Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

The commentary around Weds night’s hockey riot is noticeable for how weak it is.  Not exactly breaking out the old brain cells nor searching the vast corners of the attic…  There was a piece in today’s Globe that was so pointless the writer must have written while his washing was on the spin cycle. He referred, in a throw away half (witted) sentence to the “labour battles of the 1930’s” and attempted to cook up some bonko explanation on Vancouver’s pre-disposition to riot antics while having no insight or discernible knowledge of the city’s history. (quick smash and grab on a wiki link or two).  If he intends to reference the 1930’s and he might do well to note that the relief camp system was invented by the Federal Govt!

A friend today described what took place (before and during riot) as a silly performance of identity.  I think I’d actually term it more of a misguided clog dance of identity. Listening to the police spokesperson (redolent of the hockey tunnel interviews)  drone out cliches the other night, in the car, a friend who was riding with me called from the back that many intelligent people did not experience the play offs as a “great run” and could tell something like this wanton madness was brewing.

The language was a key indicator. Hockey language is incredibly vacuous. A half dozen vacuous men speaking in vacuous language on locker room analysis. To be honest no wonder the language then became peppered with tones that one hears in the average fly -on-the-wall documentary about going to war and how to psych up with your rock eared battalion about the enemy.  I was particularly struck noticing people I know to be reasonably intelligent, normally lucid individuals chiming out the kinds of mumbo-jumbo you might record in a screening interview with some-one in an active state of delusion on the PAC ward at Vancouver General Hospital.

Every time I hear this battle cry of World Class City  — I wonder why this hasn’t made it into the commentary, why amidst the chronic feeding of mindless boosterism & blithe acceptance of what we’re fed about where we live   should anyone be surprised to see the equally mindless participation and blithe  feeding frenzy on the violence on Weds. There are bigger questions to be interrogated around participation. What is the unfed urge to participate? What was this dependence on a single outcome, the entitlement to that outcome, the lack of consideration for any other outcome, the demand for it. (and when demand not met in a timely manner, refund?!)

We’re also looking for these single individuals, we want to unite with those who stood up and yelled and waved their arms, urged people to stop. We want to unite with them now, but while they were standing there yelling (solo it seems almost always from the footage) why didn’t the swarms of others join them? Why didn’t three other people join them? And why did those swarms only join when some lug-head then proceeded to push them to the ground, why’d the swarm join in when it came to kicking them in the kidneys and back of the head?

To some degree enforced participation began with the 2010 Olympics. Those who stood aside and questioned and didn’t don the red mittens were eyed suspiciously as kill joys. National Pride took over. A swarm ensued. See how the language comes back to itself. We were desperate, we are desperate and we’ll remain desperate until we actually examine those appetites and how they’re fed. Yet the biggest examination seems to revolve only around “brand repair” and explaining or tagging activities with neat slogans.

Leave a Reply