August 17, 2011

Thuggish Cameron Thinks Graffiti's Got His Back



Prime Minister Cameron “denied that racial tensions, poverty, or his government’s controversial austerity cuts were to blame. He claimed there were around 120,000 problem families in Britain who had little respect for authority, singling out boys raised without a male role model as especially prone to ‘rage and anger’,” The Christian Science Monitor reported yesterday.

“These riots were not about race: The perpetrators and the victims were white, black, and Asian. These riots were not about government cuts: They were directed at high street stores, not Parliament,” said the Conservative prime minister. “And these riots were not about poverty: That insults the millions of people who, whatever the hardship, would never dream of making others suffer like this.

“No, this was about people showing indifference to right and wrong, people with a twisted moral code, people with a complete absence of self-restraint,” he said.

— from: Cameron’s London riots speech raises British ire (CSM)

I’m confused. I suppose Team Cameron chose to situated its “law and order” screed in front of a graffiti mural at a youth center to signify that the same culture that spawns such art is about to get its head handed to it?

Don’t they get that graffiti, and the combination of alienation, frustration, and yearning for identity and expression that underpins it, is the exact thing that Cameron is denying? Unless I’m missing something here, this has got to be one of the most blind and provocative political images I’ve seen in some time.

Maybe the government looks at this mural and sees “gang banger” and “riot perpetrator,” and assumes the folks at home see the exact same thing (with the further suggestion that “evil doers” — in some twisted, macho, “kill or be killed” scenario, are threatening to swallow up even the PM). I’m sure an awful lot of people, though, including the “bad poor” and the “good poor” alike, look at this mural — and Cameron’s indictment — and just see the name and the hand of those who have no voice.

For a second pic on London’s riot politics — why don’t they just ban the hoodie? — see this shot at BagTumblr.

(photo: Alastair Grant- WPA Pool/Getty Images caption: Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at a youth center in his constituency on August 15, 2011 in Witney, England. Following four days of riots last week that left five people dead, thousands facing criminal charges and at least 200 million in property losses, Cameron spoke on the break-down of morality, family values and human rights within Britain.)

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Michael Shaw
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