The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'chavs'
Two teenage thugs have been sentenced to "life imprisonment" for beating a young woman to death because of her Goth attire. The two will serve a minimum of 18 and 16 years respectively, and could be out in their mid-30s. Meanwhile, violence against goths (or "grungers") is still common in Britain, especially amongst, it would seem, the less intelligent sectors of society:
On the social networking site Bebo, there's a group called grungers-should-die, which sets out its mission statement as follows: "Join this band if u think grungers / goth should die ... tell us some story about u bashing some grungers." On the comment wall, a girl has obliged: "fuckin bashed a grunger the uva day innit."
Coles says the goth community is misunderstood. "What people don't understand is that the goth community is largely a peaceful one, full of intelligent people that have often been shunned by normal society and choose to keep company with other likeminded souls. In 22 years of running clubs I've not seen one fight, or indeed any trouble."
A gay Iranian teenager who fled to Britain after his boyfriend was hanged for sodomy is facing deportation to Iran, and almost certain death. Britain's Home Office has already denied Mehdi Kazemi, 19, asylum, and now the Netherlands is extraditing him to Britain:
"There is no doubt that Mehdi will be arrested and probably executed if he is sent back there," said his 51-year-old uncle, a salesman from Hampshire. "The police have issued a warrant for his arrest. He will be in terrible danger if he goes back."
Mr Kazemi's father has also told him that if the state doesn't kill him, he will. "His father is very angry but his mother still loves him. She is extremely worried for him but she is in a very difficult position. In Iran, mothers don't stop loving their children because they are gay."
A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed Mr Kazemi had exhausted all his domestic avenues of appeal and could expect to be detained pending his deportation. But she added: "Any further representations will be considered on their merits taking into account all the circumstances."Meanwhile, in Lancashire, a court has heard that a gang of teenagers beat a 20-year-old woman to death because she was dressed as a Goth. The woman's boyfriend was severely bashed and left with brain damage. It is not clear what the assailants' dispute with the victims' subcultural orientation was, or indeed what their own views were, though it'd probably be a safe bet that they were of the hoody-wearing persuasion.
And the ultra-conservative former prime minister of Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has spoken out against allowing internet voting because the internet is for pornography:
"I am not an enthusiast of a young person sitting in front of a computer, watching video clips and pornography while sipping a bottle of beer and voting when he feels like it," he was quoted as saying on his party's revamped Web site.
He added that Internet users are "the easiest group to manipulate, to suggest who to vote for."He's right, if one defines being manipulated as being persuaded to put aside cherished prejudices and entertain new, potentially controversial, ideas.
A Commons inquiry into whether flying has become less pleasant has been told that flights with budget airlines are unpleasant, because of the quality of the passengers they attract:
He read out one description, saying the experience could be summed up as "very unpleasant, a good proportion of people shout the length of the cabin, walk around with drinks, use foul language and are generally awful".The representatives of two budget airlines, EasyJet and FlyBe, denied suggestions that they tolerate a poorer standard of behaviour than more expensive airlines. Though, if there is a correlation between the costliness of a journey and the standards of behaviour the travellers (consciously or subconsciously) believe is expected of them, what the airline will tolerate is beside the point.
Assuming that there is more bad behaviour on budget flights, I wonder what proportion of that is due to not so much the social class/lack of proper upbringing of the passengers as the context of the situation: in other words, some people who would otherwise behave respectably assuming, consciously or otherwise, that, since they're on a budget flight, the expected standards of behaviour are a lot lower than elsewhere. Call it a transport-related variant of the broken windows theory.
A UK university study has found correlations between musical taste and various aspects of lifestyle. According to the study, there is a positive correlation between fondness for hip-hop and dance music and sexual promiscuity, drug use, having committed (or claiming to have committed) crimes, and not giving a fuck about the environment or social justice (see also: "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'"). Which sounds like they have just discovered the Chav phenomenon.
In other surprises: fans of opera and classical music are most likely to have PhDs, have high incomes and not accumulate excessive credit card debt, and (along with jazz fans, who are a shade beneath them) are most likely to drink wine.
