February 6, 2002
6:05 PM   Subscribe

Oh, I got it now. One "rowdy" group in the streets lights bonfires, climbs lightpoles, blocks traffic, dances on cars and a police van as "bemused" riot cops looked on. Another group "allegedly committed vandalism" and were consquently arrested in droves. See, if you generally run wild in favor of the status quo, the cops are your friends. If you march in opposition to the status quo you get arrested.
posted by raaka (18 comments total)
Years of enduring Bill Buckner jokes are so much more oppressive than rampant globalization...
posted by machaus at 6:09 PM on February 6, 2002

NY generally is so peaceful, loving, joyous that any rowdy behavior is deemed chaos. Boston, by contrast, filled with drunken Sam Adams-drinkg buffons and since they represent the majority of the town, the police let them alone because they can not lock up 2/3 of the city. I once stopped stopped at a stop sign while driving in Boston and was hooted as "a friggin asshole" by the locals.
posted by Postroad at 6:18 PM on February 6, 2002

I don't recall the police any other major cities being "bemused" by sports riots in recent memory. Maybe it's just a Boston thing?
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:21 PM on February 6, 2002

I think the word "bemused" does not mean what you think it means, raaka. It is a closer synonym to "dazed." It implies the cops were not prepared for rioting and were stunned (or perhaps frightened) into inaction.

You also conveniently omitted this sentence: "But as the evening went on, police arrested at least four revelers there as firefighters removed one from a tree."

You could just as easily have written your concluding snarky remark this way: "See, if you generally run wild in Boston, the cops leave you alone. If you march in New York, you get arrested." It would have been about as accurate and relevant.
posted by kindall at 6:21 PM on February 6, 2002

You know all this rioting and destruction of property deeply saddens me. But I think I have the solution. Behold if you will:


An amusement park filled with prebuilt cities, temples and places of business for you destroy, built to suit any persuasion.
Separate areas for radicals, sports fans, and the merely psychotic.

Political frustrations vented and a cash cow to boot. It's a win-win. Interested investors call for prospectus.
posted by jonmc at 7:01 PM on February 6, 2002

I think the word "bemused" does not mean what you think it means, raaka.

Actually, if you're in a state of 'bemusement' you're being unobservant or inattentive. If the cops were bemused then, basically, they couldn't give two shits what was going on.

Now for tomorrow I want you all to read chapter five and take the self-quiz at the end.
posted by KLAX at 7:17 PM on February 6, 2002

I don't understand what you're getting at. While I wasn't at the WEF protests, I was witness to a lot of the post-Super Bowl celebrations, and I can say with some accuracy that the Globe's account wildly overstates the nature of many, if not most, of the people in the streets Sunday night. (I even made a comment about it then - and by the way, the story about the car turned out to be false.)

I wouldn't blame the fact that only a handful of people were arrested out of an inestimable number of thousands of people on the status quo at all, or on the nature of Boston. I bristle at being termed a drunken yahoo, although I was having a good time Sunday night. It's possible to do that without being intoxicated or destroying anything, you know.

I would explain it by virtue of the fact that for the most part, this was a good-natured celebration, and the police handled it as such. My experiences, even in the thick of the crowds on Boylston St. and at Faneuil Hall, was that for the most part, people weren't doing anything worthy of arrests. The only obvious vandalism I or anyone I've talked to since witnessed was a car dented by a tipped-over newspaper box - certainly, nobody smashed any windows or doors, as far as I can tell. Even some of the more dubious criminal element of our neighborhood (such Runyonesque characters as the crack dealer who rides a tricycle, or the crack dealer who's a dwarf, for instance) were slapping hands and hugging everybody and generally having a good time. We don't get to do this often, after all.

Please don't generalize based on one newspaper's account; if you regularly read the Globe, you'd probably understand that what they say about matters like this needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
posted by dayan at 7:17 PM on February 6, 2002

jonmc : Send me the prospectus ... but frankly I'm slightly hesitant because I'm not certain you've thought your business model through fully enough. You have focussed too narrowly on re-creating the conditions that would allow for a faithful replication of the actions, but to really make the big bucks that'll get you past the 2nd round of funding and on the IPO express, you'll need to examine motive ... as that is the engine of profit. Dig it:

It is not just providing the luxury high rise, with magnificent plate glass windows that will effectively target the lucrative PETA market for instance - see, if they just smashed a window, poured red paint on a sidewalk, scattered a few bones around, milled around for a bit talking amongst themselves, and then left, what would that accomplish?

