The art, the poetry, the idiocy of YouTube street fights

Carlo Rotella in Slate:

I realize that this probably makes me a bad person, but I find the online archive of street fights to be edifying, even addictive, ripely endowed as it is with both the malign foolishness that tempts you to despise your fellow humans and occasional flashes of potent mystery that remind you not to give in to the temptation. There’s an education in these videos—in how to fight and how not to fight, for starters (executive summary: Skip the preliminaries, strike first, and keep it coming), but also in how the human animal goes about the age-old business of aggression in the 21st century.

Here’s the beginning of a guidebook, a preliminary sketch of some lessons to be learned in the land of a thousand asswhippings.

1) If you’re going to pick a fight, or consent to such an invitation, know what you’re getting into and be prepared for a fast start and a quick finish.

Squaring off for a street fight resembles questioning a witness in court: Like a lawyer (and unlike, say, an English professor), you should know the answer to your question before you ask it. The question is, “If we fight, who will win?” The answer frequently comes as a surprise to all involved.

For instance, this unfortunate guy picked a fight with the wrong motorist.

More here.