No Officers Were Hurt

Last night, a man with a pocket knife was shot dead by the LAPD on a bustling corner of Hollywood Boulevard. Of course, no officers were hurt.

“No officers were hurt.”

I’m constantly reading that sentence these days. It’s the go-to closing line for every dry and dreary news report about some poor bastard being beaten up, choked out, or gunned down by the police.

The news that no officers were hurt is supposed to be a good thing. It’s supposed to be an assurance. For me, it’s not. For me, it’s an accusation.

If no officers were hurt, then tell me why another man is lying dead in the fucking street. If no officers were hurt, tell me how you can even begin to justify the use of all that lethal force.

“No officers were hurt.”

Every time I read that line, it feels like further proof that police are trained to kill before risking even the slightest injury to themselves. I’m sorry, but I’m just not okay with that.

We give these men badges, and in exchange for that authority, we expect them to be held to a higher standard. We give these men guns, and in exchange for that power, we expect them to put the safety of others ahead of their own.

They aren’t living up to that standard — not in Los Angeles, not in New York, certainly not in Ferguson, and probably not in your neighborhood either. Time and again, all I see is evidence that the police aren’t putting anyone else’s safety ahead of their own.

Do you know how I know that?

“No officers were hurt.”

A Killer Cop

Look past the dull thickness in Darren Wilson’s eyes and there’s nothing but underdeveloped manhood and the secret joy of being a killer.

We have to stop giving guns to these desperate loaves of sourdough. We have to stop granting authority to weak minds and shallow souls simply because they stand in a dumb blue line long enough to ask for it.

This man was never supposed to be anything more than a blunt tool for the use of physical force, and that is far too low a standard, because the worst thing that can be said about Darren Wilson isn’t that he was a bad police officer. The worst thing that can be said is that he was an average one.

American Storm Troopers

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This isn’t a police officer. This is a fucking storm trooper. Look at him. Nothing about this man says protect and serve. This man’s profession is violence and his paymaster is the state.

This is the kind of jack-booted thug Governor Jay Nixon wants working on behalf of Missouri against the peaceful citizen protestors in Ferguson, and here’s where it gets extra fucked-up: This poster-boy for police militarization also happens to be a racist right-wing cop who recently shot and killed yet another black teenager.

Yep, that’s right. This is a confirmed photograph of Jason H. Flanery, the gun obsessed wingnut of a police officer who fired 17 shots at 18 year old VonDerrit Myers Jr. last month. Here he is, in all his geared-up glory, still very much on active duty, ready and willing to reign down even more brutality and terror onto the civilian population of Ferguson.

Beauty privilege is very real. None of us are imagining it, and if we aren’t born genetic lottery winners, our only option is to compensate with style, grace, and charm. Of course, none of that shit comes cheap. That’s kind of the whole point. It’s all meant to be aspirational and exclusionary. We’re supposed to feel depressed by our skin, agitated by our bodies, and anxious about our invisibility. That’s the insidious subtlety of social control. The worst part is that we know in our rational minds that it’s all bullshit, and yet we’re still plagued with self-loathing when we can’t live up to unattainable beauty standards. No matter how much self-acceptance we achieve, we can still look in the mirror and instantly catalog all the things about ourselves that we don’t think measure up. It’s maddening. It makes us feel like hypocrites even though it’s not our hypocrisy.

The Coquette @ Adult-Mag

Jeremy Meeks and the Trouble with the Viral Mugshot

On June 18th, convicted felon Jeremy Meeks and three other men were arrested on weapons charges during a police sweep of the Weston Ranch neighborhood of Stockton, California.

As they are wont to do, the police are referring to the sweep as a “multi-agency Operation Ceasefire enforcement mission.” Of course, if mustaches were bullshit filters, any cop would tell you that this kind of thing is really just an excuse for a militarized local police force to justify its SWAT budget while strong-arming racially profiled parolees with overt threats of selective prosecution, but hey, who gives a shit about policy, am I right?

This kind of thing happens every day in America. Nothing about it is remarkable. It’s just business as usual for the revolving door of the prison industrial complex. Hell, the execution of this otherwise unremarkable stack of search warrants wouldn’t have even made the local news if it weren’t for the Stockton Police Department’s deplorable habit of posting mugshots on Facebook and the ridiculously photogenic quality of Mr. Meeks.

Yes, folks. He’s hot. Dude’s got cheekbones that could cut glass and an icy blue gaze so ocean deep, you need a wetsuit just to make eye contact. By any conventional standard of beauty, that man is foine, and since we’re all being honest, let’s not pretend we aren’t a little titillated by the teardrop tattoo. Still, is this man’s image really something we should be exploiting?

We can’t help what gets our nipples hard, and none of us can control what bizarre piece of criminal justice ephemera might raise the waxed eyebrow of our collective consciousness, but we ought to take a step back from this viral moment and recognize how tacky it is to be photoshopping a mugshot into ads for Givenchy, Calvin Klein, and Dolce & Gabbana.

This is not acceptable behavior. It may seem innocent, perhaps even justifiable to those who’ve never had any real contact with the criminal justice machine, but the objectification of Jeremy Meeks amounts to a public humiliation on what is now a massive scale. What’s even worse is that since he is already a convicted felon, we find it that much easier to ignore his presumption of innocence and manipulate his image for our mere amusement.

