than mean. at present the price of a house is at a point where it is unaffordable for people without multiple mortgagees, what the situation will be in another five or ten years is anyones guess and governments and media pushing house ownership as a measure od success, this can only get worse.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 11:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:52:52 PM EST
So right...and scary...So are we going to get scared to watch TV now ;)
For decade or so I am not watching American crime series or live shows...its SCARY ENOUGH TO WATCH NEWS. It's hard to avoid ads on TV but as of lately I is most of the time watching ABC news 24 and they do not have ads. I find myself addicted to news again (TV and Internet) so it must be that they filled my mind with fear again.
I never thought that I will follow what's happening on the market (world market)...why would I? I do not have shares...and I do bloody follow it...damn...Instead of enjoying coffee in my beautiful garden I am sitting here reading ET ;) My life is definitely ruined :(
And I wasn't growing up with fear from TV ...my parents were teaching me how to survive...Poor kids nowadays ...I feel for them. Maybe that's why they became so ignorant (uninformed about reality) ...it may be the form of defence.But world of fantasy could be dangerous too. We/they are fucked...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 10:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I lived in Japan without a TV for years. Now there is one in the room, but I switch it on rarely. For the most scary news, basically :-]

Check the continuation of that BBC series, on other topics related to TV coaching.

It is interesting to remember the post-Soviet media change, say, in my native Lithuania. While changes in political and social commentary were not immediately obvious, the new emphasis on dramatic headlines and criminality pages was striking immediately. Supposedly, it was obvious to the new media moguls, without any market research, that the post-Soviet public is indistinguishable from the UK tabloid seekers. I was suspicious of media's "just-profit-calculating" agenda already then. Look at it now - the media is so consolidated and uniform, elite owned, deliberately suggestive, misleading (look at the market news, haha), manipulative, dumbing - it is not a shame to suspect they feel more in thought control than the Soviets or Nazis.

Even the internet supply, though generated freely indeed, has an overall elite bias in its use. The usual folks just have the time or compulsion to check Facebook and Youtube only, as prescribed for the normal entertainment generation.

by das monde on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 05:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Govt research: cutting benefits of "problem families" won't work | Liberal Conspiracy

The Conservatives propose that local authorities should take away the welfare benefits (if being claimed) of people who were involved in the rioting.

It's a knee-jerk reaction obviously, but does evidence support the claim that it will only make things worse?

Yes it does.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 08:48:21 AM EST
One law for the rich and another for the poor? | Snowblog

Over the weekend, Governor Rick Perry of Texas announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Besides his faith, Perry's other notable credential is that according to the News York Times, he is the most successful fund raiser in the history of Texas. And when it comes to fund raising that is some history.

Perry's most remarkable claim, according to non-profit organisation Texans for Public Justice, is to have raised $17m in campaign funding from the 921 people (and their spouses) whom he has appointed to state jobs.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 02:31:37 PM EST
Campaign ad from Colbert Pac

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 03:13:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't watch it :(

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 06:59:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Konnolsky Files, STOP RIOTS. STOP STRANGELY SHAPED HEADS

I tweet much today about how impressed I am by Cameron response to riots. Here summary of my thoughts.

Cameron employ new type of post-Enlightenment logic on riots. Examples. Most rioters are poor; some rioters come from one parent families: therefore single parents cause riots. Or: we must be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. And what causes crime? Criminality. Or best of all: riots have many causes; riots don't demand knee-jerk reactions: therefore I'm agreeing with Melanie Phillips.

 Local egghead, Student Arkady, say putting stigmatisation and scapegoating at heart of public policy is tried and trusted formula. And it has benefit over search for more complex solutions. For it is self-fulfilling. Punishing children of single parent families for decisions of their parents, by create incentives for "normal" families is zero-sum game. There losers. Losers are children in single families. Losses will worsen their condition and alienate further. Possibility they might riot increased. Further cuts. Logic of stigmatising single parent families consolidated. Excellent! Scapegoat identified, vilified and perpetuated. This is policy genius that has proved lasting success in many nations where scapegoating has been principal instrument of public policy. 



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 10:11:18 PM EST
The Guardian: UK riots: police could get new curfew powers, says Theresa May
The home secretary said the government was also contemplating tougher powers to impose curfews on individual teenagers under the age of 16.

In a speech in London, she said the power to declare a general curfew was needed because existing dispersal powers only allowed the police to declare a "no go" area with advance notification.

...

She said the police "need to have the legal powers to take robust action against criminals", adding: "They also need strong leaders - single-minded crimefighters who get to the top and measure their own performance on nothing but taking the fight to lawbreakers.

What are the existing dispersal powers?
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 gives the police powers in designated areas to disperse groups of two or more where their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed. The powers are controversial due to the discretion they accord to police and the infringements of individual's rights they entail. This study explores the implementation and impact of dispersal orders and highlights implications for policy.

Key points

  • Dispersal orders have been used in a variety of types of location to address diverse social problems, but are most commonly used in relation to groups of young people.
  • The process of prior designation, where informed by rigorous evidence and allied with wide-ranging consultation, can help ensure that the exceptional powers available are an appropriate, proportionate and planned response to persistent problems.
  • Dispersal orders can provide short-term relief and galvanise local activity, opening a window of opportunity in which to develop holistic and long-term problem-solving responses.
  • Police strategies generally gave preference to dialogue and negotiation; enforcement through recourse to formal powers was used sparingly.
  • Implementing dispersal orders has significant implications for police resources and can raise false expectations about police priorities.
  • Where targeted at groups of youths, dispersal orders can antagonise and alienate young people who frequently feel unfairly stigmatised for being in public places.
  • In many localities, dispersal orders generated displacement effects, shifting problems to other places, sometimes merely for the duration of the order.
  • Enforced alone, dispersal orders constitute a 'sticking plaster' over local problems of order that affords a degree of localised respite but invariably fails to address the wider causes of perceived anti-social behaviour.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 09:20:18 AM EST
This is from the London Borough I used to live in:
What is a dispersal order?

