Friday, 16 July 2010

Raoul Moat - rogue male ?

The Rauol Moat saga continues. Pop psychology/sociology would have it that the bizarre solidarity shown for him in death (30,000 fans on Facebook and piles of tribute wreaths) taps into some kind of alienation of an emasculated white working class. I find this deeply depressing. 

In fairness no one with a healthy distrust of authority couldn't help, initially at least, to see the funny side of hundreds of paramilitary keystone cops failing to find a lone nutter hiding in a small area they had thoroughly surrounded. But then as Moat's  back-story emerged other reactions took over: On the one hand, displaying a-sinking-of-the-Bellgrano-like sensitivity the red-tops reacted to Moat's death with triumphant 'Got Him' headlines - as if a rabid dog had been dispatched. And on the other hand the myth-making started in certain quarters as Moat emerged as an everyman folk hero.

But the whole point of the myth of the romantic outlaw (and it's the myth that matters here) - be it  Robin Hood or Jesse James -  is built upon the idea of the home-loving, peace-loving man who is forced to take up the sword in pursuit of righting some perceived injustice. Moat -  a  bullying inadequate, self-pitying and misogynistic, a wannabe fantasist obsessed with weapons and body-building, with a revenge psychosis fed on a steroid addiction, and  a record of domestic abuse including an attack on a nine year old girl - hardly belongs in this pantheon of folk heroes.

The argument that he was  a victim of a syndrome affecting the post-industrial working class male who has lost his role in society, or some kind of metaphor for our  times, belittles the vast majority of ordinary men who  struggle to find their way through economic and personal hardship, suck it up  and just try to do the right thing. Without attacking their loved ones or any other innocent who happens to cross their path. And it's these working class men - and women - not middle class liberals, who have to share the same estates and town centres on a Saturday night with violent  lumpen-ised nutters like Moat.

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