Ripper Street

I’ll probably be reposting this video to my Brit Lit seminar course blog as an example of the ways British literature and culture mixes the contemporary with the past. The video takes advantage of the fact that the London 2012 Olympics revitalized the East End of London, where the Jack the Ripper murders took place 124 years ago. It’s a smart teaser trailer–something the BBC specializes in for its new and popular shows–punctuated by the haunting chorus to Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Frank Ocean’s “No Church in the Wild.”


One thought on “Ripper Street

  1. Was wondering about this. During the opening ceremony, the announcers kept mentioning over and over how the East End was being “revitalized,” and I wondered about the necessity of this hard sell.

    Well, two weeks ago, I had a CouchSurfing couple from London–supercool people; they loved Scrabble and beer in equal measures–stay at my place for a night. They’re hardcore leftist teachers (elementary school and junior high) and union organizers. They were livid, and basically said the “revitalization” actually kicked out roughly 10,000 low-income Eastenders who were longtime residents of the area, drove up property taxes, and displaced the former residents to far-flung suburbs that would make their work commutes longer and more difficult. Despite the giddy picture portrayed by NBC, there were actually a lot of protests and strikes about the revitalization process, lots of heated votes, and there’s still considerable animosity in the city about this. It’s probably hardly worth mentioning that most of these displaced Eastenders were working-class and/or nonwhite.

    I guess my point is this: what some call “revitalization,” others call “gentrification.” And I didn’t see that debate reflected in ANY of the Olympic coverage. It’s not universally accepted that the East End makeover was a good idea.

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