Just Following Orders

So riot cops in Buffalo shove an old man. He falls down, hits his head, and ends up bleeding out of his ears. The cops here aren’t necessarily evil. It’s clear that they want to stop and help the old man, but they have their “orders of the day,” and keep marching. The urge to obey has defeated their humanity.

Classic American cinema gives us two possible solutions to the problem of blindly obedient, robotic police officers. The first comes from Ernst Ernst Lubitsch’s anti-fascist comedy “To Be or Not to Be.” The hero of To Be or not to Be, a film later remade by Mel Brooks, is a mediocre Polish actor named Joseph Tura. A failure as Hamlet, he later finds more success at impersonating a familiar German villain, Adolf Hitler himself. After the Polish resistance successfully hijacks a Luftwaffe aircraft, there remains the problem of the two Nazi pilots. Tura provides a convenient solution.

A very similar thing happens in the 1970s frat boy comedy Animal House. After the Deltas are expelled from campus by the fascist, Richard Nixon like Dean Wormer, they decide to create havoc at the homecoming parade. The lock step conformism of marching band geeks makes is almost as easy as the blind obedience of the Nazi pilots in To Be or Not to Be.

Seriously though, most cops are just brainless suburban idiots terrified of getting fired. They do what they’re told. How can the left possibly lose to these people? But perhaps a better question is this. Why does the American ruling class deploy heavily armed soldiers against their own citizens? These aren’t city cops. They’re occupying armies. What’s more, from the looks of that scene in Buffalo, there was no threat, or even anything remotely resembling a threat, just a few people with signs. Yet the machine in blue rolled on exactly as it would have in the middle of a firefight in the middle of a war. Were the riot cops seeing antifa super soldiers in their imaginations? Were they on drugs? Are they part of some MK-ULTRA experiment to turn men (and women) into cyborgs? God only knows.

5 comments

  1. I think “profiling” the kind of guys that want to be policemen would show many go into policing with a “superior” attitude, wanting to be an “authority” by having a badge, the only way to lift a little self into grandiose magnificence of carrying a gun. People choose jobs to express themselves, and White Supremacy is easily expressed in an invisible way, until some cop goes too far and the protests start. And then it’s all the same argument, all over again, and nothing gets done. Never mind the victims (bad enough) but it’s the perpetrators who need fixing. You can say that Chinese are prejudiced against white foreigners, as Chinese society tends to be “homogenous” and “strangers” stick out. Same as Japan and some other non-white countries with internal “classes” like India, with some people classed as hopeless “lower castes”. The suspicion of “the other” happens from various sides. Skin color is merely an easy divider, but hate extends to “those of your kind”, too, doesn’t it? Humans are truly puzzling about “themselves” – we are wrecking the planet but can’t get organized. We have babies for love, although some are “children of rape, raised on malnutrition” (Bruce Cockburn, “Tropic Moon”) the walking corpses of child refugees stark examples of HUGE failure of humanity.

    1. This is a young white guy shoving an old white guy. I think in China they have more respect for their elders.

  2. John Thurloe · · Reply

    Interesting to see that some city municipalities and even courts are ordering that police cease the use of choke holds or the use of rubber bullets and tear gas. I approve. Let’s have all police wearing clown suits armed only with bananas. Great idea. Save lives, save money and have a good time.

    1. Bananas are dangerous.

  3. John Thurloe · · Reply

    For a while, the protests hung in the balance. Trump tried to push it over with threats and grandstanding. But it has all gone decisively the other way with huge protests all over the globe. And peaceful. Because cops have stood down. Such a scale has serious sticking power. This is and should rightly be considered victory. It certainly is a defeat for Trump who looks the fool. He re-election chances takes a nosedive.

    Even the small town that I live in will be holding a protest march from the four corners today. The place has about 6 police.

    Just following orders.

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