Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hypotheses from Biased Media Coverage and Casual Empiricism

Tim Blair links to this great story in The Sun - two thugs with a bull terrier attempted to pick a fight with three guys in London, but end up getting their @$$es beat. Turns out that the three men were soldiers who had between them two George's Crosses and one Victoria Cross, and were on the way back from a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.Unlucky!

The British press loves stories like this - there was another one a while back about a Gulf War veteran and black belt in Jiu Jitsu flooring some chav loser who tried to pick a fight, which was hilariously caught on video:

So here's my question - why does it seem like Britain has such an epidemic of unprovoked attacks by random buttclowns? Like I said, I have little systematic data I can point to on this, except the following:

a) a long list of (almost certainly highly selective) media articles over the years about the inability and unwillingness of British Police to confront violent assaults (try some Theodore Dalrymple to get the flavour)

b) an experience being out in Oxford one night a few years ago, and seeing random chav scum hurling abuse at random passers-by trying to pick fights. I felt a visceral uneasiness at the whole scene in a way that I hadn't gotten at these type of places before. It was as if a large fraction of the nightclub seemed to be looking for an excuse to start something.

Is it just me, or does this kind of thing not seem to happen nearly as much in America and Australia?

The Sun is a populist tabloid, but I'm sure the New York Post would equally love to print stories like this if they had a chance. Everyone loves the satisfying moral outcome of thugs getting their comeuppance. If they seem to come up less in America, my guess is that it's a combination of lower frequency of these events, and the fact that in Britain they have the additional appeal of speaking to the kind of fear that average Britons have about how safe their streets are.

So having laid out the fragility of the evidence I draw on, I still have a hunch that something has gone deeply wrong with the culture in modern Britain.

No comments:

Post a Comment