Riotous Living Definition Essay

"Note: this movie is not for my littles," wrote Selena Gomez on her Facebook page recently. Gomez, 20, Disney starlet, singer of songs, breaker of Bieber's heart, is followed by 41 million people on Facebook, the vast majority of whom you'd hope are indeed "littles". She's heavily promoting Spring Breakers on her page, among the fashion line plugs ("My favorites the yellow with the hearts what's yours?") and Disney show ads. But she's right. It's not for them. Spring Breakers is a glorious beast of a film, a morally ambiguous piece of pop art, a lurid trip with hallucinatory highs and ugly comedowns. Substances are abused, humans are murdered. Guns are fellated. In Gomez World, it is very much off-message. Cover your eyes, littles.

Every March, for a week, US college kids descend on a beach resort of their choice and proceed to wreck the place, and themselves. Spring Breakers uses this annual ritual as a springboard into darker territory, filtering the neon debauchery through a fantastical looking-glass, infusing it with dread. Korine – writer of Larry Clark's Kids, director of Gummo and Trash Humpers – began amassing research to make paintings, attracted to the contrast between the violent, sexual content and childlike, poppy colours and images. "There was something hyper-impressionistic and wild about the whole idea of it, and I'd never seen it done in an interesting way," he says, on the phone from his home in Nashville. "Also, just in metaphorical terms, even the phrase 'Spring Break' and what it represents, what it can be, the idea of a destruction of innocence and disappearing into the night."

Korine's "beach noir", as he calls it, involves four girls fleeing to Florida for a spring break blowout, before meeting Alien, a white, cornrowed, teeth-grilled gangsta rapper who takes them under his unscrupulous wing. Korine gifted Alien to James Franco, who immediately agreed to do it, and the director drove to Panama City to write a draft in the midst of authentic spring-break pandemonium. "I checked into Holiday Inn, and I was at ground zero," he says. "It was madness. Kids just destroying shit, fucking in the hallways, setting golf carts on fire, blasting Taylor Swift 24 hours a day. It was cool, but it was really hard to write in that environment. The hotel would just be shaking the whole time, and I couldn't deal with it, so I drove 20 minutes away and checked into a Marriott on a golf course. It was filled with dwarfs. I asked the receptionist and she said Hulk Hogan was filming a reality show. At night I'd go swimming and there would be all these dwarfs sitting at the edge of the pool smoking cigars. It was calm, so I finished writing it there."

Spring Breakers is not a condemnation of a culture, he says. But the film does hold its characters' pop-culture values up for ridicule. These are people who have learned everything they know about the world from MTV. Other than Gomez's questioning Bible student, the girls are spiritually vacant. "Pretend, like, it's a video game," one of them says, before they carry out an armed robbery. Throughout the film, they behave without fear of consequence. Korine says he's interested in the idea that the jump from watching something to doing something can be negligible. But Spring Breakers merely flirts with its themes. There's no moralising, and Korine doesn't care to analyse it too much. He enjoys confusion, he says, and is tired of people expecting there to be a point to everything.

Despite all that, however, Korine is making a clear cultural statement with his casting. Completing Gomez's vixen quartet are Vanessa Hudgens, from Disney's High School Musical films, and Ashley Benson, from teen TV series Pretty Little Liars, as well as Korine's wife, Rachel. "It was the dream, the ultimate dream for me," says Korine. "As I was writing it I thought, 'If you could have the dream, what would it be?' The dream would be these girls and what they represent. There's obviously something very exciting about working with these girls who are, in some ways, in real life, representative of that culture and that pop mythology; and also people who the public can identify as personalities that are complete contrasts to what they're portraying in the film. I love that that part is a conceptual shock on top of the actual film."

'I wanted to see the throes of the kids there just taking over. I wanted to go in and out of rooms and over the balconies … So, yeah, there was like a mile of people at some points'

This is not merely stunt casting – the girls are excellent in the movie – but it's certainly been healthy for publicity (and the US box office), and the idea of Korine as their patriarch is somewhat absurd. This is a guy whose last feature, Trash Humpers, was 80 minutes of old people shagging foliage. There was a surreal moment at the SXSW festival recently, when the Q&A host cajoled the three attendant girls to sing … Baby One More Time (there's a minor Britney theme throughout the film), while Korine giggled and shuffled in his seat, clicking along, looking as bemused as delighted at his current position on the cultural landscape.

