Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

O Look, A Riot...

In artistic representations of conflict- paintings, movies, TV shows- everything is purposeful. Even the extras know what they're supposed to be doing. The attackers attack, the defenders defend, meaningful gestures are made, sinews are stretched. If an important historical figure is present he has a space cleared round him so we can better admire whatever it is he is doing. No-one just wanders through the scene, no-one stand idle, no-one has their hands in their pockets.

Reality is otherwise.

Yesterday I was watching unedited drone footage of the action in central London. In one sector a bunch of protesters had been kettled by the police. We were at a height from which people look like ants so it was impossible to be sure which faction they were from. They had formed into a sort of clump- and swirled and drifted amorphously, like industrial pollution on a pond. They pushed at the thin yellow line (the cops were wearing high vis jackets) seeking advantage, but when the line parted as it sometimes did, no-one broke through because they were leaderless and had no idea where they wanted to be. People who were just going about their business crossed the camera's eye. Some ran to be sooner clear of the unpleasantness, but others strolled, sauntered, took their time about it. "Oh look, a riot, how interesting..."

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