The latest social pastime for privileged kids in Britain are chav parties, where they dress up as stereotypes of unruly proles. Apparently even Prince William (he's the sensible one who doesn't go in for Nazi uniforms) has gone to a few.
There were various things on display," he says. "Pictures of rugby teams, of parties and discos. But the one that really jumped out was of a chav-themed school disco: all these rosy-cheeked, foppish-looking public schoolkids dressed in baseball caps and Adidas tracksuits. It looked a bit pathetic; at first I suppose I felt slight pity for them. But then I thought about it another way: here were the most privileged kids in Britain pretending to be poor people."(See also: trucker hats, "Kill Whitey" club nights, "bogan rock" nights in Prahran, Vice-twats ironically drinking cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon)
If today's Cat and Girl is anything to go by, the chav phenomenon has jumped the Atlantic and they've already got them in New York:
While we're there, this Cat and Girl, from a few weeks earlier, is also really good. A small excerpt:goes goth: the same idea eight years earlier, though he was being ironic.
(via Cat and Girl, bOING bOING)
Goths vs. Chavs. No, it's not an upcoming Working Title/Channel Four updating of Quadrophenia (substituting Whitby for Brighton and those daft-looking miniature motorcycles for Lambrettas), or the latest edgy game from Rockstar, but the reality being fought out in Britain's town centres every night. And now, in war games in the forests, organised by the local street wardens:
"We've had large groups of chavs and goths on Cathedral Square on a Saturday. They've not really being doing any harm but the sheer number of them intimidates people," he said. "It's like mods and rockers - not that these guys start fighting, it's just a bit of a slap here and there."
The few goths who still walk across the square by the city's Norman cathedral are not so sure. War games in the countryside? "That's going to be murder," said Kenny, 19, resplendent in his daywear of black boots, black jeans, black shirt and long black leather jacket (it's sunny and 25C). "The chavs will take knives."
Kitted out in black body armour and chomping on a large cigar, Steve Mayes, the street warden supervisor, looks more than a match for any mouthy chav or stoned goth. But he's found both groups showing scant regard for him, each other or society, and hopes that skirmishes in the countryside will instil respect.Though isn't "respect" (in the hip-hop/thug-life sense) a cornerstone of the Chav subculture, i.e., it being a matter of honour to set straight by means of physical force anyone who doesn't show one respect, or else forfeit the right to call oneself a man?
He points out a chav, swaggering through the square on the toes of his immaculate white trainers. "Most goths are so laid-back they are on their arse," he said. "If you go up to a chav and look at him wrong, he'll kick your head in."And since when do goths smoke pot as a rule? I thought that cloves and absinthe were their thing. Come to think of it, has anyone seen a goth running around the woods with a pellet gun? (Substitute "Norwegian black metaller" for "goth" and "big fück-off mediæval axe" for "pellet gun" and you might have something, though.)
But Mr Mayes admits there is one small problem: most of the goths were so laid-back they couldn't get up in time for the war games. Six cried off yesterday morning. "We've got more chavs than we have goths because they couldn't get out of bed," he said. "They've probably been smoking too much pot."
According to a new report, the widespread adoption of (commercial) hip-hop culture and the chav lifestyle by Britain's youth is affecting their educational and career prospects:
"The lure of popular 'bling bling' and Nike identities impacted on young people's engagement with schooling. A widespread and heavy investment in branded identities ("we're Nike people") shaped pupils' aspirations and engagement with schooling," the report continued.
"Desire for fashionable clothes, trainers and accessories meant that many young people wanted to leave school and start earning money as soon as possible. Higher education did not fit with these desired identities and was seen as an unattractive option that would not allow a young people to (afford to) 'be myself'," it said.
(One may well ask, what else is new. School has never been considered "cool", and dropping out to become a bricklayer or filing clerk, live in a bedsit and spend all one's money on flash clothes and partying all weekend dates back to the end of post-WW2 rationing. (Granted, the Mods who pioneered that did it with a lot more style than the thug-wannabes in gold jewellery and Burberry shellsuits.) Which left the picked-on high-school dorks to actually achieve anything other than a dead-end job later in life.
