13 January 532 – Nika riots in Constantinople

What is a riot?

A riot is property damage with a point. It is a great taking and shaking, a rollicking rampage, the unleashing of the collective id, society’s steam-valve. In the words of that lyricist best known for raging at, about, near, underneath, and – occasionally – against machines, Zack de la Rocha, “tha riot be the rhyme of tha unheard”.

Why do riots occur?

Riots are caused by all manner of things. Anything which leads to passions running high and that connects a man to his most vital self and a woman to her most vital self can be the cause of a riot. Unaffordable bread. A shortage of oil. Inequality. Repression. Occupation. Taxes. Machinery. Religion. Miscarriages of justice. As a protest against unearned privilege. For the protection of unearned privilege. Corruption in high places. Chariot races. Whorehouses. Football matches. Declarations of war. Treaties of peace. The colour of a person’s skin. The country of a person’s birth. The language that a person speaks.

Are riots always bad?

Of course not. One autumn evening in 1949, in an apartment on Manhattan’s Sutton Place after a particularly enjoyable dinner party, Margot Trebisky declared to her husband, Morton, that the event had been “an absolute riot.” Since that time, riots have generally been middle- and upper-class affairs and invitations to the best, and most exclusive, riots have been highly sought after.

What is the worst riot ever?

The worst riot ever was The Plumbeous Riot, which occured in Rome’s Tiburtino District on 6 August, 1886. The cause of the riot itself has now been lost to history, but at its peak it involved three wine-merchants and a fishmonger, and its impact appears to have been limited to hurt feelings.

What is the best? 

The best by far is The Everlasting Riot – a continuous series of clandestine riots that moves from secret location to secret location according to some obscure social algorithm. Although many remain unaware of having been engulfed in it, most of humanity has participated in The Everlasting Riot at some point in their lives.

 Can I join a riot?

My child, of course you can. I would think so much less of you if you did not.

File under: class warfare 101 | please keep it down, we’re trying to riot in here

(Image source: deviantART)

Leave a Reply