It’s procrastinate-o-clock again! This time, the most glamorous riot of them all: the Rodney King riots. Los Angeles, 1992. Lots of anger. Lots of guns. Lots of helicopters and cameras. And gangster rap.

Ah, Los Angeles. Design as Politics loves it, admittedly because Reyner Banham does too. His book about the city is amazing, but this is even better: watching Banham himself cruise through town for about an hour is indeed an hour well spent. But that’s enough reality for now: more than anything Los Angeles is a place of myth and media and fiction. The city of course stars in about half a million movies – this one is great because it has Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and lots of violence. Else, try Blade Runner. Interestingly, Hollywood has also produced quite a few movies in which Los Angeles gets destroyed completely.

Then, the riots. This is what started it. Then this happened – for about a week. Naturally, there is an incredible amount of footage from the riots: do pay attention to the awesomeness of 90’s fashion and hair styles. Only in LA do looters care about their appearance. Also, this oddity of a documentary is an interesting watch if you can sit through the horrific starting credits.

Lastly, there is music. Lots of it. And a white, British reporter talking about LA’s gang culture in 2008.

Note for those who want to attend the lecture: tomorrow’s and next week’s lecture will be held at 10:45, in lecture hall C!

Comments (2)

  • Margaret crawford

    As someone who lived in LA during the riots or “civil unrest” I am disturbed by the glib tone of this description. Not sure that combination of Reyner Banham, riots and gangs elucidate anything about the city. Much more complexity needed!

    • tpeeters

      Hi Margaret,

      Of course the story is much more complex – that is why we devote a two-hour lecture to the LA riots and their background. The posts that accompany the lectures (there are going to be six of them) are merely lists of bits of extra information that have something to do with the subject, wrapped in as little text as possible. They are in no way meant to be disturbing; oversimplification and cynicism have only been used for the sake of blogging. However, I do believe the tone of the writing is not that different from that of many news broadcasts about the riots themselves, which I often found to be bordering on distasteful sensationalism when watching them. I have, somewhat unconsciously perhaps, attempted to emulate their tone to express the bizarreness of reporters interviewing looters and tv-channels airing live footage of murders. I apologize if my glibness has offended; I hope you understand it is not because of ignorance of the subject. Maybe we should include disclaimers in all our posts – riots are never nice and always extremely complicated, which makes writing about them a somewhat precarious undertaking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *