Saturday, December 13, 2014

Recently at C4SS ...


Yeah, I still keep forgetting to blurb my C4SS stuff as soon as it publishes there. So, three pieces so far this month:

Video technology is certainly part of the solution to police violence, but that solution should remain in the hands of regular people, not the state. More and more of us every day come into possession of the ability to record video on the spot, while instantly porting it to Internet storage so that it can't be destroyed at the scene or tampered with after the fact. Cops need to be on cameras they don't control.

But part of the solution is still just part of the solution.

That's from "Police Should Be On, Not Behind, Cameras."

As any recovering addict will helpfully inform you, the first step is admitting the problem. The US government and American media (and presumably following them, the America public) still resolutely refuse to do that.

In story after story, we see references to "enhanced interrogation" and "brutal interrogation tactics." Those are weasel words. They're not admissions of the problem, they're attempts to talk around the problem.

We're not talking about "enhanced interrogation techniques." Nor are we discussing "brutal interrogation tactics." The subject in question is torture.

From "The First Step is Admitting That It's Torture."

It's surprising what passes for high political drama these days. After a DC dust-up similar to, but neither as exciting as watching paint dry nor as convincing as professional wrestling, the US House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion "Cromnibus" bill to fund the federal government through September 2015, passing it on to the US Senate, which most expect it (as I write this) to pass as well.

Why does the whole thing fail as theater? Two reasons:

First, it lacks the true conflict essential to a good yarn. Protagonists and antagonists. Winners and losers. One side wants one thing, the other wants something not just different, but substantially incompatible. "Cromnibus" fails on that level because all sides transparently want the same thing -- to keep things going exactly as they've always gone.

Secondly, the stakes are too low. "Government shutdown" just isn't the bogeyman it used to be.

From "Shutdown Theater -- Off-Off Broadway Follies."

And yes, there is a podcast coming later today. "See" you then.

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