He threw them into the production without much of a safety net. They had minimal security ("The absolute littlest amount possible"), and for the early scenes, were surrounded by 1,000 extras who were genuinely on spring break. Hudgens says the spontaneous nudity and sexual antics occurring two feet away freaked her out. "Some gnarly jocks were trying to hump up on the girls," says Korine. "I wanted to see the throes of the kids there just taking over. I wanted to go in and out of rooms and over the balconies and swimming pools, these continuous things, so, yeah, there was like a mile of people at some points. It was hard, it was chaos, it was cool, it was very much like you would imagine it to be. Luckily, on the main strip we found an abandoned hotel that they were gonna destroy, and we spoke to the owner and he just said, 'Go for it.' We set it up and made it active, and basically had everyone destroy it. By the time it was done it looked like bombed-out ruins. It looked like Berlin after the war."

Korine's cameras lap up the young flesh on display, pointedly and lasciviously. It would be fake not to, he says; that's what the film is. In interviews, the girls have defended the fact that they're in bikinis throughout, reasoning that it gives their characters extra vulnerability, which is certainly true; and while the film may not be for Gomez's littles (it's rated 18), they're well aware of it. Many of them turned up to swoon at her at the Hollywood premiere recently. "I think they're really here to see me; I don't think they're here to see the movie," she said.

Many will, though, surely find ways to watch it. Does Korine get a kick out of that? "I don't think little kids should see this film, there's no way that little kids should see this," he says. "But of course, it's exciting to me that there are a lot of things, ideas in the film that a different generation and a different audience than usually see my movies will get a chance to see. That's exciting, it's nice. You always want films to culturally permeate in a way that has an effect."

Spring Breakers is a good few steps removed from reality. There's been much discussion in certain pockets of the internet about the genealogy of Franco's character. Riff Raff, a Houston rapper and friend of Korine's, whom Alien physically resembles, wants to take credit, while Franco (who steals the film) drew substantially from Florida rapper Dangeruss, who appears alongside him. In truth, says Korine, Alien is an amalgamation of many people, mostly local types he was at school with. "But I never meant it to be a realistic portrayal," he says. "He's a gangster mystic, he's almost like an energy. It was never meant to be like a documentary about these types of characters. He has certain attributes, but he's also this kind of crazy poet. He's as close to Max Cady in Cape Fear as he is to Dangeruss."

'It was the first time I ever talked to Gucci Mane. I said: If you don't re-offend, I have a part for you when you get out. He was like: Don't worry, I'm not gonna fuck up'

Despite the sexually charged intensity of their scenes with him, the girls have spoken of how relaxed Franco made them feel, but compared to some of the people in the film, he would have been the least of their worries. Gucci Mane, the rapper who plays Alien's menacing nemesis, was in prison when Korine offered him the job. "I jumped on the phone with him, he had six months left," says the director. "It was the first time I ever talked to him and I said, 'If you don't re-offend, I have a part for you when you get out.' He was like, 'Don't worry, I'm not gonna fuck up.'"

This potpourri of fantasy and reality, celebration and satire, is a blast, and a very contemporary one. It's a sensory feast, with looped dialogue and distorted images, and a score by Drive's Cliff Martinez (woozy) and Skrillex (Skrillexy). It's a reflection on a generation, Korine says, raised on YouTube. Much of it plays like a Grand Theft Auto game, with about as much logic.

"Yeah. Well, I wanted it to be something closer to a video game, or something of a physical experience," he says. "The culture of surfaces, an almost post-articulate culture. There's obviously a message in its meaning and pathologies to the film and the characters, but I wanted it to all come from the residue and the bleed of the surface."

It looks gorgeous. Drawing from his Day-Glo research, Korine told his cinematographer he "wanted it to look like it was lit with candy. Like Skittles or Starburst. I wanted the tone to be pushed into a hyper-candy-textural, hyper-stylised reality." Some of the trippy visual effects, meanwhile, look like basic Photoshop techniques. Is that a nod to the way kids use computers today? "Yeah, it's all that," he says. "It's meant to be a kind of visual mash-up, or an impressionistic reinterpretation of all those things. I was trying to think of the medium in a different way, or in a way that was at least more inventive. Something that was closer to musical experiences I've had, electronic music, things that were loop-based and repetitive. There's not even a lot of dialogue; things are repeated in a way that a pop song has hooks. We were trying to obliterate the sense of time and go with something that was more like a feeling."

It is indeed seductive. It's a bold, unapologetic, entertaining film that reeks of its subject matter. Wade in.

