Thursday, June 24, 2004

On beating a guy up on national TV

Okay, so maybe some people just don’t understand what a fishbowl the world has become. It’s hard to ignore the fact that “reality” TV is taking over the airwaves and that the most popular TV shows are the ones that either put “real” people in “real” situations or follow “real” people around with cameras. Screenwriters might want to start looking for a fast-food job, because if it ain’t voyeurism, we ain’t interested.

Still, as evidenced by this, it’s apparent that some folks just haven’t realized that someone is always watching, and that the news helicopter with its million-candlepower spotlight isn’t just making sure you don’t trip in the dark.

Let’s get this out of the way first: police brutality is a bad, bad thing whether someone sees it or not. I’m not talking about a little additional but necessary force, an extra-special smackdown for the guy you’re arresting who happens to have a razor blade hidden under his tongue. I’m talking about having someone fully in custody and under control and still feeling that it’s okay to smack him around, take out a little bit of frustration. If you’re having stress-management issues, there are classes you can take and people you can talk to. Taking it out on someone else is just asking for trouble.

That having been said, please don’t be stupid enough to do it in front of a camera. And, just a hint, if you’ve been involved in a police chase, you can guess that someone has a camera on you. There’s a whole TV show devoted to that very activity. And even if TV cameras are nowhere to be found, there’s always some guy with a handicam waiting for something exciting to happen. Remember, if you’re in any position of authority at all, someone is watching and waiting for you to screw up.

We thought we might have figured this all out with Rodney King; if not that, “Cops” and “America’s Wildest Police Chases” should have straightened us out. But as Abu Ghraib, America’s Funniest Videos and this most recent incident have shown us, some people just can’t act right when the camera is on them. So it looks like we need a review.

Lesson the first: always behave yourself if someone’s watching. Lesson the second: someone’s always watching.

No comments: