Monday, June 20, 2011

Angst

I woke up feeling crappy this morning after coughing all night so I decided to stay home and work from here and not spread the germs.  While I was drinking my tea I was listening to CBC radio as I always do in the morning.  I was getting more and more frustrated with the never-ending pieces on the now infamous Vancouver Riot of 2011.  What was frustrating me was that what I had, at first, perceived to be a positive use of social media to identify criminal behaviour had itself turned into a mob.  I was also wondering just how long this navel-gazing, introspective angst was going to go on.  And I was thoroughly disquietened by the desperate clamour to insist this is not who "we" are, this was the work of a few anarchists, it was the mob who made decent people violent and turned them into thieves and looters.  I think I even wrote that on my post about the riots but by this morning I was not so sure.

Whenever Allan or I leave on a trip (or David leaves on one) David writes these delightful notes for us to open "only when you are really missing me" or "Open when I have been away 1.5 weeks ".  These notes always start by reassuring us that he is OK and that we are OK and that everything will be fine and that he loves us 9999999999999x99999999999x9999999999xinfinity.  I adore these notes and treasure them.  I also know that in writing them David is not only expressing his love but also reassuring himself that everything will be ok.

In much of the commentary and now ubiquitous online apologies from outed rioters as well as other blog posts, there is a desperate attempt to reassure ourselves, as Canuck fans, as Vancouverites, as Canadians that everything is OK........ that we still love each other and respect our City and our team, indeed ourselves, because more of us are good people who write messages on plywood boarded windows and paste police cars with post-it notes of thanks. Good.For.Us......... is the message....... not to worry about the bad guys, not only are they not "us", we will track them down and shame them publicly and pray the justice system gives them more than a slap on the wrist.

Well... I am not so sure....that we are ok or that we are as nice/good as we think we are.  In response to my friend Jeff Golby's post on FB today I answered with this:

I was lying in bed this morning listening to piece after piece on the riots and the aftermath and seeing that what started out as a positive use of social media has become the virtual mob.....not only am I saddened by the latent anger that has now been given full vent either in person downtown or through FB/Twitter/email etc. but I wonder how long we are going to dwell here in the anger and the desperation to claim this is not who we are...... when clearly that is not entirely the case. I think this whole debacle scares Canadians because it does actually say something about who we are. Is this a wake-up call?

This whole debate has been going around in head all morning as I try to make sense of it.  I absolutely do not have the answers but I do have questions and concerns about what this means for "us " collectively and what my role was/is/should be.......

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