Quickest Way To Lose In The Schoolyard
Take a moment to travel back in time with me. Sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and drift back to your childhood. Remember those times on the playground where you either watched, taunted, or were taunted by someone. Roasting you nicely, your opponent, cheered on by a group of equally ass-like kids, hit you right where it hurt. Your comeback?
“That’s not funny!”
And immediately, the observers were shamed, turned, walked away from your tormentor who – seeing the evil of his ways – reformed and never teased again.
What actually happened was that your indignation and frustration was met with increased taunting and laughter from the audience. “That’s not funny,” is never, ever an effective deterrent of disfavored behavior. It encourages it pretty well, however.
Here’s the deal. Having now watched the “controversial” SFPD tapes, I can officially agree with the many rank and file cops and other residents, newscasters, commentators and observers who conclude – again – that San Francisco has no sense of humor. It’s gone. R.I.P. or R.I.P.C. – you can figure out what the P.C. stands for.
Maybe I’m missing the parts that are homophobic, sexist, or generally offensive. What I saw was this (based on the order of the clips in the link):
Pt.1 – The roasting of cops, playing to the stereotypes of cops as lazy, slow to react, etc. Bonus source of potential biting social commentary: the headline on the newspaper heralds the selection of Heather Fong as police chief. Is this video perhaps condemning – or even faux-mourning – the pre-Fong era in which the SFPD was in sorry shape? To me, the image implies the days of such Tai-Chi, job-ditching in the department are over.
That would be a good thing.
By the way – the video as accessed via the cbs5.com website features a title card omitted from the above link in which the cop characters are named “Hamster and Big Dummy.” ‘Nuff said.
Pt.2 – A condemnation of the war on drugs that sucks up dozens of officers in pursuit of tiny amount of crack while piles of coke snorted above Market go undetected? A hyperbolic, congratulations of a high-achieving subdivision? An inside joke portraying the undercover drug cops’ jobs as effortless when the intended viewers – beat cops, etc – is probably no laughing matter at all, thick with danger, etc? Probably. Offensive? I’m going to go with no.
Pt. 3 – More self-mockery of the stereotypical cop who looks like the fool when compared to everyman bum he runs over. Think deeper guys. If you think this video means SFPD approves of running over the homeless, you need to go back to your high school English teacher and apologize profusely for missing the point.
Pt. 4 – Makes fun of guys! Makes fun of chauvinist pigs! Shit, this one actually made me laugh. Who’s the mug here, people? The cop! I’d love it if the outrage from City Hall or elsewhere came from concern that cops were too full of self-loathing and might need a self-esteem boost. But what this who thing demonstrates a MASSIVE overreaction.
There is also a mock hot-guy video featuring a captain who – quite believably – contends that his participation its production was non-existent. The video’s producer used outtakes of the Captain flubbing his lines. Now the guy’s name is toast in the community and for what?
But hey, I’m not about to tell the unfunny that they aren’t funny. Though, technically, I could do so since it doesn’t violate my Not Funny Not Funny Rule since it wasn’t meant to be funny to begin with. I urge you all to click around, watch the videos, read the coverage, google it up as much as you can and make your own decision. I was expecting to see something FAR different from what I saw given the Mayor’s and Chief Fong’s rhetoric. Especially moving where local news interviews with beat cops who decry the overreaction, correctly saying that we, the general public, can’t possibly understand how important humor is as a release from the stress of what they face everyday.
There’s a reason I’m not a cop – I don’t know if I’m strong enough to face danger, an increasingly and more heavily armed public, or to be able to sleep nights seeing what they see: death, sadness, misery, decay, etc, etc.
I think the Mayor fumbled this badly. And I take any offense on humor quite seriously.