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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

So we were sitting there at dinner when on comes a revolution. The young Englishmen were in the streets in London getting bashed by the Bobbies. Blood streaming down foreheads and shouting young men being pulled back into the crowd put me back to when I was kid watching the college demonstrations for that Indochina war that never quite worked out. The footage stopped dinner and everyone stared in silence while the British Police in riot gear tried to get the young Englishmen to behave like well young Englishmen. But they wanted to behave like the Young Americans from forty years before.

Remember that Bowie song. Young Americans....young Americans.. It was an anthem to the students taking to the streets and screaming Hell NO WE WONT GO. Bowie was tipping his hat, saying at least the Young Americans are doing something. Seems the Young Englishmen have had enough and don't like the fact the Banks and Big Business are getting bailed out and lavishing employees with million dollar bonuses while they lose their jobs and their homes. Those touchy Young Englishmen. Don't they know that demonstrating is passe in the twenty first century. They should take some lessons from their cousins across the Big Pond and just chill and send a an email.

We used to carry that mantle of outrage, but we have become so wired or placid or bored or turned off or just don't give a damn that the best we can do is blog or email or that moment of organized outrage..the Webcast! But those Englishmen seem to have had enough and have taken their rage to the streets. It was eerie seeing all those people in the streets with the billy clubs swinging and the riot geared police trying to take the streets. It did look like anarchy. It did look like populist rage. But this was England! Weren't we the ones who had the tea party and said no taxation without representation? Weren't we the ones who made the world safe for democracy? Weren't we the ones who tell the world where to get off with our flaming youthful indignation against the old order? Seems like everything else, even our fiery disrespect for the powers that be has been usurped by someone else.

David Bowie is going to have to pen another song if we don't wake up soon. But this time he won't have to look across the ocean. This time he can just turn on the telly and watch those Mad dogs and Englishmen raise hell.

Books by William Hazelgrove