“Riots” in Melbourne


It would be hard to have missed the story in the past couple of days about “bad boy” Corey Worthington, who threw a party, and had 500 people turn up (plus the Victoria Police to break up a “riot”). Regardless of what happened, the media interest post-party has been substantial, including stories in the local papers , and internet, as well as international notoriety on the BBC and CNN, and in The Guardian.

Curiously, the media is mostly making him out to be a moron, and naughty boy, who should apologise for both the riot, and his behaviour since it became a media event. But ultimately, with the assistance of the media, Corey has achieved exactly what every 16 year-old boy wants, and pretty much all of us desire – attention.

Ultimately, one of our basic human needs is to be noticed, to be wanted, and to be valued. We are a social animal, and we seek a lot of our ego sustenance from others. When we are teenagers, this is even more pronounced because we are trying to establish our identity, and distance ourselves from the people that have had most influence (and control) of our lives since we were born – our parents.

Corey has been turned into a minor celebrity, because of his bad behaviour, with offers to host dance parties, and appearances on radio. Today he was interviewed by a local FM station, and when the host tried to forcibly move his sunglasses, he walked out of the studio – although he came back later to finish the interview. It has now taken an ugly turn, with violent threats from people calling in to the interview, and the possibility of police charges.

I predict that the story will die down in the next couple of days, and Corey will most make some form of public apology. However, he will live off his notoriety for a while, probably hosting dance parties, maybe even turning up at the same types of events that the rejects from Big Brother tend to be invited to, until people forget why he was famous in the first place. It is the classic popularity story of “fast up, fast down”.

However, he will have achieved a level of popularity amongst his peers, that he would not have normally experienced, save for all the media coverage. In a sense, what could have been left alone, and left to fade into insignificance, has been prolonged by a media that is desperate to sell advertising space by creating celebrity out of nothing of substance. Ultimately, though, he is just a little boy, who (accidentally) will have his seven days of fame, get the attention and admiration of his peers (who will think that he is a even more of a legend because of all this attention), and fade into the ether like Andy Silva, Todd James, and Debb Eaton (look them up).

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