Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Violence is about Violence: The Protests in Québec

Violence begets violence.

It's like a snowball down an endless hill that takes centuries to stop, to shrink, to melt away.

Maybe because of the influence of Hollywood or American mythology, we've come to think that the best way is violence. It's clean, simple, black and white. The good guy always wins, and he wins by shooting the bad guy. Murder is good -- when idone by the good guy. Or maybe not murder, but winging the bad guy, because, you know, getting hurt is always the bad guy's fault, no matter who started it. Any violent action when done by the good guy, by the people in the right, is good, is necessary, is the only way -- because we're always the good guy.

Violence is addictive. It's simple in mind and exhilirating to execute. How mindless to throw a fire extinguisher through a window, the brittle sound of smashing glass an adrenaline rush that powers one's feet swiftly down the street with the exciting mob, looking for the next adrenaline high, chanting awesome slogans. Power to the people.

Violence is easy. It's quick. It's the original effective sound bite. And it always makes the news because for journalists it's a high too. Dodging the police, capturing that sharp shot, filing stories from the field, it beats sitting behind a computer pecking out another story on the latest car accident. Plus the message is easy to convey -- anger against whatever -- and it comes with loads of cool effects like glass shards flying through the air, video game-like images of masked "warriors," blood.

Violence is necessary. You can't get what you want unless you indulge in a little violence. Oh sure, there was Ghandi of India, a man so wedded to the principle of peace, to the use of non-violence to effect change, that he liberated an entire country from colonialism that way. But that was another century. And oh yeah, there's our own country,Canada, a place with leaders so able in thinking and the art of negotiation that they liberated an entire country from colonialism that way. But that's so boring.


I wonder: did you find negotiating that first car purchase or convincing your gorgeous co-worker to go out with you boring? Such a yawn-fest, you fell right asleep in the middle of it, eh?

And in the end, as one watching the Montréal riots, the overriding message to all voyeurs is "let's go throw things" -- not what are the core issues that are driving the protests. For that, I must make an effort to seek out in-depth current affairs programs because aside from "lower tuition fees," a simple idea that doesn't tell the whole story or answer the "why" question, the only idea dominating the news, the only reason now to tune in after days of receiving our nightly high, even after watching the historic massive protest yesterday, is: will there be more violence? Let's watch!

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