"Lot of the girls were coming into conflict with schools for 'speaking their mind' - there's a notion of being a strong woman - like Beyonce. This was being interpreted by schools as aggressive."(Do they need Beyonce for that? I thought watching EastEnders would have been enough.)
Smart car tipping is the new cow tipping, with hooligans having realised that the cute little cars are really easy to tip over, and that, among certain sections of the community, there is little sympathy for the smug rich people who drive them.
Hmmm... London's full of Smarts. I wonder how long until the chavs/grime thugs graduate from "happy slapping" to Smart tipping. Perhaps we'll see an article/rant about how cool and hardcore tipping over those annoying yuppie cars is in the next issue of Vice?
(via bOING bOING)
Last night, Murdoch cable channel Sky One aired a programme titled Chavs, a documentary of sorts, written and presented by Julie Burchill, on chav culture. I tuned in to see if it was going to be interesting or insightful, shedding any light on this phenomenon. It turned out to be more an op-ed piece, with Burchill, ever the contrarian, proudly hoisting the Burberry flag, declaring herself to be a chav and accusing those who have a problem with chav to be classist snobs.
Burchill's arguments hinged on one assumption: that chav and working-class culture were synonymous. (A piece of background: Burchill is the most self-announcedly "working class" public figure since Damon Albarn.) By her reasoning, all cultural figures of note from Mozart to the Mods were chavs, and the anti-chav camp only had horsy aristocrats and the likes of Prince Harry among them. Oh, and wearing in-your-face quantities of gold jewellery bought on QVC, drinking cheap lager and smoking like a chimney are just wholesome working-class ways of enjoying life, and those who would begrudge them that are hateful snobs and/or resentful of those who made it without middle-class privilege.
The fatal flaw in Burchill's argument is in the definitions; she plays fast-and-loose with what she means by "chav", switching between it meaning any happily working-class person at any time in history and the loutish subculture it commonly denotes. She also whitewashes the meaning to fit her argument, not mentioning the pseudo-criminal posturing (i.e., the combination of baseball caps and hooded tops, initially worn by muggers to avoid identification by CCTV cameras, now part of inner-city youth uniform) that's part of chav (or, indeed, the recent finding that 1 in 4 teenage boys is a serious or habitual offender), and sweeping things like drunken violence and football hooliganism under the carpet. It's not surprising that chav can start to look defensible and even pluckily admirable when you airbrush out all the negative parts of it.
Chavs was more of a snappily-edited tabloid opinion piece than anything else, and was also light on analysis, preferring to stick to simple assertions and soundbites. For example, while it asserted that the Mods of the 1960s were chavs (that is, if one ignores the difference between sharply-tailored suits and tracksuit pants), it failed to point out the one deeper connection between the two movements, i.e., that both appropriated (images of) black American culture (the Mods with soul and the "White Negro" ideal, and the chavs with their adoption of bling-bling and thug posturing from commercial gangsta rap).
It was also interesting to note that The Sun now has a "Chav and Proud" logo on its pages. It looks like the anti-anti-chav-backlash-backlash is beginning.
No, it's not some Japanese sexual fetish, but rather the latest teenage fad from England, combining the two national preoccupations of physical violence and mobile phones. Happy Slapping involves gangs of young malchicks on buses and trains slapping strangers in the face and recording their reactions on their phones.
Teenagers in Britain are obsessively going to tanning salons in a quest to look like heroes/success symbols like "Posh and Becks".
Real Story features a 13-year-old girl from Liverpool, identified as a blackspot for tanorexics, who has been visiting tanning parlours up to five times a week for the past year. Hayley Barrow, whose grandmother has skin cancer, explained: "If I haven't been on one [a sunbed] for one day I feel white, I feel transparent."