Little other than a scene later in the day in which thoroughly befuddled residents of the building would be standing around, scratching their heads, looking at the mess, and wondering why in the hell some apparently incredibly stupid chicken had wasted itself by smashing itself against the window of their lobby. No no no ... such a thing would not please your customers, and lead to that important yearly visit with the kids. Doncha see? The protesters - your clients - would be left with a curiously empty feeling inside.

See, they need the police to be there for them, to dash in and cause a mad scuffle. To arrest them ... and with any luck engage in a bit of excessive force. And, like some perv from the old days in Times Square, just a bit of S & M alone won't do it - to really get off they've got to throw in exhibitionism ... they need the press there to film them getting roughed up and arrested by the police, and then to see it played on the evening news with the largest market share possible. That's the ultimate buzz.

So I think you see where I'm heading with this ... you aren't first to market ... you've got formidable competition from the big boys like the Ruckus Society camps, and a whole host of smaller, regional players. Not an easy market to crack ... but, delivering a total experience to your clients is the key to success.

Think about it. Have your people call my people. Tee Hee.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:47 PM on February 6, 2002

Hmmm. Good points, there Midas, we'll have to throw in free videos of the destruction.
As for motive, I'm sure we can get some poor slob to dress up like a meat packer for the PETAphiles, build a fake GAP for the anti-globalists and get Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams for the rabid Phillies fans.
If we throw in a hot dog stand(tofu pups, of course) I don't think we can loose. And just to be fair perhaps we can build a hippie commune, a pirate radio station and a fake Federal bulding for the rabid right-wingers. Wouldn't wanna leave any markets untapped.
It all goes back to what Abbie Hoffman once said:
"Go ask someone what they want.
If he answers, 'I want to beat the shit out of people like you' , build him a boxing ring.

I'd have my people call your people, but alas I have no people. I'm a lone gunman not an army.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on February 6, 2002

I went to Riotland, and all I got was this subdural hematoma.
posted by dong_resin at 8:19 PM on February 6, 2002

Riots? In Boston? Is this the alternative-universe Boston we're talking about?

It's not like some other cities we could name where buildings were broken into or set on fire or trashed. Yeah, some honor boxes were knocked over, and yeah, the Fire Department had to rescue some shirtless, no doubt inebriated dolt who climbed up into a tree, and sure, a few other inebriates did stupid things.

But having lived through the 1977 New York blackout riots, I can only humbly suggest that if you think what happened in Boston Sunday night constitutes a "riot," you're nuts.
posted by agaffin at 9:07 PM on February 6, 2002

Riotland. Come for the tear gas. Stay for the week in jail!
posted by D at 9:08 PM on February 6, 2002

Riotland? Why build the park when you can play the game?
posted by malphigian at 9:52 PM on February 6, 2002

KLAX: Sorry, but I'll take the dictionary definition over yours.
posted by kindall at 10:52 PM on February 6, 2002

KLAX: Sorry, but I'll take the dictionary definition over yours.

It's okay, you're both right! My OED confirms this at length.

Can't we all get along?
posted by malphigian at 11:00 PM on February 6, 2002

kindall: The bemused part wasn’t the most interesting part of the clause. (I do know what it means.) The fact is that these cops took very little to no action to stop people as they vandalised and endangered other pedestrains. I can’t imagine the CS cloud that riot cops would’ve launched had a the Black Bloc done any one of the things listed in the topic post. Since it was just Superbowl revelers, the rowdiest of the rowdy get a night in the clink and everybody else gets a slap on the back or a “bemused” look.

jonmc, funny (seriously). Add this feature to the Riotland prospectus and I’ll underwrite your IPO (speaking of which, Paypal is is going public tomorrow): The Corporate Sadist! Loving nothing more than to hide debt in Taboga and raid pensions, he runs a speculation fund that banks on neo-liberal policy failures. He’s making out like the bandit biz school trained him to be! When not giggling over riot cops gassing social justice activists, he’s diddling the chubby he gets watching big burly mean in black S&M gear beat puppet- and placard-wielding protestors.

Mostly, his delights come from his own imperviousness from the economic and totalitarian oppression he creates. Buy your tickets today!
posted by raaka at 1:40 AM on February 7, 2002

Have to weigh in (way late). There was no riot in Boston. I walked through the Fenway and Allston/Brighton, and while there was definitely drunken revelry, there was very little destruction. Not much worse than a late Saturday when the bars let out.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 2:51 AM on February 7, 2002

Some fans waved American flags and chanted ''USA, USA''

Yeah, maybe a couple people were doing that; what the article leaves out is that the the lion's share of the crowd spent at least half an hour chanting "YANKEES SUCK!"

Yes, New England wins the Super Bowl and Boston celebrates with a baseball cheer!

(Those of you from Boston will understand.)
posted by straight at 5:42 AM on February 7, 2002

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