Awesome video is awesome.
My work is having a Mini Teaching Powwow! If you live in Vancouver you should come. Then you will get to have me serving you hot dogs and bison chili. What more could you want?
Really, Groupon? REALLY? Tell me where in Vancouver I can get that giant taco looking thing because I would like to know.
So this happened in Vancouver yesterday. A bear stowed away in a garbage truck and was unwittingly transported from North Vancouver all the way to downtown Vancouver. It then proceeded to sit calmly on a garbage dumpster until it was sedated and taken away. It was released into the Squamish valley safely. It was also known as Downtown Bear which is the CUTEST NAME EVER.
Most famous Canadian bear since Winnie the Pooh?
Remember that time I was on Supernatural? If not, this is pretty much all that happened. One day I’ll post a clip of me lurkin’ in the BG!
I posted another comic on my comic-blog!
That lion hair looked randomly really good on you though, even though I know you don’t believe it.
Granville Street, Vancouver. Fred Herzog. (circa 1959)
I kind of wish Granville street still looked like this.
Tonight at 8 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery Georgia Street. We will honour the remarkable life of Jack Layton. Please pass the word, bring a candle and a message
Last night I was unfortunate enough to witness the beginning of what would later escalate into the most violent riot on Canadian soil I have ever seen in my short, privileged life. I realize that I have a lot of friends on here from far away who are maybe only getting the media’s portrayal of this riot so I thought I would clarify a few things, especially since I am seeing a lot of comparisons to the G20 riots and protests that took place in Toronto last year.
Fortunately, I missed out on the bulk of the G20 protests as I was abroad at the time. I did however come home to destroyed city blocks, scores of riot police on every corner and a large number of friends suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Don’t get me wrong, the G20 was a TRAVESTY. Peaceful protests were met with violence from a police force that was eager to solve the problems with violence and cohersion. Rioting and destruction was undertaken (which was rarely) by groups of people dissatisfied with political issues and who wanted to send a message to the people in power. While I do not believe that “wanting to send a message” excuses anyone from criminal activity, the majority of protesters at the G20 attempted to send that message through peaceful, non-violent means.
The Vancouver riots that happened last night were NONE of the above. This was not a group of people who were dissatisfied with social conditions, with the political climate or who wanted to send a meaningful message. For the most part, this was a group of privileged men (and women) who went to the hockey game last night prepared to incite a riot for the sole purpose of destroying property and commiting crimes. These were not marginalized groups, nor were they hockey fans, but rather groups of privileged young people taking advantage of the large crowds to incite riots and violence. You might have noticed that I am using the word “privileged” a lot. This is because I can’t think of any other word to describe a group of people who can afford to buy a $200 vintage jersey and have no thought to destroying a section of Vancouver that is home to large groups of marginalized and poverty-stricken people. To me, this shows such a complete demonstration of selfishness not usually found in people who attend “protests with a purpose” like the G20. With regards to the police involvement in the riots last night, I am quite honestly surprised that they do not use MORE force. The level of violence in this riot was astounding. People who tried to stop rioters were beaten unconscious, others who were trying to escape the crowds were subjected to flying glass shards from bombs, images of young girls lying on their fronts while people tried to pick the glass out of their backs because no one with first aid certification could get to them were flashed all over the news. As my cousin was trying to escape downtown (we had watched the game a couple of blocks away, and I am happy to say that the most violent any of the fans in our area got was to throw their t-shirts in the garbage), she came across someone stumbling away from the crowd who had been stabbed in the neck. The police violence that has been broadcast did not even come close to the violence of the rioters and considering how many police officers were attacked and brutalized I would like to commend them on how LITTLE force was used.
For people who do not live in Vancouver, it is also important to understand that in and around the area the riots took place there are large amounts of homeless and oppressed people who live in the streets. I have not heard any reports, nor are we likely to, about violence against these peoples but I can only hope that they escaped unscathed. In an atmosphere such as this, I hold out little hope that the homeless and the sex workers will be protected.
So yes. The G20 riots and the Vancouver riots were both riots that happened in Canada. But that is pretty much where the similarities end. The Vancouver riots were a complete and utter embarassment to the City of Vancouver and are in no way indicative of the attitudes of Vancouverites or even Canucks fans for that matter. Our city blocks off numerous city blocks and spends thousands of dollars to put up TV screens so that the city can have a city-wide party, and THIS is what happens.
THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Courtesy of my cousin B, via Facebook.
How do we understand the riots that exploded in Vancouver after the beloved Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals? How do we understand the burning cars, broken glass and injuries that stand as an enduring coda of their game seven defeat at the hands of the visiting Boston Bruins? Having communicated with several dozen people in “the most livable city in the world” I think I have a modest perspective on why the Canucks 4-0 loss was followed by fire.
