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August 13, 2011

Comments

Sam

I want to nick Laurie's Blackberry and set fire to her flat.

It's a political statement.

Anna

Ms Penny also tells us that what frightens her isn’t the delinquent nihilism, the mugging of children or the attempts to burn people in their homes, but the use of the word “feral” to describe the people doing so.

So much stupid in such a small body.

David

“So much stupid in such a small body.”

She’s a source of continual amazement. She must spend an awful lot of time honing her moral cretiny.

JuliaM

I fear this time the progressives have really, really misjudged the mood of the nation. Which is admirably summed up, I feel, by this Mac cartoon... :)

David

Julia,

In other news, Mr Eugenides quips: “I really want an iMac but don’t have £1000 to spare. So I plan to steal one, and blame it on library closures.”

Which sort of summarises Laurie’s incredibly high-brow sociology.

George

Blame the liberal left idiocracy.

Col. Milquetoast

"So much stupid in such a small body."
Now, now; remember that we all must remain civil or else you'll be scolded. (Although now it seems the demands for civility might exempt the vandals, muggers, thieves and arsonists.)

svh

"London rioters resent media image of hooded teen thug"

Surprise. They don't like having a mirror held up to them. And why should anyone care what thieves and muggers 'resent'?

Stuck-Record

Laurie isn't really that stupid. It takes an entire team of coke-fuelled writers to come up with her nonsense. In a couple of years she's going to reveal herself to the world as a comedy genius.

David

“London rioters resent media image of hooded teen thug.”

Heh. The predators who feel entitled to thieve and extort with menaces also feel entitled to complain about how that makes them look.

Truly, we live in an age of wonders.

dicentra

"her moral cretiny"

Cretinism being the result of insufficient thyroid hormone, and I having a thyroid deficiency, take umbrage at your statement.

I'll give it back shortly, when I'm done with it.

(h/t happyfeet for that brilliant joke)

dentaku

Mr Thompson, been lurking for a while but I wanted to say thanks for some great blogging. Expect a donation at the end of the month.

Keep up the good work.

carbon based lifeform

The predators who feel entitled to thieve and extort with menaces also feel entitled to complain about how that makes them look. Truly, we live in an age of wonders.

And the NUJ president calls people who defended their homes and shops "scum"…

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100100831/drop-the-brooms-you-capitalist-scum/

mollie

“Violence,” she repeats, “is rarely ever mindless.”

I bet she's never had someone run past and slap her in the face then.

David

dentaku,

“…been lurking for a while…”

Welcome aboard. I wish more of our lurkers would… er, de-lurk? De-cloak…?


mollie,

“I bet she’s never had someone run past and slap her in the face then.”

One afternoon, some years ago, two friends and I were walking back from the cinema through Nottingham city centre. As we turned a corner, a group of four youths thought it would be amusing to start spitting at the feet of passers-by. They seemed to enjoy the looks of disgust and air of intimidation. Luckily, they’d just about run out of spit before we were in range. As Laurie is a fan of people being spat on for no particular reason, I imagine she’d conjure some lofty sociological justification for their behaviour. Possibly one that frames the spitters as the victims and the spittees as the aggressors.

Such are the marvels of Laurie’s mind.

Stuck-Record

I always wanted to believe that leftist eyes would open when they themselves were the object of violence from one of their designated victim groups. Unfortunately, Robert Fisk's beating by arabs cured me of that innocent illusion.

"If I Was an Afghan I Too Might Have Attacked Robert Fisk"
http://www.counterpunch.org/fiskbeaten.html

Gleads

I am so glad you read Laurie Penny as it saves me having to. But it is interesting that the feral class she writes so enthusiastically on behalf of will, in fact, never read a word of hers. They don't even buy the publications she works for (and better still, wouldn't even steal them)

Horace Dunn


The looter on the podcast who calls for more public expenditure and, simultaneously, a reduction is the tax burden isn't the only person I've heard include high taxation in the list of grievances that "caused" them to riot.

As you say, David, we live in an age of wonders, when idle and unproductive petty thugs lament the level of taxation necessary to enable them to live their idle and unproductive lives.

Or perhaps I'm just not trying hard enough to "understand".


Karen M

I am so glad you read Laurie Penny as it saves me having to.

I think he enjoys it.

JuliaM

" They don't even buy the publications she works for (and better still, wouldn't even steal them)."

They will steal a lot of the cars that will be advertised in 'AutoTrader' magazine which keeps the 'Guardian' afloat, though.

See, it's all interconnected, somehow...

herbert

The only thing that stops me from agreeing with Ms. Penny is then we would both be wrong

AC1

1) Nicking Trainers!
2) ????????????????
3) World Peace!

Couldn't resist.

David

Karen,

“I think he enjoys it.”

Heh. Don’t oversell it. It’s more like unblocking a sink or removing congealed grease from a roasting tin. You don’t really want to put your fingers in there, but you know it has to be done.

Bart

"But it is interesting that the feral class she writes so enthusiastically on behalf of will, in fact, never read a word of hers"

Which is a little confusing, since she's the Voice of a Generation.


"I always wanted to believe that leftist eyes would open when they themselves were the object of violence from one of their designated victim groups. Unfortunately, Robert Fisk's beating by arabs cured me of that innocent illusion."

Unfortunately, not even an air raid will knock any sense into them. Orwell ranted at length about the leftist intelligentsia's openly treasonous attitudes throughout the war. Even in 1940 when Britain stood alone, a Nazi invasion looked like a distinct possibility and the Luftwaffe daily flattened the cities these idiots lived in, he noted their "undisguised delight" at events like the fall of Singapore and Crete, "a remarkable unwillingness to believe in good news", opposition to American troops being deployed to Britain and in at least one case a gentleman who "was hoping for a Nazi victory because of the stimulating effect it would have upon the arts"

Henry

Before the riots were over, an unseemly rush went on where everyone tried to put their own favourite political interpretation over what had happened. I don't need to tell you the details, have a look at the Grauniad and Daily Mail for the usual opposing views. All the interpretations started way before we had any info on who the miscreants were, and why they were doing this.

David Starkey added some amusement to proceedings by setting everyone off with some choice inflammatory remarks, I got stuck into the debate here (I'm Hzle in the comments)

I've also collected some of my comments on my blog. Basically there's never one big reason for the breakdown of law and order. People have disrespect for the law, and for each other. It's going to be a very complicated job, building up our nation's identity again. I do think we have to think about how boys are brought to maturity, as we are neglecting them.

I also disagree with Peter Oborne equating the rioters and looters with bankers and the politicians' expenses fiasco. That is RIDICULOUSLY simplistic, to say they are the same things.

There are not simple answers, as people want there to be, there might be difficult ones.

Trimegistus

Okay: British readers. Time for a flash riot at Laurie Penny's house. Take her stuff and burn her house down. I'm dead serious. How many criminal trials can use the victim's own writings to justify the crime?

Col. Milquetoast

I keep coming back to one thing from the BBC podcast (at the 1 min mark). While rioters roam the streets and buildings burn, someone made a gun gesture with his hand towards 3 police community support officers and is arrested. Within days the offender is quickly sentenced to 4 months. I guess the bureaucracy has its own priorities.

At least they got him off the streets before he'd said "K-pow! K-pow!" to a civilian and all hell broke loose.

Ralph

"If a social worker tells a teenage mum the word ‘no’ emotionally damages a child, a message goes out. If an adult admonishes a gang of children for littering and gets a police caution a message goes out. If a father is reported to the police for smacking a child a message goes out. If an adult is arrested for grabbing a child who is stealing, or assaulting another child, a message goes out. If knife criminals receive community sentences, a message goes out. If people tell you about your rights as a child, and never about your responsibilities, a message goes out. If teenage girls are given flats for having babies a message goes out. If the police arrest you fifty times and nothing happens a message goes out."

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2011/08/simon-marcus-listen-to-the-children.html

Ralph

A good one from Tim Blair:

""Violence is rarely mindless," she wrote. Rarely mindless, Penny? Explain that to Graham Reeves, whose 144-year-old family furniture store was deliberately incinerated."“No one's stolen anything," Reeves said, following what Penny might describe as an intellectual intervention. "They just burnt it down." He later told Britain's Channel Four: "It is a tragedy. Five generations of family and our business has absolutely had it. Mindless violence." […] Here's a statement for Penny to ponder, from Monika Konczyk, who arrived in the UK from Poland just five months ago. You would know this mother-of-one from last week's iconic image of a woman leaping from her burning apartment. "They set fire to my building without any thought for anyone's safety,” Konczyk said. "They were happy for me to die.""

http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/fight_for_the_right_to_riot/

Must be a 'political statement' - eh, Laurie?

David

“Must be a ‘political statement’ - eh, Laurie?”

To a hammer, everything is a nail. Or, put another way, to a pretentious and dishonest leftist ideologue, everything is a validation of being a pretentious and dishonest leftist ideologue. Which may explain why Laurie doesn’t seem to learn from each new demolition of her adolescent dogmatism. Like Polly Toynbee, Bidisha and Nina Power, she’s impervious.

[ Added: ]

And speaking of imperviousness…

rjmadden

“Nicking trainers,” Laurie tells us, is a sign of “desperation” and “a political statement.”

And the rioters were all unfed barefoot urchins.

Rob

She is entitled to her opinions,however ridiculous or extreme. What enrages me is her front door key and all-areas pass at the BBC. She's all over the news website and Radio 4. Why is a far-left nutter a permanent fixture at the BBC?

Oh, wait...

Jason Bontrager

All of this reminds me of the puppy training discussion in Heinlein's _Starship Troopers_. http://tinyurl.com/3cguc8s

catcher

Laurie tells us, “there’s been no attempt to understand” the rioters

When someone's breaking into my car or setting fire to my house the first thing I do is try to understand them.

David

“When someone’s breaking into my car or setting fire to my house the first thing I do is try to understand them.”

Indeed. Though I suspect Laurie’s using the word “understand” in her own, rather special, question-begging way. I’d guess she means “understand” in the sense of agree with me. Those who’ve arrived at a different understanding – say, after first-hand experience – probably don’t count by Laurie’s definition.

mojo

When someone's breaking into my car or attempting to set my home afire, the first thing I do is look around for potential witnesses... Wait until they leave.

alanstorm

I like Ms. Penny's reasoning. I have a long list of things I'd like to have, but can't afford. According to her, though, all I need to do is take them, preferably in a violent manner. If I do that, then it's a political statement, which is protected under the 1st Amendment!

Why didn't I do this before?

herbert

Not being really familiar with Ms. Penny, since I am from the U.S., I started to do some web research and was astounded to learn that this "socialist" was offering to pay employees LESS than the minimum wage:
http://order-order.com/2011/01/18/sexist-penny-exploits-unemployed-offering-below-minimum-wage/

David

alanstorm,

“I have a long list of things I’d like to have, but can’t afford. According to her, though, all I need to do is take them, preferably in a violent manner.”

You don’t even need to steal things or mug anyone. (After all, it isn’t easy to walk all the way home carrying a stolen television or sixteen pairs of trainers.) You could just destroy someone else’s property – say, their livelihood – just for the hell of it. Whatever else happens, you could count on several Guardianistas to rationalise your actions as “a political statement” and to claim those actions felt like “an appropriate response,” thus implying that your choices are, rather conveniently, someone else’s fault. And remember, understanding and condemning are - apparently - mutually exclusive. And using words like “feral” couldn’t possibly be a result of understanding, which has now been redefined to mean “agreeing with the left.” The theory being that, if one understood the sociology, the “context” and all that lovely Marxism, one would feel the muggers’ pain and focus on that.

David

Trimegistus,

“Time for a flash riot at Laurie Penny’s house… How many criminal trials can use the victim’s own writings to justify the crime?”