Spring Breakers is out in the UK from Fri 5 Apr

This article is about a type of event. For other uses, see Riot (disambiguation).

A riot () is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority, property or people. Riots typically involve theft, vandalism, and destruction of property, public or private. The property targeted varies depending on the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.[1]

Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, governmental oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between ethnic groups, (race riot) or religions (sectarian violence, pogrom), the outcome of a sporting event (sports riot, football hooliganism) or frustration with legal channels through which to air grievances.[citation needed]

While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots typically consist of disorganized groups that are frequently "chaotic and exhibit herd behavior."[1] However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that riots are not irrational, herd-like behavior, but actually follow inverted social norms.[2]

T. S. Ashton, in his study of food riots among colliers, noted that "the turbulence of the colliers is, of course, to be accounted for by something more elementary than politics: it was the instinctive reaction of virility to hunger."[3]Charles Wilson noted, "Spasmodic rises in food prices provoked keelmen on the Tyne to riot in 1709, tin miners to plunder granaries at Falmouth in 1727."[4][verification needed]

Today, some rioters have an improved understanding of the tactics used by police in riot situations. Manuals for successful rioting are available on the internet, with tips such as encouraging rioters to get the press involved, as there is more safety and attention with the cameras rolling. Citizens with video cameras may also have an effect on both rioters and police.[citation needed]

Dealing with riots is often a difficult task for police forces. They may use tear gas or CS gas to control rioters. Riot police may use less-than-lethal methods of control, such as shotguns that fire flexible baton rounds to injure or otherwise incapacitate rioters for easier arrest.[citation needed]


A police riot is a term for the disproportionate and unlawful use of force by a group of police against a group of civilians. This term is commonly used to describe a police attack on peaceful civilians, or provoking peaceful civilians into violence.[citation needed]

A prison riot is a large-scale, temporary act of concerted defiance or disorder by a group of prisoners against prison administrators, prison officers, or other groups of prisoners. It is often done to express a grievance, force change or attempt escape.[citation needed]

In a race riot, race or ethnicity is the key factor. The term had entered the English language in the United States by the 1890s. Early use of the term referred to riots that were often a mob action by members of a majority racial group against people of other perceived races.[citation needed]

In a religious riot, the key factor is religion. The rioting mob targets people and properties of a specific religion, or those believed to belong to that religion.[5]

Student riots are riots precipitated by students, often in higher education, such as a college or university. Student riots in the US and Western Europe in the 1960s and the 1970s were often political in nature. Student riots may also occur as a result of oppression of peaceful demonstration or after sporting events. Students may constitute an active political force in a given country. Such riots may occur in the context of wider political or social grievances.[citation needed]

Urban riots are riots in the context of urban decay, provoked by conditions such as discrimination, poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, poor healthcare, housing inadequacy and police brutality and bias. Urban riots are closely associated with race riots and police riots.[citation needed]

Sports riots such as the Nika riots can be sparked by the losing or winning of a specific team. Fans of the two teams may also fight. Sports riots may happen as a result of teams contending for a championship, a long series of matches, or scores that are close. Sports are the most common cause of riots in the United States, accompanying more than half of all championship games or series.[citation needed] Almost all sports riots occur in the winning team's city.[6]

Food and bread riots are caused by harvest failures, incompetent food storage, hoarding, poisoning of food, or attacks by pests like locusts. When the public becomes desperate from such conditions, groups may attack shops, farms, homes, or government buildings to obtain bread or other staple foods like grain or salt, as in the 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots.[citation needed]


The economic and political effects of riots can be as complex as their origins. Property destruction and harm to individuals are often immediately measurable. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, 2,383 people were injured, 8,000 were arrested, 51 were killed and over 700 businesses burned. Property damage was estimated at over $1 billion. At least ten of those killed were shot by police or National Guard forces.[7]

Main article: 2005 civil unrest in France § Assessment of rioting

Similarly, the 2005 civil unrest in France lasted over three weeks and spread to nearly 300 towns. By the end of the incident, over 10,000 vehicles were destroyed and over 300 buildings burned. Over 2,800 suspected rioters were arrested and 126 police and firefighters were injured. Estimated damages were over €200 Million.

Many governments and political systems have fallen after riots, including:

Riot control and laws[edit]

Main article: Riot control

Riots are typically dealt with by the police, although methods differ from country to country. Tactics and weapons used can include attack dogs, water cannons, plastic bullets, rubber bullets, pepper spray, flexible baton rounds, and snatch squads. Many police forces have dedicated divisions to deal with public order situations. Some examples are the Territorial Support Group, Special Patrol Group, Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, Mobiele Eenheid, and Arrest units.

