The Marxist cultural critic Raymond Williams once described TV as “flow”. He was writing in the days when you had to watch everything live, as it was broadcast, before even VCR was invented, and obviously we don’t watch TV like that so much any more. (Even though we use the word ‘streaming’). But there is a deeper truth all the same in Williams’ account: that sense that all television washes past us, each of its genre conventions so tightly defined that nothing ever surprises us or breaks out of the screen. Watching Channel 4’s documentary ‘Is it time to break the law?’, about the limits, or not, of environmental protest, was for these reasons and others a complete surprise.
The United States is on fire. Since the police killing of George Floyd on May 26, millions have taken to the streets in protest, clashing with police. At least 11 people have died, and thousands have been arrested. 15 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have called in the National Guard to quash protests raging in over 100 cities. Violence has been widespread, particularly in the epicenter Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, with buildings engulfed in flames, stores looted and vehicles destroyed. While protestors are undoubtedly responsible for some share of the destruction, the country’s law enforcement officials have also been caught multiple times sabotaging and destroying property as well, presumably in an attempt to escalate the situation or to defame the protests.
Two white protesters got called out by a black protester for tagging a Starbucks with graffiti repping the Black Lives Matter movement ... and the bizarre encounter was caught on video. Check it out ... you see two white women decked out in all black and wearing face masks/coverings spraying 'BLM' along the side of a Starbucks in L.A., as well as other messaging. One African-American woman who's also protesting gets in their faces and questions what they're doing ... and why. Watch what happens when she confronts them. The white gals were NOT down to stick around for answers, as they mumbled incoherent responses and abruptly scrammed as soon as they realized they were getting attention.
Protesters and onlookers have posted numerous videos and accounts of confrontations with white men on social media, sometimes including symbols associated with fringe groups that originated online. Many people have also told MPR News reporters of witnessing armed men in Minneapolis. Bridget Schumann was out for a run near Calhoun Square in south Minneapolis on Friday night when she saw a truck that was being driven aggressively, honking and intimidating other drivers. The truck had a big white sticker on the back of the cab with the OK sign symbol associated with white supremacists. “There were two men in the driver and passenger seat and they were wearing camo bulletproof vests and they were armed,” she said. Schumann watched them get out of the truck and walk around in an apartment building parking garage like they were looking for something.