Ms Penny has never been known for her sense of reciprocation – which, given her eagerness to pontificate and moralise, is a rather serious shortcoming. She appears to subscribe to those non-reciprocal principles, also known as the fuck you school of socialist thought. But her obvious enthusiasm for violence - if only as a backdrop for her own psychodrama – is a matter of public record. She seems to imagine that her idealised, “revolutionary,” terribly radical violence would – somehow - look very different from recent events. Though I can’t say I share that assumption. And Laurie is part of a trend among the left to rationalise and excuse intimidation and animal behaviour, thereby squeezing it into their own narrative of choice. And given sufficient repetition, this can have consequences.

As I said in the comments to a previous post:

As noted here several times, a sizeable chunk of the leftist commentariat is overtly titillated by mob violence and physical intimidation, which they frame as retaliation and payback for “injustice,” generally of a tendentious or question-begging kind. One after another, Guardian contributors and leftist academics have claimed to be “angry” and “oppressed” (though by what isn’t always clear or credible). Violence, they tell us, is a result of not being heard – and being heard, rather conveniently, means being obeyed.

Leah Borromeo imagines she’s being “oppressed” by modest cuts in the growth of public spending, which apparently entitles her, and her peers, to smash windows, trash cash machines and throw projectiles at the police. Ms Borromeo told Guardian readers that “to try to make distinctions between a ‘peaceful’ and a ‘violent’ protester is inherently flawed.” She is, needless to say, all in favour of “people who choose to vent their anger in more visceral ways.”

Laurie Penny also wants us to believe that hurling bricks and large metal objects through someone else’s windows (regardless of whether anyone is likely to be inside) is something other than violence. Ditto Priya Gopal and ditto David Graeber, who redefines “civilisation” to include mob thuggery and menaces, and ditto Alexander Vasudevan, who regards the “seizure and reclamation” of other people’s belongings as a “potent symbol of protest.”

Given sufficient exposure to this stream of delusion, it’s not hugely surprising that some may come to feel entitled to act out those fantasies. Or use them as an excuse.

Again, to quote Dalrymple:

“The looters, already possessed of a deep if unjustified sense of grievance, will find in it a post facto justification for what they did and also a moral and political justification for their future depredations. It is a great mistake to suppose that, just because they are badly educated, they are not shrewd enough to turn such arguments to the service of what they conceive of as their own advantage.”

Tom Albrighton

A lurker writes: thanks for the great blog.

I must admit, I found the Oborne doctrine quite compelling, and it seemed to gain a lot of traction in the aftermath of a load of manifestly lame excuse-making. But it's really a parallel rather than a causal explanation. Are we saying that if MPs' expenses had never been exposed, and the banks had been harshly regulated in say 2006, then the opportunity to loot would not have been taken up?

The thing is, progressives want progress. We want there to be an answer, a way forward. We dread simple moral judgement because it aligns us with the Right, even though it's merited. I don't think the quest for understanding should be ridiculed just because the explanations to date have been simplistic or misguided.

David

Tom,

Again, welcome. Lurkers de-cloaking makes me happy. The discussions with readers are (for me) often much more interesting than the posts, which I think of as starting points rather than full stops.

“The thing is, progressives want progress. We want there to be an answer, a way forward. We dread simple moral judgement because it aligns us with the Right, even though it’s merited.”

Well, I have noticed a tendency to think in terms of idealised solutions rather than, say, trade-offs, which are much more likely and indeed hard to avoid. Which may explain why some leftist pundits seem to imagine that higher taxation, for instance, is an unequivocal good that doesn’t actually rob people of some of their hard-earned freedom. Or, for another more vivid example, see this. For some, there’s also a tendency to shun the obvious and prosaic, generally to denote their intellectual sophistication, even when the obvious and prosaic happens to be true.

“I don’t think the quest for understanding should be ridiculed just because the explanations to date have been simplistic or misguided.”

Indeed. What galls is the implied redefinition of understanding, which rather begs the question, as illustrated above.

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