Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Teaching to be greedy

Composite by Everett James
After a fourth night of rioting in the country, we are waiting to see what is going to happen tonight. I am actually going away for a week, so the feeling of "it's like watching something happening in another country" as my hairstylist put it to me this morning, when I bumped into him at the local supermarket, will be real.
I was not in London the whole day yesterday as I was shooting a commercial in Hatfield, in Hertfordshire. We were in a shopping centre, with about  fifty extras and a famous actress who had the leading part, doing an ad for a catalogue, contrasting the convenient and pleasurable way of shopping online with the mad rush of shopping at the height of the Christmas season. I was one of the bored, unhelpful shop assistants. At some point the director shouted 'Now go for it, as if you were looting the shop'. Somehow it produced the desired effect.

Photographer: David Nuttall

We were all cut off  the internet, for some reason the connection did not work so we were very worried about coming back home. When I got back my local shops were all closed and it was only about 7 pm. I managed to get some Chinese take away - the only shop open - and watched the news about Manchester and Birmingham.
It's a beautiful sunny day today and again my local shops had notices about closing early. I went out early to get some groceries.

Then I read the update on the Guardian website about the first batch of people being tried at the local court. I was stunned when I found out that Alexis Bailey, a primary school teacher, was " charged with burglary with intent to steal after allegedly entering Richer Sounds in Southend Road, Croydon, in the early hours of Tuesday. He pleaded guilty and was committed for sentencing to Wood Green crown court, and was released on bail". In an earlier report Bailey had been referred to as "she".

So here is someone who after learning about the events in Croydon travelled from Islington, where he lives, to Croydon because he wanted to get "things for free". Stealing in other words. He is 31, not a teenager, and teaches young children - not anymore, obviously, his career has ended.

All right, he has not killed anyone. But he was motivated by greed and it will take him a long time to find again someone that trusts him to be in a position of authority.

Photographer: Schwanberg

Model ERosanne wrote on FB that she is "tired of people trying to come up with profound explanations for the underlying reasons behind the riots. No. For the vast majority of rioters, there IS no reason! They are just opportunistic, greedy, selfish thugs who saw an opportunity for thieving - and getting away with it - and took it. They are not thinking about their 'cause;' ask them why they're doing it and they won't have an answer, other than 'I want, I take.' There are no excuses, and there is no justification".

It is sad and very, very worrying to know that a teacher can also be found among such people.

(All photos modelled by Alex B.)

1 comment:

  1. Greed is an easy lesson to learn. The big corporations, aided by advertising agencies through the near-universal medium of television, have taught that lesson very well. And are we surprised now that sixty-plus years of deep conditioning to greed are coming back to bite us in our shops?

    Actually, it goes back before television, probably to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Johannes Gutenberg, did you envision advertising agencies when you invented the printing press?

    (Alex, I know you do commercial work, so my words are in no way a personal attack. I myself have worked as a telephone salesman--not a very successful one!--so I get how it feels to have to work for The Man. It's not pleasant, but it's more pleasant than living on the street.)

    By the way, what a lovely collage!