Jimmy O'Neill, RIP: Remembering Pandora's Box and the Sunset Strip teen riots

Last week, deejay Jimmy O'Neill died at his home in West Hollywood at age 73. O'Neill was a central figure in hippie culture, and he got a pretty raw deal from The Man for his efforts. O'Neill was host of the enormously popular teen music show Shindig!, then used his clout to open a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip and book his favorite acts. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the strip, and soon the killjoys descended. The city hastily enacted a series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. The footage in this clip from November 12, 1966 shows what happened next.

In what would become a template for youth resistance, young people gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The incident inspired many songs, including Buffalo Springfield's anthem “For What It's Worth," often interpreted as an anti-war song. The young people who witnessed this injustice, including Peter Fonda, Phil Proctor, and Jack Nicholson, came away with renewed resolve to fight even bigger political battes.

Secret UK censorship court orders BBC not to air documentary

A UK judge has ordered the BBC not to broadcast a documentary about England's August 2011 riots, reports The Guardian. The judge also banned the BBC and media from disclosing the court in which the censorship order was made; the judge's name; or the details or nature of the order.

The documentary features actors reading from interviews with rioters, but it's not clear exactly what was deemed worthy of censorship. The BBC "strongly objects" to the ruling and plans to appeal.

China Mieville's London: the (authentic) city and the (banks and surveillance) city

Writing in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, China Mieville blazingly describes two Londons: an exuberant, organic place that has been lived and built over and remade, bursting with energy and vitality; and a fearful, banker-driven collection of megaprojects and guard labour, where billions of pounds can be found to surround the Olympics with snipers and legions of police, but nothing can be found for the library on the corner, where the center of town is being purged of anyone but the super-rich, and where rioting has nothing to do with stop-and-search powers and poverty, and is the result of mere "pure criminality."

The Olympics are slated to cost taxpayers $14.7 billion. In this time of “austerity,” youth clubs and libraries are being shut down as expendable fripperies; this expenditure, though, is not negotiable. The uprisen young of London, participants in extraordinary riots that shook the country last summer, do the math. “Because you want to host the Olympics, yeah,” one participant told researchers, “so your country can look better and be there, we should suffer.”

This is a city where buoyed-up audiences yell advice to young boxers in Bethnal Green’s York Hall, where tidal crowds of football fans commune in raucous rude chants, where fans adopt local heroes to receive Olympic cheers. It’s not sport that troubles those troubled by the city’s priorities.

Mike Marqusee, writer and activist, has been an East London local and a sports fan for decades. American by birth, he nonetheless not only understands and loves cricket, of all things, but even wrote a book about it. He’s excited to see the track and field when it arrives up the road from him in July. Still, he was, and remains, opposed to the coming of the Olympics. “For the reasons that’ve all been confirmed,” he says. “These mega-events in general are bad for the communities where they take place, they do not provide long-term employment, they are very exploitative of the area.”

Stratford sightseers are funneled into prescribed walkways; going off-piste is vigorously discouraged. The “access routes,” the enormous structures are neurotically planned and policed. For the area to be other than a charnel ground of Ozymandian skeletons in 30 years, it will have to develop like a living thing. That means beyond the planners’, beyond any, preparations.

‘Oh, London, You Drama Queen’ (via Making Light)

David Cameron's net-censorship proposal earns kudos from Chinese state media

UK prime minister David Cameron (who is reported to have rioted himself and then fled police while at university) has proposed a regime of state censorship for social media to prevent people from passing on messages that incite violence. This proposal has been warmly received by Chinese state media and bureaucrats, who are glad to see that Western governments are finally coming around to their style of management.
The British Government’s wariness of the Internet and Blackberry Messenger – symbols of freedom of speech – is a forced reaction, which might upset the Western world. Meanwhile, the open discussion of containment of the Internet in Britain has given rise to a new opportunity for the whole world. Media in the US and Britain used to criticize developing countries for curbing freedom of speech. Britain’s new attitude will help appease the quarrels between East and West over the future management of the Internet.

As for China, advocates of an unlimited development of the Internet should think twice about their original ideas.

On the Internet, there is no lack of posts and articles that incite public violence. They will cause tremendous damage once they are tweeted without control. At that time, all governments will have no other choice but to close down these websites and arrest those agitators.

Riots lead to rethink of Internet freedom (Thanks, Juha!)

(Image: General Chu Teh, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from thomasfisherlibrary's photostream and David Cameron - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from worldeconomicforum's photostream)

Brits: Tell Parliament to keep its hands off social media


Jim from the UK Open Rights Group sez, "David Cameron is trying to gain new powers to close social media and mobile messaging when there's 'trouble': he's also thinking about new snooping powers. We need to stop these plans before they get going."
The Government is focusing on entirely the wrong problem in trying to increase their powers to ban, block or monitor people's communications. Social networks like Twitter are used for a huge array of positive purposes such as warnings of danger and organising clean up projects. Blanket surveillance measures of private communications or increased powers to mine users data would undermine people's freedom to communicate in very damaging ways, and would in no way address the problems at hand. Making laws in haste, with limited analysis and information, to deal with an exceptional problem is likely to create unbalanced laws and abuses of our rights.
Save our social media! Stop cut offs and close downs (Thanks, Jim!)

(Image: Riot Police, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from zoonabar's photostream)

Riot-smashed comic-shop window in Birmingham makes for inadvertent summation of England's Current Situation


Joe from Forbidden Planet sez, "A couple of our comics stores in Manchester and Birmingham got damaged during the awful riots this week (what sort of numpty attacks their local comics store?!) - luckily they didn't get into the stores, it was just the frontage took some bruises and staff are all fine. One of our colleagues at our much loved Nostalgia & Comics store in Birmingham, David, sent us this photo which just seemed to sum things up rather nicely."

…. and this about sums it all up….. (Thanks, Joe!)

Revised London Olympics logo, now with rioter!


A bit of unsourced net.wit: the new London Olympics 2012 logo.

Update: Here's the original, from PureEvil.

U.K. officials call for BlackBerry network shutdown; RIM hacked after offering help to authorities

The official blog of Research in Motion was hacked today by Team Poison. The Canadian company had earlier promised to help British authorities track down BlackBerry users suspected of involvement in the local unrest. From AFP:

"If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, GPS locations, customer information and access to peoples' BlackBerry Messengers, you will regret it," said the post.

The message went on to say a hacked database containing the names, addresses and phone numbers of RIM employees would be made public and "passed onto rioters" if RIM did not comply.

"Do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps?" it warned. "Think about it."

RIM officials in Britain offered Monday to assist authorities "in any way possible."

I doubt this will be much help to anyone worried by RIM's presumed eagerness to hand over its secure messaging system for state inspection.

CNN reports that there are further demands to completely shut down the network.

Some London public officials have asked RIM to shut down BlackBerry Messenger temporarily to stem further unrest. A representative for RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What next? Facebook and Twitter?