This week's guest editorial comes courtesy of Fish Griwkowsky, local Russian cat photographer and columnist for the Edmonton Sun (Personally, I thought the paper sagged after they ditched "Love Is..." but I'm still a big fan of Garfield and the Bio-dex). Included is a picture of an Oilers' fan pyramid, 1980s-style.
“Fuck the police.”
Yeah, I can understand why hundreds of people might be chanting that. Let me just offer my condolences. To all you kid retards who want to freak out and scream for hours in public because of a hockey game – you have my revved empathy. It’s only fair. Me and your unemployed dad’ve done it what feels like 100 times, but the best memories surge back from the mid ‘80s, when we used to take the party to Jasper Ave., when embryonic Whyte was all Burlesque stripper Palace, pot-reeking Comic King and the first vegetarian restaurant in Alberta, Studiobeet. Mmm, sure miss their onion milkshake.
But you should have been on Dynasty street! This is back when we won the Cup frequently enough that we didn’t riot every single win. Though my friend Brad pushed a mailbox over and it spilled letters all over the fucking road. And there was a human pyramid featuring headbangers and your aunt that collapsed, and some fat guy that looked like a young Ralph Klein turned out to be the dude that drew those Ballonimals cartoons in Penthouse. After, we all went to Maxwell Taylor’s and planned “heists,” and some gay waiter chased me down the street because I – well, I stole things.
Anyway, life being shit I can’t write about this after Wednesday, May 17, so I don’t get to know what happened in Game 6 when we better have goddamned won. But all I can think about is what fuckups the cops have evolved into again. And after showing such PR promise, enough to recruit an army.
The basic premise of their error here is an absolute misunderstanding of what’s at stake. Namely, our memories, including theirs. Do you recall the 2001 Olympics, when Canada won gold in hockey? We’d “recently” had our notorious Whyte Ave. riots, which came about because the police blocked thousands of baseball park drunks from crossing the High Level exactly as long as it took them to get furious, then let them loose. Anyway, Olympics: CBC had live coverage of every city in Canada jubilant with thousands and thousands of metro massed at the global win – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and, oh, hey, what’s this? Ghost world. Edmonton was shut down by its cops. No one was allowed to do anything but fucking shop, and it was past closing time.
And now, there are photos in our dailies of police smacking transparent shields into a young girl’s face while they demand law, order and respect. My simple question is: why can’t some of you fucking idiots figure out a way to let us party till we drop, and not advance on us like Romans, smashing your batons into shields? Are you as dumb as that crowd, as reactionary? On Sunday night early on, cops were still hassling people with flags on sticks, even jaywalkers. On Friday before, after the best game in a decade, they beat the shit out of a total pacifist I know, earned an enemy for life and brought me back into it. This guy is so nice he didn’t raise his voice describing how he got the gash on his forehead and the swollen face. Passed from the cement to boots to the head, he sat in a paddy wagon with a guy “leaking all over the place,” suffering from dog bites. Like, with meat taken out, he later witnessed in the hospital.
I don’t dream of using the tone of some heartless conservative prick, and for all you police who smile at us and talk to cute girls/boys and enjoy the overtime, great job and all my love. But my heart is closed to these tac pigs who talk about “toys” when describing weapons that hurt people, staring at their little maps with a saliva drip as the chopper keeps the neighbourhoods awake all night.
Though we did tip a bus or two, Jasper Ave. used to run safely amok, and here’s how. That’s right, I’m not *just* going to bitch. Do it Vegas style, wall it in. Shut down Whyte to cars *immediately* after a winning game and make it foot traffic only - on the street. Put all officers with their backs against the buildings they’re there to protect, at an advantaged height, as well as on the central meridian to pull little drunk monkeys off trees. Plenty of sight lines to each other. And instead of looking all stern and shitty, laugh and dance around a little, like the police do in Vancouver. Some of you are already doing this! Embellish your uniforms. Then, announce at regular intervals with megaphones that by, say, 3:30 a.m. everyone PLEASE must clear the street. And bus in chicks in PVC cop outfits to flash their tits at the pornographers who’ve turned this mayhem into a capitalism fable they’ll be burping up the rest of their lives. Just kidding about that last one. Maybe. Or why don’t we all just head to Jasper Ave. again? Thanks to parking rates eviscerating our downtown core for decades, there’s basically nothing left there to wreck, anyway. And go, ye Oilers!