We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How life did not imitate this bit of Olympic art

I’m at least a week late with this picture (illness blah blah), but it remains one of my favourite Olympics images, snapped by one of my favourite bloggers, Mick Hartley:

StolenRing.jpg

Suddenly I heard myself asking: Yes, why couldn’t those damn rioters have waited until the Olympics? Not really, but I did think it. (What I really think is that rioters shouldn’t. And before anyone says, it’s different if all you do is call yourselves a Riot and play noisy tunes.)

But to take my question seriously, I suppose rioters can tell when they’ll be allowed to run riot for a little while, and when they absolutely will not. Had they tried anything seriously wicked during the Olympics, they would have been crushed without mercy, the crushing egged on by the very people who, during and after the actual riots, were most sympathetic towards the rioters.

Interestingly, a little two-part BBC2 TV show about the riots was billed in the Radio Times to be shown just before the Olympics. But then it was postponed.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

5 comments to How life did not imitate this bit of Olympic art

  • Dave Walker

    I first saw a photo of this piece of graffiti / art a couple of months ago, shortly after it appeared – I think it’s a great piece of satire, but I couldn’t help but wonder why the kid in the hoodie is escaping with the red ring rather than the gold one. A further satire on another level, reflecting those who took advantage of the riots to go on a shoplifting spree but who only acquired items of little to no value, perhaps?

  • Tedd

    I suppose rioters can tell when they’ll be allowed to run riot for a little while, and when they absolutely will not.

    A very interesting supposition! In Canada, we had riots in Vancouver after a hockey game and riots in Toronto during a G-20 summit. At the time, some people made the comparison that the G-20 riots were motivated by a “cause” whereas the hockey riots were just hooliganism. I’m not sure the distinction holds up. One thing that seems clear from the hockey riots is that many rioters expected their to be riots and went there for that purpose; the hockey game provided the excuse they were looking for to do what they already wanted to do. I suspect that’s not a very different motivation than many of the G-20 rioters had. In both cases, they felt they had been provided with a situation where violence would be tolerated more than at other times.

  • They can’t usually tell in advance (the Olympics were an exception) but they can tell very quickly whether the response to the little bit of lawlessness they have just started in the last half hour is weak or strong.

    Having ascertained that, they can tell very quickly in the other sense – they tell their friends.

  • Rich Rostrom

    it’s different if all you do is call yourselves a Riot and play noisy tunes.

    What about Quiet Riot?

  • Grant Freedom

    I’d ask ‘Where were all the streakers?’ Security wasn’t that tight.