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Home > Culture and Society

D'You Wanna Be In My Gang? (No.)

23 February 2007

According to the media, gang culture is taking over the UK. And it's true. Even as we write this, TFT has decided to reform itself as a gang ('Da Friday Boyz') with the intention of taking out our rivals in a series of bungled shootings. Sorry, but that's just the way it is, on da street. And in online publishing.

Actually, we're growing deeply weary of 'gang culture'. It appears to be a general desire to live out gangsta fantasies, rather than being a member of a serious criminal organisation. So while it's unlikely you're going to be gunned down by Yardies, it *is* more likely that some teenage twat on a night bus will have a pop at you to impress his/her mates. But what's most annoying about gang culture is the sheer amount of patent nonsense surrounding it. Things like:

1) 'Respect'

We're sick to fucking death of 'respect'. When wannabe gangstas talk about respect, there's nothing to actually respect, unless you've got a deep admiration for petty crime, or, in the case of wannabe rappers, appalling poetry.

2) The idea that gangs offer protection for teenagers

Since part of gang culture is violence, isn't there a slight chance that by being in a gang, you might be a victim of, er, violence? Ask Billy Cox. Oh, you can't.

3) Rappers who both trade on and condemn violence

'Tellin' it like it is' could equally be called 'havin' your cake and eatin' it'. While not technically *in favour* of crime, most rappers are dependent on the grimmer aspects of life on the street for lyrical inspiration, and rarely shy away from all the other shit: endless macho one-upmanship, demands to be shown the aforementioned 'respect', etc.

4) Young people join gangs because they're alienated

If you want to be alienated, try living in the slums of the US, South America or South Africa. Given the sheer number of youth support projects in the UK, a life of gang-based crime is *not* 'the only way out', you melodramatic twats.

5) Society is too materialistic

Apparently young people are brainwashed into wanting flash cars and clothes, and gangs are a way of getting those things. Two problems: (A) If you shoot someone because you want to own a Mercedes SLK, it's you, not society, who'll be going to prison, and (B) If gang members earn so much money, why do they live with their mums?

6) Trainers

Every sodding time gangs get mentioned, the issue of trainers comes up. This week, one youth worker commented: 'Kids see older kids with the best trainers and say "How can I get that?"' Well kids, the answer is obvious, isn't it? *Join a gang*. You might get stabbed, you might go to prison, you might ruin someone's life, but at least you'll have your footwear of choice.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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