One thing was made abundantly clear to me, Please disregard the “analysis” of TSN’s Bob Mackenzie aka “The Hockey Insider” who blamed “Left wing loons” for the rubble. Mackenzie tweeted that he was sure responsibility lay with “anarchists and some organized extremists…many of the same people and groups who orchestrated riots in Toronto last summer at the G8”. This is unsupported and profoundly irresponsible garbage with no basis in fact. Vancouver activist Harsha Walia said to me “It’s ridiculous that even a hockey riot needs a scapegoat. A deliberately created media circus of sports fervor, millions of alcohol advertising dollars, and City-sanctioned street party zones all over downtown will unsurprisingly lead to a massive street brawl.
Let’s also dispense with the fiction that this was the fault of all “Canuck fans.” The fans on the whole were actually in fine form after the game. They gave Conn Smythe winner, Bruin goalie Tim Thomas, a standing ovation and also rose and cheered for every Bruin from Vancouver British Columbia. Of the millions of Canuck supporters, this was a miniscule mob. As Shiema Ali of Vancouver wrote to me, “I live in Vancouver and left the downtown core just before the game started. There were tons of people coming into the city who were already drunk and rowdy (in a bad way) —win or lose those people were ready to riot.”
What happened after the game was neither in the spirit of people at the arena not the spirit of those who bravely protested the G8. As activist and hockey fan Derrick O’Keefe said to me, “’Sometimes a riot is the ‘language of the unheard’, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. But sometimes a riot is just an expression of young male stupidity and violence —this was the case last night in Vancouver.”
Another person said to me, “There were lots of [LGBTQ people] down there, some got roughed up, some dental care needed. There are also attempts to pin this on ‘black bloc’ and references to ‘protesters.’ There are lots of frustrated young men for sure lashing out at authority but no analysis of what might be spurring this.”
I did receive this incisive bit of analysis from Dru Oja Day, an editor at the Media Co-op. “If you ask people to pour all of their emotions and anger into a game, then a major event (Montrealers have rioted after first round game 7 wins!) is going to occasion some outbursts. Hockey commentators like Hockey Nights’ Don Cherry are constantly associating hockey with the troops overseas (he went to Afghanistan and fired a live shell, for chrissakes) and promote fighting and big open ice hits. We shouldn’t be surprised.”
John Ward-Leighton also pointed out on his blog the role that the liquor lobby placed in turned an entire area around the arena into a branded “Entertainment Zone” larded with bars and free-flowing liquor.
“It was clear that a lot of of the participants in last nights riot and looting were at the very least impaired and looking for trouble,” said Ward-Leighton. “This “zone” has nothing to do with entertainment and much to do with the almost criminal profit taking of the proprietors of the establishments who far from “serving it right” pour drunken idiots into the streets nightly to brawl and drive drunk….The fault for last nights idiocy was not about losing a hockey game or the police response, the bomb had its fuse lit with the myth that the only way you can have fun is to get stinking drunk.”
And yet the action —or inaction of the police is garnering attention as well. Alex Kerner, a law student and activist said to me, “How the police dealt with this riot compared to the G20 in Toronto last summer is instructive. While the destruction of police cars, property and lighting of fires was much more extensive this time, the police tended to focus only on those who committed the acts of vandalism. Some tear gas was used but for the most part the targets were the actual rioters. Contrast this to the G20, where police used much more limited property damage by anarchists during the protests to sweep through the entire protest and arrest a record number of participants, irrespective of their actions. This sends a pretty sharp message from police that being around a pointless hockey riot is much safer than being at a protest with an actual purpose.” It’s also worth noting that of the dozens of people who have needed medical attention, the overwhelming majority have required treatment for “exposure to tear gas or pepper spray” from, of course, the police. In addition, the push from police and the media for people to “post on Facebook” pictures of rioters so they can be identified and prosecuted signifies some kind of queasy step toward “social media as police state” that we should reject. Today a sports riot, tomorrow a demonstration.
One aspect that’s not getting nearly the publicity as the riots themselves are the people who risked danger, going in the street doing volunteer cleanup, while the streets still raged. As O’Keefe said to me, “Here in Canada, we’re dealing with a federal government hell bent on cutting back public services —they’re about to legislate postal workers back to work —but these are exactly the working people who tended to the wounded and put out the fires that night. In a way, we could thank the testosterone-laden morons for reminding a hockey crazed city that the real heroes in society don’t play a game for money; the real heroes fight fires, drive ambulances, treat the sick, and clean-up garbage.” The real heroes are also those who try to connect with the angst and alienation that leads to such destruction and channels it into protesting the very people “hell bent on cutting back” the services we so dearly need.
As one of those real heroes, Harsha Walia said to me, “There is a sense that people rioted over a “stupid apolitical hockey game.” While I too wish people were motivated by social justice issues, the hockey game is NOT apolitical by any means. The riots were a fundamentalist defense of a type of nationalism, most evident in the beatings and stabbings of Bruins fans in Vancouver last night. NHL hockey is not simply a game, it is representative of obedience to consumerism and is part of the state’s attempt to forge a false identity —despite vast differences and inequalities across race, class, and gender, through the spectacle of sport.”
The state does reap what the state sows. We should remember that as the hand-wringing by police and government officials commences in earnest.