A dispersal order will provide the police with additional powers to disperse groups of two or more people where the officer has reasonable grounds for believing that their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public from being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed. Once asked to disperse it will be a criminal offence for that person to return to the dispersal area for a 24-hour period.

If a young person under the age of sixteen is stopped in the area after 9pm and is not accompanied by an adult the police can escort them to their home address, if they are either:
*At risk or vulnerable from anti-social behaviour, crime etc
*Causing, or at risk of causing, anti-social behaviour



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 09:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fleet street fox: 43 and never been spanked.
LET me tell you about a benefits cheat.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 09:48:31 AM EST
Dreaming Genius: Police Response To Rioting Doesn't Add Up
For eight challenging years I was Head of Security at the Old Bailey in London. The Old Bailey - just so you know - usually hears only the most serious of criminal cases. These include numerous Operation Trident cases: 'black on black' gun crime, together with Operation Trafalgar cases dealing with gang related murders and other crimes, often involving knives. There were times when more than half the 18 crowded courts within the building were simultaneously hearing such cases, and during my period at the OB we must have heard hundreds of them. What I remember most was the enormous security effort that went in to ensure these cases were heard to conclusion and without disruption. But that's not all that sticks in my mind.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 10:24:52 AM EST
Dreaming Genius: Police Response To Rioting Doesn't Add Up

Later on, when the violence and looting `sparked off' and spread like wild fire, it was even more unusual to see police initially `standing off' when they had the resources available to easily nip things in the bud. This appears to be the main complaint coming from community leaders and residents in those areas first affected. So why did the police `stand off'? And why were there no immediate answers right at the very beginning after Mark Duggan was shot?
I can't second guess why this didn't happen, but from my experience it seemed anomalous, in as much as nothing appeared to be as normal. It was as if years of hard won community and police relations were simply `switched off'. It doesn't add up, and now we have to look at the devastating results.

I am reminded of Gothenburg in 2001, when demonstrations related to the EU summit turned into riots. In the aftermath it has turned out that the contact police officers that had been cooperating with organisation leaders were overruled after the US intelligence briefed high police chiefs on terrorist threaths. Heavy-handed and illegal actions from the police led to resentment, led to riots, led to crack-down on random young lefties.

In the trials random young lefties were treated as part of a organised group, while cops were treated as individuals. Naturally, this led to convicted random young lefties, and acquited cops, including the boss that ordered a building where deomnstrators slept sealed off for hours, as the court found that the prosecutor had failed to prove that exactly every centimenter of the perimeter actually was blocked.

</vent>

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that the cops might be acting on secret information, and secret information has a tendensy to make organisations stupid.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 19th, 2011 at 04:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fact. There is a link between cuts and riots | Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth | Comment is free | The Guardian

When London stopped burning, the political debate about the causes of unrest began to heat up. At one end of the spectrum, Ken Livingstone blamed the government's cutbacks; at the other, David Cameron attributed the unrest to criminal behaviour, pure and simple. Many of the cuts announced by the coalition government haven't been implemented yet; but it is also true that there is real deprivation in many parts of London, and local services have been cut in some areas already. So, where do sudden conflagrations such as those in London last week come from?

A constructive way to approach such a complex question is to distinguish between the incidents that touch off unrest, and the underlying causes that make it more likely. When a petrol station burns down, you don't just want to know who dropped the cigarette; you want to know why all the combustible fumes escaped. Social unrest and instability is typically difficult to explain. In most years, nothing happens; then, suddenly, violence erupts. Academics have tried to understand which factors are involved in creating explosive social environments. According to work on US race riots by the economist Ed Glaeser, for example, ethnic heterogeneity in a neighbourhood increases the probability of unrest. So does unemployment. Poverty, on the other hand, seems to play a smaller role.

In a recent study, we focused on the link between austerity measures and unrest. We analysed a large number of countries, over almost a century, to unearth some empirical regularities. In two studies, we analysed unrest in 28 European countries from 1919 to 2009, and in 11 Latin American countries since 1937. What we found is a clear and positive statistical association between expenditure cuts and the level of unrest.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 08:40:56 PM EST
I note your 5 million drug users and add about all under 25 (and a lot over) as thieving pirates intent of bringing down western civilisation (or at least the industries dependent on copyright). What does all those cracked programs and illegal movies do long term?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 18th, 2011 at 08:16:23 AM EST
Instructive to contemplate the affect if, e.g., Led Zeppelin, had been able to copyright/patent the 'Look and Feel' of their "Intellectual Property."

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Aug 18th, 2011 at 02:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
decades of regressive heavy metal music!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 19th, 2011 at 01:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The media's wilful ignorance over England's riots | openDemocracy

Last night I was caught entirely off guard by an important and moving speech. I was attending a meeting at the National Union of Journalists headquarters in London about "reporting the riots", when the football editor of The Times, Tony Evans, took to his feet.

It turns out Evans has a great deal more on his mind than football. He explained how appalled he was at the media's coverage of the riots - and slammed journalists who have failed to criticise the government's narrative that there was no underlying social, political or economic cause.

Calling for journalists to seek out the truth, Evans described how he himself knew what it was like to be part of an underclass. He confessed he had fought with police as a youngster and stole from shops - he knew, he said, how it felt to be demonised by the press.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Aug 20th, 2011 at 12:40:01 PM EST


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