August 12th, 2011

Twit/ter

Panic on the streets of London


It seems I haven't written here in ages ...but maybe some of that is because this week packed a full week of news in two days. I complain about how celebrity and scandal driven the news is here, but by Monday night I was eager for more stories about secret weddings and topless dips in the Med. Instead I had a return to full-on Riot Survival Mode, as all of my brain tried to suck up every scrap of info it could get ahold of to figure out Where Is It Safe and How Can I Get Home (and should I even be heading that way). Who would think the lessons learned when the WTO came to Seattle were actually reusable life skills? But constant monitoring of internet news, enhanced by phone calls to people with thicker pipe access and interviews with those "on the ground" (Tube station attendants, who would hear if there were problems on other points of the line) and of course undending feeds from total strangers thanks to Twitter, meant I was able to accurately assess danger and even warn a friend off of travelling through Clapham.

In many ways I think this is exactly what our overly large brains are built to do. Much poorer are their abilities to analyze root causes of these kinds of problems. Simple answers are easy and satisfying while neither they nor the solitions derived from them tend to prove correct in hindsight. As I see it, in six days it's gone from people looting and torching businesses and people's homes to everyone fighting with everyone else about whodunnit and why and still almost no ideas yet about what is needed to prevent this in the future (at least none that I find compelling). I'm revolted to find people eager to say "Yeah but XXX is just as bad!" as if pointing out someone else's bad behavior gets us in anyway closer to understanding the whys. It's like a feeding frenzy of despair and hatred and I have no desire to join in the finger pointing. I'll keep reading and thinking and engaging people personally, and if I ever feel like I've figured out "the cure" I'll certainly try to help put it in action. But til then, I'd like to see a lot less hatred from everyone.

Meanwhile: still looking for a new job, and looking forward to the weekend.

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