Crocodile Tears

I have a penchant for detecting common factors in apparently unrelated events. Mob violence in celebration of victory following a major league sporting event and Afghanis protesting the burning of sacred books have much in common.

I’ve often witnessed demonstrations in city streets after the hometown team has clinched the World Series. Cars are turned over, fires are ignited, windows shattered, and so on. The same phenomenon occurs at violent political protests. There has to be some reason for the same reaction to two totally disparate events.

I’m sure there have been formal psychological explanations for anonymous violence in the guise of a celebratory emotion, but I think it is merely an excuse to vent pent-up rage that has nothing whatever to do with the team’s victory. The violence is amplified by the exciting sights and sounds of riot and reinforced by the sense of being part of a likeminded mob.

In a far more serious atmosphere of hate, the excuse for violence leads to murder, as in the case of Afghanis purportedly enraged by the burning of sacred books. In this case, as is always the case in repressive societies, the punishment is excessively disproportionate to the perceived or actual offence. Every Afghani woman under Taliban domination knows that. To exacerbate matters, the angered Afghani men had a religious excuse to riot in the streets. You can’t beat that!

Watching them sanctimoniously rail against the desecration of the Koran, burn American flags, and put on a show of outrage, I imagined what their lives were like off-camera: backward misogynists who couldn’t care less about piety.

No, this is not a comment on Islam. Hypocrisy is pandemic. I just find these particular protests unconvincing. 

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