The policing of riots has been marred by incidents in which police have been accused of provoking rioting or crowd violence. While the weapons described above are officially designated as non-lethal, a number of people have died or been injured as a result of their use. For example, seventeen deaths were caused by rubber bullets in Northern Ireland over the thirty five years between 1970 and 2005.[8]

Risk of arrest[edit]

A high risk of being arrested is even more effective against rioting than severe punishments.[9][dubious– discuss] As more and more people join the riot, the risk of being arrested goes down, which persuades still more people to join. This leads to a vicious circle, which is typically ended only by sufficient police or military presence to increase the risk of being arrested.[9]

National laws[edit]


In India, rioting[10] is an offense under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

Riot is a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is created by section 1(1) of the Public Order Act 1986. Sections 1(1) to (5) of that Act read:

(1) Where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot.
(2) It is immaterial whether or not the 12 or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.
(3) The common purpose may be inferred from conduct.
(4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
(5) Riot may be committed in private as well as in public places.

A single person can be liable for an offence of riot when they use violence, provided that it is shown there were at least twelve present using or threatening unlawful violence.

The word "violence" is defined by section 8. The violence can be against the person or against property. The mens rea is defined by section 6(1).


See R v Tyler and others, 96 Cr App R 332, [1993] Crim LR 60, CA.

Mode of trial and sentence

Riot is an indictable-only offence. A person convicted of riot is liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine, or to both.[11]

See the following cases:

  • R v Luttman [1973] Crim LR 127, CA
  • R v Pilgrim, 5 Cr App R (S) 140, CA
  • R v Keys, 84 Cr App R 204, 8 Cr App R (S) 444, [1987] Crim LR 207, CA
  • R v Cooke, 9 Cr App R (S) 116, CA

Association football matches

In the case of riot connected to football hooliganism, the offender may be banned from football grounds for a set or indeterminate period of time and may be required to surrender their passport to the police for a period of time in the event of a club or international match, or international tournament, connected with the offence. This prevents travelling to the match or tournament in question. (The measures were brought in by the Football (Disorder) Act 2000 after rioting of England fans at Euro 2000.[12])

Compensation for riot damage

See the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 and section 235 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995..

Construction of "riot" and cognate expressions in other instruments

Section 10 of the Public Order Act 1986 now provides:

(1) In the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 . . . (compensation for riot damage) "riotous" and "riotously" shall be construed in accordance with section 1 above.
(2) In Schedule 1 to the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (form and rules for the construction of certain insurance policies) "rioters" in rule 8 and "riot" in rule 10 shall, in the application of the rules to any policy taking effect on or after the coming into force of this section, be construed in accordance with section 1 above unless a different intention appears.
(3) "Riot" and cognate expressions in any enactment in force before the coming into force of this section (other than the enactments mentioned in subsections (1) and (2) above) shall be construed in accordance with section 1 above if they would have been construed in accordance with the common law offence of riot apart from this Part.
(4) Subject to subsections (1) to (3) above and unless a different intention appears, nothing in this Part affects the meaning of "riot" or any cognate expression in any enactment in force, or other instrument taking effect, before the coming into force of this section.[13]

As to this provision, see pages 84 and 85 of the Law Commission's report.[14]

Common law offence

The common law offence of riot was abolished[15] for England and Wales[16] on 1 April 1987.[17]


In the past, the Riot Act had to be read by an official - with the wording exactly correct - before violent policing action could take place. If the group did not disperse after the Act was read, lethal force could legally be used against the crowd. See also the Black Act.

Section 515 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 formerly made provision for compensation for riot damage.

Northern Ireland[edit]

Riot is a serious offence for the purposes of Chapter 3 of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.[18]

See paragraph 13 of Schedule 5 to the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962.


There is an offence under the law of Scotland which is known both as "mobbing" and "mobbing and rioting".

In July 1981, both Dundee and Edinburgh saw significant disorder as part of the events of that July,[19][20][21] while in 1994[22] and in 2013,[23] two years after the English riots of August 2011, Edinburgh saw rioting, albeit localised to one specific area and not part of any bigger 'riot wave'. Events in 1981 were very similar to those in England, although sources are severely limited. Both Niddrie and Craigmillar saw riots in the 1980s.[24]

United States of America[edit]

See also: Civil Rights Act of 1968

Under United States federal law, a riot is defined as:

A public disturbance involving (1) an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons, which act or acts shall constitute a clear and present danger of, or shall result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual or (2) a threat or threats of the commission of an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons having, individually or collectively, the ability of immediate execution of such threat or threats, where the performance of the threatened act or acts of violence would constitute a clear and present danger of, or would result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual.18 U.S.C. § 2102.

