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April 1, 2009

There’s Rage And Then There’s Rage

Newsweek-Populist-Rage.jpg

Seems like quite a contrast in rage over the banking meltdown, I’d say, between the two side of the pond.

For our part, we have the Newsweek cover of two weeks ago sporting a photo (from the Depression-era, I’m assuming) of people carrying pitchforks. Contradicting any seriousness left at all, however, is the cute reference to Facebook by tagging the names of the columnists weighing in on the subject to various club and torch carriers.

And then, on the Euro-end of things…

ss-090401-g20-11.ss_full.jpg

…we have this image from today, of protesters throwing the computer terminal, that most symbolic of implements, through the window of the (failed and unoccupied) Bank of Scotland near the Bank of England in the London financial district — their equivalent of Wall Street.

Dirty socialists.

And then, did you catch the opinion piece in the NYT WIR last Sunday: Feeling Too Down To Rise Up? Columbia professor Sudhir Venhatesh tried to tackle the question of why no riots have broken out in front of the Treasury Department or AIG headquarters. He’s got a smorgasbord of reasons, but he attributes a good share of the blame to the breakdown of social bonds caused by the internet and the “self-involved” blogosphere.

(image: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images. London. April 1, 2009)

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    I think that’s a still photo from the movie “Frankenstein” but I could be mistaken.

  • zatopa

    Well put, Michael. Of course Newsweek’s “Thinking Man” keeps his “Populist Rage” under wrapped in several layers of irony, because, after the dust settles, they’re still going to be seeing these folks at the club.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/TheCahuengaKid TheCahuengaKid

    Gmoke is correct – That is actor Colin Clive in lower right corner (wearing riding boots and jodhpurs) who played Dr Frankenstein in both FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and BRIDE OF FRANKENSEIIN (1935). Hmmm…both Depression Era movies…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p00e5523476cc8834 DennisQ

    Is it too far-fetched to see this gathering of men with dogs and torches as a lynch mob? Perhaps it plays on the resonances of the Kill Obama crowd. Frankenstein’s monster was simultaneously human and not-human, the way Obama is simultaneously white and not-white. How else to explain all the not very subtle calls to assassinate Obama? There certainly have been a lot of them, such that assassinate Obama is a popular search string on Google. In a mythical sense, Obama’s transgressive birth may be the source of his preternatural powers.
    Mary Shelley’s novel reflects the conflicts of her own life as the daughter of leftist radicals who were many years ahead of their time. An iconoclast herself at 16, she took up with the already-married Percy Shelley, traveled through continental Europe with him and became pregnant. On their return to England, the couple were ostracized for their immoral behavior. Their infant daughter later died at six months old. Shelly’s “monster” embodies the clash of the modern, which is frightening, powerful and illegitimate, with the traditional, which is vengeful. Like our own times, Shelly’s early 19th Century world was full of post-revolutionary upheavals. Windows are smashed; arrests are made; heads are bloodied.

  • slosh

    I like the terminal-tossing anarchist in the bottom photo, sporting the $35 Atlanta Braves cap. I wonder how much his actions are dictated by the fact that dozens of photographers are documenting them.

  • yg

    one of the protesters spray painted the word “THIEVES” on the bank building wall. i thought that was a nice touch.

  • yg

    why did the previous comment get swallowed?

  • yg

    the opinion piece in the NYT WIR last Sunday: Feeling Too Down To Rise Up? Columbia professor Sudhir Venhatesh tried to tackle the question of why no riots have broken out in front of the Treasury Department or AIG headquarters. He’s got a smorgasbord of reasons, but he attributes a good share of the blame to the breakdown of social bonds caused by the internet and the “self-involved” blogosphere.
    what’s his definition of a riot? the anti-prop 8 measure stirred up a good deal of activism. the earlier ant-war protests grew to be pretty sizable. both were fueled by the net. right now is there is high interest in economic news. i saw cited somewhere that the economist was rated the top selling magazine right now. ranking higher than women’s fashion and lifestyles mags. obama’s town halls and press conferences get high ratings. all of these examples counter venhatesh’s premise that we are too insular.
    i don’t get his suggestion that obama administration is uncaring. riots haven’t broken out over the economy because sensible people don’t expect obama to solve the world’s problems in just 3 months time.
    a cartoon satirizing unrealistic expectations:http://thisishistorictimes.com/2009/03/the-evil-dead/

  • http://www.newsweek.com/id/190345 yg

    zooming in the newsweek cover, i see eliot spitzer is continuing his rehab tour. good for him.
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/190345

  • http://msm.grumpybumpers.com/ mcc

    What’s weird to me about that picture is that there seem to be more people visible taking pictures than actually, you know, rioting. More people documenting than doing.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p011279095cc828a4 omen

    letters inspired by the venhatesh column:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/03/opinion/l03isolate.html
    another reason we haven’t seen economic rioting is perhaps due to conditioning from media. i seem to recall a news mag cover putting the onus of blame on us for the state of the economy. it’s our fault we felt prey to easy credit. it’s our fault we got so buried in debt. it’s our fault we were so selfish. it’s our fault our houses are being foreclosed upon. nevermind wages haven’t kept up with inflation since nixon.
    i’ve seen this meme propagated quite a few times from pundits. a populace made to feel guilty and partially responsible for the situation might serve to mitigate the urge to lash out.

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