Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears by Geoffrey Pearson
The word Hooligan came into parlance at the start of the 19th Century, one hundred years before the term ‘chav’ arrived. Both words have the same connotation and allusions. They were middle-class terms for the unruly others, those who spoke with their mouth full, didn’t move out of the way on pavements or marauding the centres of cities at night. They were casual gangs of the dead-end job youth who spoke with a moderated vocabulary and didn’t seem to want to integrate. The Teddy Boys, the Mods and the Punks ave all been labelled in similar ways and according to certain newspapers, we all responsible for every failing in society.
Of course it seems rather bizarre if you think about it. Do Mods or chavs run the banks? Or pillage money from Parliament allowances or run their earnings through tax havens? And yet like the recent riots, it is personal failings, wholly the responsiblity of the individual (haven’t they been given everything?) that causes the social meltdowns.
Hooligan uses newspaper reports and speeches to show the same people have been saying the country is going to the dogs for centuries. It’s always the haves blaming the have-nots while at the same time using Machiavellian tricks to gain exclusive access to wealth and send the have-nots to war for the nation.
It’s a great read and very relevant to today’s broken record. And guess what, the Daily Mail turns up quite a lot!
Other books read over the summer include;
Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski
The great political and travel journalist covers the Soviet Union’s outer states as it collapsed in the early 1990s. Anthropologically entertaining.
The Age of Consent by George Monboit
Writer and journalist Monboit presents a political alternative in the name of social justice. Not always convincing but very readable.
Nickel and Dimed: Uncover in low-wage America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Brilliant at times but sometimes repetitive, Ehrenreich works in the low-wage service sector for six months, trying to make ends meet and finding out how the American Dream lives so many behind.
Acts of Resistance by Pierre Bourdieu
Bourdieu rallies against globalisation, the modern media and capitalist slavery. Logical and readable. Its simply articles and speeches written long before anyone else was predicting what we see now. The man was a genius.
Collateral Damage by Zygmunt Bauman
The old man of sociology Bauman comes out with another book about globalisation. Twas good but kind of heard it before from him
A State of Fear: Memories of Argentina’s Nightmare by Andrew Graham-Yooll
Now this was a great read. Graham-Yooll was a journalist for the Buenos Aries Herald in Buenos Aries during the Dirty War of the late 1970s. He writes of the fear on both sides and in particular for a journalist who were used as the mouthpieces for both sides. Whether it was being requested to attend secret press conferences, the fear of drive-by shootings and the police demanding information, Graham-Yooll portrays the atmosphere with humour and clarity. Great book.