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Today's Britain is being held to ransom by ever increasing unruly teenagers and gangrenous gangs, to whom life, it would appear, has about as much value as a strawberry milkshake.  Perhaps less, as beating or shooting someone to death, is, in the collective eyes of the gang itself, essentially free.  Whereas a strawberry milkshake has to be paid for, thus increasing its value.
So how many more people are going to have to be thumped, kicked, stomped, stabbed and shot to death, by out-of-control and ever younger teenagers, before someone, somewhere, will scream from the rooftops that enough, is indeed, enough?  How many more broken hearts is it going to take, before Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, is going to realistically do something substantial to combat the inexorable and contagious disease that is Anti-Social-Behaviour?  How many more dead children is it going to take, before the likes of YouTube will cease to promote inter-gang hatred by way of the Internet? How many more law-abiding, hard-working parents are going to have to weep, as they witness their own children being lowered into premature graves - whilst those responsible, smirk from the sideline(s) with despicable lack of conscience?
Many feel the answer(s) lies within the portals of home, family and school, whilst others feel it is high time that National Service (if not some form of Boot Camp) were re-introduced.  Personally, I feel the tentacles of the problem are far too countless and complex, icosahedronic and inevitable, far-reaching and ultimately endless.  There isn't one simple answer.  
To be sure, the kernel of hoodie-hate is endemically social, as well as economic and political.
Drawing on both high and low culture, comedy and contemporary cinema, as well as the likes of Kant and Lacan, this deeply disturbing and densely intelligent book by Slavoj Zizek – the Elvis of Cultural Theory – sheds philosophical light on the above crisis.  A crisis, which although essentially social, is nonetheless triggered by the current influence of globalisation, capitalism, fundamentalism, language and media (all of which are addressed within the pages of this rather incendiary book).  
That's not to say Violence bequeaths any answers.  There are no simple answers for what is clearly, a colossal problem; but the book is a literary step in the right direction, into at least partially understanding some of the many triggers behind violence:  ''There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing – every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected.  The guards can find nothing.  It is always empty.  Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves...''
Zizek continues:  ''A similar paradox holds true for violence.  At the forefront of our minds, the obvious signals of violence are acts of crime and terror, civil unrest, international conflict.  But we should learn to step back, to disentangle ourselves from the fascinating lure of this directly visible 'subjective' violence, violence performed by a clearly identifiable agent.  We need to perceive the contours of the background which generates such outbursts.  A step back  enables us to identify a violence that sustains our very efforts to fight violence and to promote tolerance.''

From 'The Language of Violence' to 'The Politics of Fear' to 'Terrorist Resentment,'  Zizek's diagnosis of violence reiterates a counter-intuitive analyses, which upon closer inspection, is nothing other than common sense – a commodity, still sadly lacking amid the corridors of quintessential power.

David Marx
Violence
By Slavoj Zizek
Profile Books – £8.99
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