Frank Furedi writes:
For the time being, anti-capitalist protest looks very much like a lifestyle affectation (…) the mirror image of the consumerism that it so despises. This is about playing at protest.
The demonstrators were not simply demonstrating; they were posing for the cameras, and often for their own cameras. Seeing all those activists taking pictures of themselves with their mobile phones indicated to me that the line between voyeurism and protest has become ambiguous. ‘Been there, done that, smashed a window and got the picture’ – that is the attitude of the voyeur-protester.
Actually, they had that character even in my day. We were more like Civil War recreators in hippie/punk drag than people living in the moment; we were fighting battles that were either imaginary and/or already won.
So that’s not an entirely original observation. Although I suspect Furedi was smart enough in his youth not to have shared my own experiences. Back in the 80s and 90s, we didn’t have cell phone cameras, so the level of instant narcissism was much lower, although a few people, like my then boyfriend, always wanted to be home by 6PM to (hopefully) see themselves on the news.