Wow....at this point there have been so many "white riots" in the last couple of years -- Huntington Beach, Santa Barbara, Penn State (more than once), and just this week, Morgantown, and now, most epic-ally of all-time, the great Pumpkin Festival riots of Keene, N.H. It's gotten to the point where all of the obvious jokes, about how the white community needs to have a serious conversation about getting our own house in order, or asking where are the (white) fathers, have been made again and again and again. O you silly rioters of mid-season college football wins and smashed pumpkins, you make comedy too easy!
Still, the ironies abound (and not just the appearance of would-be New Hampshire senator Scott Brown, who seems to inspire bad behavior wherever he goes). Keene is the town that was ridiculed just a couple of months ago by HBO's John Oliver for buying a mine-resistant armored personnel carrier and for citing the need to protect the annual Pumpkin Festival (although I guess the assumption was protect it from al-Qaeda and not from boisterous Natty Light drinkers). Will Oliver apologize? Of course, in reality, the real-life response this weekend of the Keene police -- in riot gear, lobbing tear gas -- is every bit as questionable and should get the same level of scrutiny as it did in Ferguson. It probably won't, though.
Speaking of Ferguson, if you have a few minutes read the news accounts of what happened in New Hampshire -- the youths who set fires and threw rocks or pumpkins were described as "rowdy" or "boisterous" or participants in "unrest." Do you remember such genteel language to describe the protesters in Missouri? Me neither...I wonder why.
But what really makes you scratch your head are the things that "these young people today" get so crazy over. The pumpkin-spice-addled kids who went wild in Keene are the Bizzaro World of their youthful peers in Hong Kong, who by the thousands have been running a clean and orderly protest for days, all over the abstract yet very critical right to have a democratic form of government. Here at home, there is such a wide selection for college-aged youth to be (hopefully peacefully) unrest-ive about -- not just police brutality against teens like Mike Brown, but voter ID laws like the one just OK'ed for Texas that will make it harder for college students to vote, or the ridiculous amount of student debt in this country, at a time when Germany is offering people higher education for free. I know it's October, but pumpkin doesn't belong on the protest menu.