As every state in the United States has its own laws (subject to the Supremacy Clause), each has its own definition of a riot. In the U.S. state of New York, the term riot is not defined explicitly, but under § 240.08 of the N.Y. Penal Law due to the fact there was much fighting in the streets, "A person is guilty of inciting to riot when one urges ten or more persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to create public alarm."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abBraha, D. (2012). "Global Civil Unrest: Contagion, Self-Organization, and Prediction". PLoS ONE. 7 (10): e48596. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048596. PMC 3485346. PMID 23119067. 
  2. ^"You won't prevent future riots by disregarding the psychology of crowds". The Guardian. Aug 19, 2011. 
  3. ^Ashton, T. S., and Joseph Sykes. 1967. The Coal Industry of the Eighteenth Century. 2d ed. New York: A. M. Kelley. p.131.
  4. ^E.P. Thompson (Feb 1971). "The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century". Past and Present. 50: 77. doi:10.1093/past/50.1.76. JSTOR 650244. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^"Thrown pig leads to religious riots in India". CNN. July 3, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  6. ^Ballard, Steve (2011-12-26). "The Kiss". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  7. ^Jim Crogan (Apr 24, 2002). "The L.A. 53". LA Weekly. 
  8. ^Williams, Anthony G. "Less-lethal ammunition".  
  9. ^ abHow Riots Start, and How They Can Be Stopped: Edward Glaeser, Edward Glaeser,, Aug 12, 2011
  10. ^"Offences related to Rioting in Indian Penal Code". 
  11. ^The Public Order Act 1986, section 1(6)
  12. ^"Explanatory Notes to the Football (Disorder) Act 2000". 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  13. ^Digitized copy
  14. ^The Law Commission. Criminal Law: Offences relating to Public Order (Law Com 123). HMSO. 1983.
  15. ^The Public Order Act 1986, section 9(1)
  16. ^The Public Order Act 1986, section 42
  17. ^The Public Order Act 1986 (Commencement No. 2) Order 1987, article 2 and Schedule (1987/198 (C. 4))
  18. ^The Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, article 12(2) and Schedule 1, paragraph 4.
  19. ^"The Riot Experts". The New York Times, July 14, 1981. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  20. ^"Police report flare-ups Police at Dundee, The Kokomo Tribune". The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana · Page 1 July 13, 1981. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  21. ^"The Architecture of Servitude and Boredom, Russell Kirk"(PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  22. ^""eh16" - The Craigmillar Riots of 1994". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 
  23. ^"Police braced for further rioting in Edinburgh after patrol cars are petrol bombed, Daily Record, 10 July 2013". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  24. ^"Unregarded Edinburgh, Niddrie Old Police Station". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 


  • Blackstone's Police Manual. Volume 4, "General police duties". Fraser Simpson (2006). p. 245. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-928522-5.

Further reading[edit]

  • Applegate, Col. Rex (1992). Riot Control: Materiel and Techniques. Paladin Press. ISBN 978-0-87364-208-8. 
  • Beene, Capt. Charles (2006). Riot Prevention and Control: A Police Officer's Guide to Managing Violent and Nonviolent Crowds. Paladin Press. ISBN 1-58160-518-8. 
  • Bessel, Richard; Emsley, Clive (2000). Patterns of Provocation: Police and Public Disorder. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1-57181-228-8. 
  • Bloome, Clive (2003). Violent London: 2000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 0-283-07310-1. 
  • Hernon, Ian (2006). Riot!: Civil Insurrection from Peterloo to the Present Day. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-2538-6. 
  • Waddington, P. A. J. (1991). The Strong Arm of the Law: Armed and Public Order Policing. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-827359-2. 
  • The Black Bloc Papers: An Anthology of Primary Texts From The North American Anarchist Black Bloc 1988-2005 (PDF), by Xavier Massot & David Van Deusen of the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-VT), Breaking Glass Press, 2010.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Riot

Media related to Riots at Wikimedia Commons

Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas.
Law enforcement teams deployed to control riots often wear body armor and shields, and may use tear gas

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