(Interesting that she mentions feeling "white" as a negative consequence of not tanning enough; I wonder whether there is a racial-aspirational dimension to this; with black groups and artists dominating the charts in recent years and (if the BBC's quizzes are to be believed) British kids speaking fluent US Hip-Hop Ebonics amongst themselves, whether having heavily tanned skin makes today's kids feel more "ghetto" or at one with their adopted culture. Judging by young Hayley's photo (she looks more like a white actor from a less politically-correct decade in blackface than a suntanned celebrity), it doesn't seem too far-fetched.)
"They call it the Posh and Becks syndrome," said Andy Carr, organiser of the Elite Teens disco. They want the tans, they want the clothes, they want the money."
If you can read this, then we're back. A routine machine relocation didn't go quite to plan, but it's all fixed now (hopefully).
And below is the backlog of blog items that didn't get posted to The Null Device over the past few days:
- Your tax dollars at work: A US spy agency as been monitoring webcams at an Islay distillery, just in case they were making chemical weapons instead of whisky. Defense Threat Reduction Agency officials stressed that monitoring Scottish distilleries was not a high priority, but stated that it would take just a "tweak" to modify the whisky-making process to produce chemical weapons. (Hmmm; that suggests some interesting near-future scenarios for potential flashpoints between the United States of America and Britain and a rogue People's Republic of Scotland.)
- An interesting paper on the design of the Google File System, a custom file system optimised for storing huge (multi-gigabyte) files on large farms of fault-prone hardware. (via bOING bOING)
- The latest fad in baby naming in the U.S. involved naming your children after your favourite brands of consumer goods. Looks like Max Barry wasn't all that far off: (via Techdirt)
"His daddy insisted on it because Timberlands were the pride of his wardrobe. The alternative was Reebok," said the 32-year-old nurse, who is now divorced. "I wanted Kevin."
This is only the latest chapter in the boom of giving children unique names.
According to the most recent census, at least 10,000 different names are now in use, two-thirds of which were largely unknown before World War II.
- "We're Gonna Get You After School!" Gibson's Law applies to playground mob psychology, with kids setting up websites and blogs to call their classmates names. This way, technology may be said to have democratised bullying, as it's no longer the musclebound alpha-jocks and the popular rich girls who have a monopoly on making others' lives miserable. (via TechDirt)
One 12-year-old blogger, writing on the popular Angelfire Web site, recently announced she would devote her page to "anyone and everyone i hate and why." She minced no words. "erin used to be aka miss perfect. too bad now u r a train face. hahaha. god did that to u since u r such a b -- . ashley stop acting like a slut wannabe. lauren u fat b -- can't even go out at night w/ ur friends. . . . and laurinda u suck u god damn flat, weird voice, skinny as a stick b -- ."
The author of the article calls for the use of "parental control devices" to stamp out "social cruelty", much in the way that filters have been used to stop pornography. Which sounds more like it would strip those kids put upon by the alpha-jocks/princesses of their online support networks of fellow outsiders.
- More on the internet's impact on human interaction: Internet chat addiction can stunt social skills in introverted adolescents, says a researcher in "social administration". Dr. Mubarak Rahamathulla says that research suggests that chat rooms have contributed to some teenagers fearing conventional social interaction, and becoming more dependent on anonymity or pseudonymity. However, he says, webcams may be a safe, healthy way for to explore their sexuality. Perhaps the future belongs to asocial chatroom onanists, who are into anything as long as it doesn't involve actual human contact?
- The AT&T text-to-speech demo site now has two British voices; the male one sounds somewhat deranged, as if having at some time in the past eaten some BSE-contaminated beef. (via kineticfactory)
- A company is now selling licensed arcade ROMs for MAME. StarROMs currently have a few dozen titles, all from Atari, but plan to have more; games cost between US$2 and US$6 per title, and all are unencrypted ROM images suitable for MAME, with no DRM chicanery to be seen. Let's hope this idea catches on.
- Transcosmopolitan, or Spider Jerusalem's stint as features writer for a women's lifestyle magazine. (via Warren Ellis' LiveJournal comments)