The Thirteenth Age Of Mankind

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Before I begin, I'd just like to send my condolences to Dover, Pennsylvania, who God will apparently be striking down any minute now for rejecting creationism. At least that's what Pat "Let's Assassinate Hugo Chavez" Robertson said. What pisses me off is that if you do get smushed, it'll be seen as God's wrath, and if you don't, it'll be seen as God's mercy. But if Dover is spared, it'll never be seen as indicating that GOD HATES CREATIONISTS. Almost as much as I do.

And speaking of municipalities, memo to Minneapolis: YOU'RE NO PARIS.

I'm not saying that I necessarily WANT a bunch of poor immigrants to go nuts and start setting everyone's cars on fire for a few weeks, but, you know. at least it's a proper kind of riot for 2005. The right can claim it's all part of the "clash of civilizations", the left can claim it's all a part of a culture of poverty and racism, and we can all bask in our modern paradigm by the light of a burning Peugeot.

We had a spot of rioting here in the Twin Cities over the weekend, you see. But it wasn't the kind of rioting that gets the blogosphere into full-on armchair analyst mode. No, this was more like a VH1 kind of riot. The kind of thing you only expect to see in 2005 if Michael Ian Black is being snarky about it.

We had a riot in a mall over a boy band. Not some kind of 1998 historical re-creation, either. For real.

The band is B5. You may not have heard of them. The band has, like Menudo, gone through several incarnations. B1, B2, and B3 were disbanded before they ever released an album, and B4 mysteriously disappeared right before their first concert. But B5 survived long enough to become part of, I shit you not, the Radio Disney Jingle Jams concert tour.

It's difficult to imagine anything called "Jingle Jams" inspiring a riot, but it did. The Brookdale Mall was shut down for two hours on Saturday after what one Radio Disney employee, somewhat creepily, described as a "girl frenzy".

Fans rushed the stage, four people were treated and released, and chaos reigned. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I was right in front. Girls were running on stage, security guards were throwing them off. The girls were tearing off [band members'] clothes." - thirteen-year-old Amber Andrews, who did not indicate whether she got a bit of sweet, sweet lapel or not.

The mall defended its staffing, claiming to have 10 mall security guards on staff, plus at least eleven Radio Disney employees. Since this report, I have racked my brain for hours, trying to decide whether I'm less surprised that mall security or Radio Disney staff got trounced by a few hundred teenage girls. But I still can't decide.

Although you would think that the Radio Disney people, having participated in the psychological manipulation that got all those teenage girls there in the first place, could have managed some kind of Jedi mind trick on them, or hypnotized them by juggling scrunchies, or some damn thing.

Of course, this is the kind of publicity boy bands dream of, especially the ultra-processed, squeaky-clean, Radio Disney types like B5. So if I had to make a guess, it was the security guards who were overwhelmed, and the Radio Disney people who were caught off guard, in the back of the crowd, whistling and holding electric cattle prods behind their backs.

It's the most likely explanation. I've looked up B5 on their website, and despite one of them (the youngest and wimpiest) being named Bryan, and despite being named after one of my personal favorite TV series*, I do not get the riot-inducing appeal. Not that it's easy for me to put myself in the shoes of a thirteen year old girl**, but even accounting for that, it's tough to understand what made these girls frenzy.

But, as we've learned from the only source that matters, syndicated television, understanding is a three-edged sword. My side, your wrong side, and the DUMB.

*Despite its many, many horrifying flaws, yes.

**Or technically legal. Thanks, Mr. Restraining Order. Thanks a lot.