November 20, 2011, 3:25 pm
With “Why I Feel Bad For the Pepper-Spraying Policeman, Lt. John Pike,” Atlantic magazine senior editor Alexis Madrigal provides a useful discussion of the criminalization of protest and related militarization of police response. Madrigal is quite right that we’re missing the point if we pretend that Pike is an “independent bad actor” and “vilify” him as an individual without analyzing the flawed system of protest policing in which Pike operates. However, Madrigal makes a serious blunder in framing the piece.
Madrigal’s intention for the frame was to offer a provocative meditation on the way that the management of disorder dehumanizes police officers as well as the police—the sort of thing any reasonably well-read grad student should be able to churn out (cf Foucault, Fanon, etc):
I am sure that he is a man like me, and he didn’t become a cop to shoot history majors with pepper…
May 20, 2011, 9:03 am
I spent yesterday morning visiting the villa where the Wannsee Conference took place, then spent the afternoon brooding, smoldering, thinking—and trying to change my own subject—about Nazi monsters drinking cognac and planning the logistics for the Final Solution in 1942. Later in the day I read about Lars von Trier’s appalling remarks at Cannes.
So my mind was on fire, even burnt over. Even on an ordinary day in Berlin, however pleasant and stimulating the city, it’s hard to stop thinking about the Final Solution. Try not to think about an elephant graveyard. Having begun this day Berlin-style, I could be enraged at von Trier, revolted by what he said, and at the same time pity him.
What did he say? It’s both worse and “better” than the initial reports. It began, according to Dennis Lim in The New York Times, with “a question … from a British journalist about…