May 14, 2008

"Surf Gangs" of La Jolla? Reality or Media Hook?

I had heard rumors about the tragic murder of La Jolla surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. over a year ago, but didn't really know the full story. I was at the gym yesterday morning, watching the mindlessness of the Today show--hey, its good for not falling off the treadmill--when this story came on.

What has sparked the sudden re-interest and media feeding frenzy is that the prosecution is now claiming that the perpetrators were participants in a gang, or even better for the media, a "surf gang."

Whether or not that is true, the first thing that sprang to my mind was the connection to "Bra Boys." Would this link have come up if Bra Boys wasnt hitting the big screens right now? What happens in La Jolla, however horrible, is hardly comparable to what happens in Maroubra. But, I have to wonder if a newsroom producer with knowledge of Bra Boys saw sudden headline gold in reviving the surf gang label...

Regardless, here are three hits on the story, in descending order of hysteria. (Thank you NPR.)

Today Show Segment from yesterday AM

New York Times article from Monday
(This is my select pull quote form the NYT article: "One group, the Windansea Surf Rats, had for decades used physical violence to intimidate outsiders and tagged the group’s initials in surf wax on the sidewalk near the beach." physical violence + surf wax??? Look out, it'll burn the soles of your feet off!!!)

NPR Audio clip from this AM


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