David Graeber is one of my eternal intellectual heroes, and I recommend most highly to anyone who can read his stunning, transformative work, Debt: The First 5000 Years. His most recent book, a collection of essays entitled The Utopia of Rules: On Technology Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy is, while less sweeping than Debt, essential reading. In particular, for the purpose of understanding the violence of the BIDs and the utter, abject stupidity of the BIDs and their minions, one essay, Dead Zones of the Imagination, stands out above the rest.
I’ll run through the premises and argument after the break, but a crucial conclusion that Graeber reaches here, and one whose relevance will be immediately obvious to sane readers of this blog, is that
…violence is so often the preferred weapon of the stupid. One might even call it the trump card of the stupid, since (and this is surely one of the tragedies of human existence) it is the one form of stupidity to which it is most difficult to come up with an intelligent response.
What are all those green-shirted thugs on bikes up to over in the Hollywood Media District? Well, if you ask their overlords, their “activities are designed to respond to needs that in some areas are based primarily on perception, and in other areas based on the reality of crime and intimidating street populations.”
The emails are available here. There’s a lot of chaff, as usual, but a lot of tasty morsels as well. My colleagues will certainly be giving this material the fine-toothed comb treatment in the future, but I thought it’d be nice to announce the availability of the documents to satisfy your hunger and thirst for the truth which, as is well-known, shall set you free.
Picture of famed future president and California attorney is, according to Wikimedia, in the public domain. Take that, Helen Gahagan Douglas!