We should be ashamed of ourselves, and I’m not saying this because I feel the urge to defend Mr. Meeks personally. I have no idea what kind of man he is. He might be a violent monster. He might be good guy caught up in a bad situation. It’s never really that simple anyway. None of us know who he really is, and that’s kind of the point.

We should know better than to engage in this kind of exercise in depersonalization. Making light of this man’s incarceration — or anyone’s incarceration — should be something that makes us sick to our stomachs. The prison industrial complex is the ugliest stain on America’s soul since slavery, and there is absolutely no justification for fetishizing images of people caught up in our broken criminal justice system.

What’s The Difference Between Steve Ballmer and Donald Sterling?

A quick disclaimer: I’m not much of a sports fan.

Actually, no. In the interests of full disclosure, I fucking loathe professional sports, but “I’m not much of a sports fan” is what I have to say in public so dudes don’t look at me like I’m a communist space alien who eats live puppies.

Point is, I do what I can in my day-to-day life to avoid getting any sports on the rest of my popular culture, but every once in a while, a story from that crass and pointless world comes along that is just too mythically preposterous to avoid.

Cue Donald Sterling.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for well over a decade, and in all that time I was happy never knowing the name of the racist slumlord who owned the LA Clippers. In fact, if his tacky airhead of a mistress hadn’t grossly miscalculated the public’s lust for schadenfreude, I might very well have gone my entire life without ever learning of Donald Sterling’s existence.

Oh, well. Too late now. It’s been over a month since TMZ released that bizarre bit of eavesdropping, and Donald Sterling continues to be the nation’s devil du jour. I’m totally fine with that. Personally, I think the misogynistic gender dynamics on that recording between Mr. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano are far more insidious than all the hamfisted racism, but that’s an opinion for a different article.

Yes, Donald Sterling is easily hatable for all kinds of reasons, and it’s always nice to see a villain’s legacy go down in flames, but there’s something shady about this whole courtside coup d’état. I call shenanigans. It’s all just a little too convenient, and I’m sorry, but I can’t quite get comfortable with the way everyone is licking their lips and strapping on their knee pads to welcome former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the Clipper’s new owner.

All I keep seeing are stories about how Steve Ballmer is the perfect guy to buy the team with his “booming voice and energetic high-fives,” and how word on the street is that Clippers fans are embracing Ballmer as the team’s future owner. Of course, “word on the street” almost always means “carefully crafted public relations narrative,” but that’s beside the point.

There’s this sick notion being floated around that everything is okay now because the evil racist billionaire is out and the cuddly benevolent billionaire is in, and it’s such a steaming pile of bullshit. The idea that Steve Ballmer is somehow any less grotesque than Donald Sterling is absolutely ridiculous.

Both of these guys are villains. Hell, they’re practically caricatures of classic movie bad guys. Donald Sterling is a cartoonish composite of every corrupt string-pulling bossman from every Blaxploitation film ever made, and Steve Ballmer is the boring corporate version of every super-wealthy Bond villain since Blofeld.

Both men represent the very sinister realities of that rags-to-riches American dream an entire generation now knows to be a great lie built on a rigged and rigid class system with no real chance of any social mobility, a lie that nevertheless continues to unabashedly celebrate obscene levels of wealth inequality. We call these men moguls and magnates. We hold them up as paragons of achievement. In a nation of consumer capitalism, these men are considered American nobility, and yet they are anything but noble.

Donald Sterling’s personal character flaws turned out to be glaring under the harsh light of public scrutiny, but let’s not forget that Steve Ballmer has been hailed as the worst CEO ever. In a category teeming with avaricious sociopaths, he wasn’t even any good at his damn job. He founded nothing. He invented nothing. He added no value to the world whatsoever. It seems all he did during his tenure as Microsoft CEO was erode over $300 billion worth of market capitalization from what was once the greatest computer company in the world. Still, the genetic lottery winner who happened to share a sophomore dorm with Bill Gates managed to walk away with a net worth of $20 billion.

Sure, I guess that’s the kind of guy who’d be willing to pony up the gross domestic product of Greenland to be the latest spoiled billionaire with the ultimate status symbol. (Mega-yachts are so 2000. These days, it’s all about owning a professional sports team.) Still, why are we all supposed to be rooting for him? What’s in it for us, the general public? As per usual, absolutely nothing.

How about instead of all screaming, “Sterling bad. Ballmer good. Yay basketball!” let’s all take a step back and realize what’s really happening here: A buffoonish billionaire with money to burn is getting a shiny new toy, and a racist slumlord is making an obscene profit as a direct result of his disgusting behavior.

Twitter Bender

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Went on a bit of a twitter bender. No regrets. Felt good to vent.

For the record, I did what I had to do tonight and gracefully stepped off the roller coaster. I guess we all do stupid shit when we’re rebounding.

 

Keep it up, you condescending twat waffle.

Every time you start one of your spoon-fed, middle-brow opinions with the phrase, “as a mother,” all I hear is a mooing sound that reminds me you’re a fear-based consumer with stretch marks.

Motherhood is not a badge that validates your dumb fuck arguments. Your world view has not suddenly become more sophisticated now that you’ve squeezed a tiny shrieking version of yourself out of your vagina.

“As a mother” doesn’t score any points with me. You were an idiot before you gave birth, and you’re still an idiot now.

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