Social commentary

The left-hand side comes from the libretto of the musical West Side Story (bar a typo that I've fixed), and the right-hand side is a potted, less poetic analysis of related issues. The impetus for the anagram came from the August 2011 London riots.

  ALL:           Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
                 You gotta understand:
                 It's just our bringin'-up-ke
                 That gets us out of hand.
                 Our mothers all are junkies,
                 Our fathers all are drunks.
                 Golly Moses, natcherly we're punks!

                 Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset;
                 We never had the love that ev'ry child oughta get.
                 We ain't no delinquents,
                 We're misunderstood.
                 Deep down inside us there is good!

                 There is good, there is good,
                 There is untapped good!
                 Like inside, the worst of us is good!

  ACTION:        Dear kindly Judge, your Honor,
                 My parents treat me rough.
                 With all their marijuana,
                 They won't give me a puff.
                 They didn't wanna have me,
                 But somehow I was had.
                 Leapin' lizards! That's why I'm so bad!

  JUDGE:         Officer Krupke, you're really a square;
                 This boy don't need a judge, he needs an analyst's care!
                 It's just his neurosis that oughta be curbed.
                 He's psychologic'ly disturbed!

  ALL:           We're disturbed, we're disturbed,
                 We're the most disturbed,
                 Like we're psychologic'ly disturbed.

  ACTION:        My father is a bastard,
                 My ma's an S.O.B.
                 My grandpa's always plastered,
                 My grandma pushes tea.
                 My sister wears a mustache,
                 My brother wears a dress.
                 Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!

  PSYCHIATRIST:  Officer Krupke, you're really a slob.
                 This boy don't need a doctor, just a good honest job.
                 Society's played him a terrible trick,
                 And sociologic'ly he's sick!

  ALL:           We are sick, we are sick,
                 We are sick, sick, sick,
                 Like we're sociologically sick!

  ACTION:        Dear kindly social worker,
                 They say go earn a buck.
                 Like be a soda jerker,
                 Which means, like, be a schumck.
                 It's not I'm anti-social,
                 I'm only anti-work.
                 Gloryosky! That's why I'm a jerk!

  SOCIAL WORKER: Officer Krupke, you've done it again.
                 This boy don't need a job, he needs a year in the pen.
                 It ain't just a question of misunderstood;
                 Deep down inside him, he's no good!

  ALL:           We're no good, we're no good!
                 We're no earthly good,
                 Like the best of us is no damn good!

  JUDGE:         The trouble is he's crazy.
  PSYCHIATRIST:  The trouble is he drinks.
  SOCIAL WORKER: The trouble is he's lazy.
  JUDGE:         The trouble is he stinks.
  PSYCHIATRIST:  The trouble is he's growing.
  SOCIAL WORKER: The trouble is he's grown.
  ALL:           Krupke, we got troubles of our own!

                 Gee, Officer Krupke,
                 We're down on our knees,
                 'Cause no one wants a fellow with a social disease.
                 Gee, Officer Krupke,
                 What are we to do?
                 Gee, Officer Krupke,
                 Krup you!


UK riots aren't new: Eighteenth-century bread riots saw broke silk-weavers or coal-heavers take to the streets. Constabulary or the military took guys to be hanged at Tyburn or just be killed where a riot broke out - i.e., make a lesson of them.
With the dawn of labour unions in Europe, riots largely abated - unlike talk of their cause.

Hans Joachim Schneider chalks the phenomenon up to psychosocial elements. He cites 'social contagion theory' (e.g., Charles Mackay, ...The Madness of Crowds - his book a hundred seventy years ago looks at Crusaders' case: his gist is "men think in herds [...] it will be seen that they go mad in herds") and 'psychopathological convergence theory' (folk already at social outskirts join together to take part in rioting).

Others would argue lack of youth discipline is key. Take debate in the House of Commons back in eighteen forty-two: "morals of children are tenfold worse than formerly". Twenty years later, the Times jury said: "Our streets are actually not as safe as they were in the days of our grandfathers." Why do kids 'grow worse': unruly drug-addled wankers? Foreign influence, Jews/Irish, music, weed, whores, or queers would make a kid go crazy.
Or did Yankee media make kids bad? Hollywood writers, who said: "Just rebel, OK?", soon showed us kids as bikers with upturned collars. or you had kids who were smokers, joyriders quick to use dope. We had heroes James Dean, Mickey Rourke (Motorcycle Boy),... We had Blackboard Jungle, 'Jailhouse Rock', bikes, 'Pigs, pigs, pigs!'.

Or are our kids rebels against tangible structures that truly keep poor at-risk (especially black) groups down? Modern years would see this idea gain focus, alongside a less judgemental moniker: 'young offender', which supplanted 'juvenile delinquent'. We grew hopeful - understanding policy will bridge a gap, wake up our upper crust, destroy the 'us against them' attitude.

David Cameron spoke of "our broken society"'s issues, yet this pendulum is swung where folks died or homes were razed to the ground by greedy kids. Why do we joke "Is it cuz I is black?" or deride pity/aid? I say the answer is we're punitive - we plead "Just throw the book at hooligans: use a jail gig". Maybe it's 'eye for eye', but we sigh: "I suggest rioters die by fire...".

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