September 7th, 2020

(no subject)

This article in the MIT Technology Review is a beauty.

Beware of riot porn, it says. "Right-wing adversarial media-makers like Elijah Schaffer and Andy Ngo ... collect videos of conflict at public protests and recirculate them to their online audiences," it says.

— Lady, but you are writing this in an article that several times mentions the name of George Floyd. Don't you remember what happened to the media in late May — early June? Don't you remember various videos of police brutality — this one shoved an old man to the ground, that one shot a rubber bullet, the other one accelerated his car against the crowd — that were circulating on social media in the early phase of the protests? Wasn't it also, like you say, a kind of, you know?..

Not at all. Riot porn, it says, is different from videos of abuse and violence carried out by police, and we should not confuse one for the other. In the recording of the George Floyd murder, the video mobilized hundreds of thousands of people outraged that Floyd’s killer had not been arrested. With riot porn, what moves someone from watching to showing up is the potential for participating in a violent altercation. The motivating factor is the hope to live out fantasies of taking justice into their own hands, à la Dirty Harry, the film series about a rogue cop who shirks protocol and murders at will.

— So, documentary evidence — fragmentary and therefore biased — of one kind of violence is good, because it mobilized thousands of outraged people; but documentary evidence — also fragmentary and biased — of a different kind of violence is bad and not to be confused because... erm... it motivates people to participate in a violent altercation? While the first kind of video didn't?

Outrage contagion, it continues, is why the McCloskeys, the husband-and-wife duo who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter marchers in St. Louis, were motivated to take their bizarre stand. It’s also why the couple were invited to address the Republican National Convention—an audience being encouraged to vote for Donald Trump’s reelection.

— So do you really think that the McCloskeys were seeking to, as you say, "participate in a violent altercation"? Really now? On their front yard? And, if it is outrage contagion that got the McCloskeys invited to the RNC, then what was it that moved a crowd to gather at the entrance and scream at the leaving delegates, or to mob Rand Paul?

And, while we are on the topic of riot porn, aren't these episodes worth recording?