Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 7th 2015 Contents SHEREEN ALI
You could hear hoots of laughter as
people aimed their smartphones in
the air to video-record an angry
woman beating up on a black Toyota Hilux
vehicle on the night of March 28 in St James
on Ariapita Avenue, just outside the Good
Luck Chinese restaurant.
One four-minute video posted to Facebook
on March 29 shows the woman initially using
a windshield wiper to hit the car.
"Wha---she buy de wiper? She buy de van?"
asks a voice on the video.
The slim woman, possibly in her 20s or
30s, discards the wiper and twists off the front
license plate from the Hilux. She scratches
the car s front with the twisted plate, hits the
headlights, hits and grates the bonnet, then
focuses on breaking the windshield. It does
not shatter, but gets cracked and chipped.
Spectators give running commentary and
advice, their food boxes and drinks in hand.
"Mash it up! Mash up de screen!" encour-
"Get out! Get out!" shouts one female view-
er to the male car driver; she adds, in support
to the angry woman: "Jump up on top de
Meanwhile, you can hear the continuous,
methodical "thwack thwack thwack" sound
of the angry woman hitting the large metal
"Waaaay, she real f***ing up dey car boy,"
comments one man.
"Look a glass bottle for you here!" offers
another man, half-mocking.
"Break it, break it, wooooooooo!" shrieks
a woman. One or two other women at times
seem to briefly shield or protect the hitting
woman, as if giving her space to vent, unen-
People pause to watch, encourage, support,
jeer or cackle in prurient glee at the unexpected
Hilux drama, which many viewers assumed
was caused by a personal relationship gone
All the while, a male driver in the car (not
visible in the video) is quietly taking the hits,
secure in his locked car. Eventually, he slowly
drives forwards, his Hilux gently pushing the
woman backwards along the road, in an anti-
climactic denouement. He leaves. She leaves.
The video ends.
The video went viral over the weekend of
March 29, and drew varying comments, from
people chastising the woman, to others praising
At least one online humour site later spoofed
the incident, with a story headlined: "Pover-
ty-stricken Avenue crowd wants money back
for lame ending to Hilux fight." (www.lateo-
What do incidents like this say about us?
Was any crime committed? Was the crowd
response evidence of herd behaviour, was it
a shaming form of "street justice," or was it
just idle voyeurism fuelled by alcohol and easy
cellphone video recording technology?
The herd theory:
dangers of the mob
According to some psychologists, when
enough of us get together, we may often end
up doing some really nonsensical and down-
right violent things that we d never consider
on our own. Psychologists refer to this phe-
nomenon as herd or mob mentality, defined
as unique behavioral characteristics that emerge
when people are in large groups. A few people
influence the majority. Anonymity in crowds
fosters a feeling of a lack of responsibility.
This in turn can encourage negative behav-
iours---such as the T&T crowd of "limers"
the man s car.
Researchers at the University of Leeds in
the UK discovered in a 2007 study that it
takes a minority of just five per cent of a large
crowd (defined as 200 or more people) to
influence a crowd s direction---and that the
other 95 per cent will follow without realising
it. The 2007 paper relating to this research,
entitled Consensus Decision-making in
Human Crowds, was published in an issue of
Animal Behaviour Journal. It points to the
truism that all our actions have an effect: we
influence each other s behaviour.
There are many examples of crowds making
us stupid. Herd behaviour in history and inter-
nationally ranges from destructive football
violence in the UK, to the more positive,
expressive herd behaviour sometimes evident
at the annual Burning Man event in the Black
Rock desert of Nevada, to the violent 2011
Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver after losing a
hockey match (see box).
The cultural view
Meanwhile, Dr Dylan Kerrigan, an anthro-
pologist who lectures at UWI in the Depart-
ment of Behavioural Sciences, commented in
a telephone conversation that what was shown
on the local T&T viral video posted to YouTube
on March 29 may well say more about us as
a "peacock" society, where a culture which
includes carnivalesque exhibitionism (with
some definite seedy aspects to it) allows such
public expressions of private dramas.
Kerrigan emphasised that all his comments
were "pure speculation and should be treated
in that context." He then made interesting
comments about our peacock society , our
appetite for social media, and the roles of men
and women on display in the incident.
"In cultural terms I think it was Molly Ahye
who described T&T as a peacock society ; a
see me society," said Kerrigan, explaining:
"By this she meant many members of our
society grow up and are socialised within a
type of culture where the social recognition
of our peers and other members of the society
is important to us.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Continued on Page A30
Director David Lynch has con-
firmed he will not direct the sequel to
Twin Peaks, citing disagreement over
Writing on Twitter, Lynch said he
had not been given enough money "to
do the script in the way I felt it needed
to be done"
"This weekend I started to call ac-
tors to let them know I would not be
directing," he added.
Lynch s departure casts doubt on
the revival, which was commissioned
by US network Showtime last Octo-
The auteur, whose credits include
Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive,
created the cult drama with Mark
Frost in the 1990s.
Revolving around the murder of
teenage schoolgirl Laura Palmer, the
show was a precursor of dense, cine-
matic TV shows like The Sopranos
and The Wire.
It won three Golden Globe awards
in 1991, including best TV series and
best actor for Kyle MacLachlan. (BBC)
David Lynch leaves Twin Peaks revival
Immediacy of digital
video, net access
A screen shot of the video
posted on Facebook which
...or village voyeurism?
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