Marie Antoinette and the cops

All sides of London riot story are well documented because technology lets us write history in real-time. Here’s a round-up of some popular images and videos circulating the web.

Within hours of the unrest hundreds of photographs emerged of looters smiling whilst showing off their bounty of video gamestelevisions, and rice.

In some places looters went so wild they couldn’t control their bowels! Empty packages of Immodium were found in a looted Boots drugstore.

The Internet wasn’t totally content with pictures of things people actually stole, so they invented a meme to “take the piss out” of the rioters. Photoshoplooter uses masterful design skills to put looters into numerous humorous scenarios.

This is a looter on a unicorn:


This is a looter kicking it with his multi-colored dogs.


This looter has been prettified by officers to look like the glamorous Marie Antoinette.


Another meme to recently emerge from the ashes of London is LOOT-ALIKES.

Mariah Carey removing all copies of Glitter from the HMV.


James Franco stealing crates of Visine.


Macaulay Culkin trying to break back into the limelight.


Cellphone footage of the riots has been posted across YouTube. This video perfectly conveys the message that “these wild youth are relentless in taking what they want.”

This video caused one Twitter commentator to voice his disappointment:

Rioters fought police with clubs, stones, fireworks. Other non-traditional weapons didn’t work out so well…

This filmmaker gives young hoodlums the National Geographic treatment as they ineffectively attempt to pillage a global entertainment retail chain.

There’s been backlash from the far-right that seek to blame the riots entirely on immigrants. One organization took to the streets for a “counter-protest.” The English Defence League is an ultra-nationalist organization that wants to end the so-called Islamization of England. They’ve made headlines in the past for their eloquent speaking style. This clip was auto-tuned into a viral sensation…

And because everyone in England is a DJ, there are dozens of electronic genre-specific remixes.

Immigrants clearly aren’t responsible for this mess. Some communities even took to the streets to protect their neighborhoods from further attacks. Turkish shopkeepers stood side-by-side to protect local businesses from rioters.


bakery tried to deter rioters by handing out cupcakes. The causation here is… unclear.


More than 87,000 people follow @riotcleanup. The Twitter account helped to mobilize Londoners to clean up their streets after the riots.


People have blamed the riots on Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Others like the London Evening Standard have accused video games of being the culprit (this did not please Kotaku.)

The real causes of this violence are multi-dimensional, and entirely related to the failing global economies. The Guardian writes, “decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalization of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.” The youth rioted because they didn’t feel fairly represented, they had loads of free time, a thirst for consumer products they couldn’t afford, and because as one teenage riot girl put it “Breaking into shops – it was madness, it was good fun.” Or in the parlance of Internet Culture: “It’s fun to do bad things.”

Rioting might be fun, but injuring people and causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage is rarely a good motivator for attracting moderates to your cause. Making war on someone’s front lawn alienates sympathizers. People who want to create lasting change have a slightly more sophisticated vocabulary than just blowing up police cars.

One thing is certain. We’re entering a moment in contemporary history that we’ve never witnessed outside of history class or popular fiction.

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