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police police police.

police are important in any city. they are, someone wrote, the only natural things of a city, which is by definition an unnatural construction. which would mean that the police are an unnatural construction in the end, and overall, i'd rather agree. but then i am no real fan of anyone or anything that is placed above me by society.

the police as a creation often represent mainstream political thought, and it's laws and rules are created from these ideologies. but the people who uphold this law, those who work in the police station, are people who must place the law before their own morals, and be able to follow it when the law changes. if tomorrow a law came out that said all drugs were legal, the police would have to follow this. it seems to me to be an odd thing to place a government sponsored rule above your own moralities, and i wonder how this sits with police themselves?

in fairness, police have a nasty job. i'd never do it. rolling through the streets, having to uphold something that is essentially hollow, and give it meaning.

it may be that police are doomed to be flawed. they are, after all, just human, and because of this, they have the same prejudices, fears, entertainment's as most people. if you think about it, the majority of police are probably listening to popular radio stations, waiting for jimmy barnes and cold chisel to come on. they probably go home to a family unit, a few beers, and money problems. you know, what the majority of the world goes home too. they probably wish they could lock away their inlaws. who knows. the point is they're just as flawed as most, but unfortunately take on the face of the government, and are responsible for upholding their laws.

police police police. who in their right mind would become a cop?

i once overheard this story of an initiation rite where they got the new folks lined up and sprayed on of their eyes with mace.

let it be said, that if i ever need the police, that they send the officer who said, no, don't spray me in the eyes with mace. it will hurt.

the back of police cars smell of leather and metallic oil, and the front of them are generally jammed with things from night sticks to empty cartoons of food. i can't remember if i ever saw a pump action rifle like is in that american show Cops. but i remember that smell.

at night, you can hear the sirens ignite, and tear along the roads. sometimes i wonder where they are going? most of the time i don't. i've seen them come to my next door neighbours, and i've seen them go down the end of the street. i've seen a few arrive for robberies.

in the bloodstream of a city, the police is suppose to be the antibodies. but for so many minorities, this is not the case.

one final thought on police: have you ever noticed that in films and novels that have strong city links to them, the protagonist is that of a cop or a private detective? in the 20th and 21st centuries, perhaps more, since cities have become full blown, is it perhaps fair to say the true narrators of the city are the police?


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Mar. 10th, 2002 07:26 pm (UTC)
Cats & Dogs
*sniff sniff*
I smell talk of natural & unnatural. That wouldn't be my good friend Donny would it?

State Police remind me of dogs. Loyal to the hand that feeds them (but not above accepting scraps from someone else's table). They follow state law like a dog follows it's master & they continue to remain loyal (or at least to exist) regardless of how well they are treated. They have quite a bark and quite a bite too. But Lo! The dog that bites out of turn for opinion & the people are likely to put him down as quickly as a rabid animal, exorcising the guilt they feel for being satisfied that whatever nasty element of society the hapless polizia accidentally shot has been delivered unto the eternal judgement.

Federal police, on the other hand are like cats. They exist in the same, metaphorical, house but are a law unto themselves, needing neither the attention nor approval of the states. They have a more glamourous profile, having the responsibility for international crime like drug smuggling & terrorism.
Mar. 11th, 2002 05:11 pm (UTC)
Narrative Interest
I have noticed the pre-eminence of certain occupations in stories about cities, in stories about any place at all actually. This was something I once pondered in relation to television dramas. It seemed significant to me that the majority of them are centered around hospitals, police stations, law firms, schools, even a fire station.

I don't agree that the police have special status amongst these roles. Police have a certain greater usefulness in stories because they have authority to explore more of the city, but they are limited in others. Consider the city as seen thru the eyes of an ambulance officer as in Bringing Out the Dead. I think that potrayal was just as interesting, different parts of the city are revealed by different people.

Mar. 11th, 2002 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Narrative Interest
you're right.

one of the things that i am going to try and do is to take as many narrators as i can, as many people to flesh out sydney. this does not mean just police, ambulance drivers, and the such. but as you say, they all reveal a different side of the life in a city, and this is kinda my plan, to reveal as many many different versions of sydney as i can.
Mar. 11th, 2002 05:16 pm (UTC)
Narrative Interest 2
I came to the conclusion that none of the roles played out by these occupations have any special claim as the pre-eminent narrators of their context, but rather, that their high profile is the result of what we deem to be an interesting story. It's not the policeman who is the real focus, it's not the policeman through which the city is narrated. In my opinion it's the crime. The disease outbreak. The heart rending story of the child without a brain. The sexually charged divorce proceedings of the mayor. Whatever.

It is through the event that we come to know the city. Through the victim's death & the investigation of their recent life & the people they interacted with, the places they frequented and the things they did we come to know who is in the city & where & what they are doing. And we learn, from the surviving characters what the social & moral norms are from their reactions to the crime or other event and from our sudden intrusion into their lives through the medium of the policeman or other such figure.

In this way the policeman is simply the physical representation of the audience, that character is our own eyes & ears, our ticket into that other world. But the boundaries of what we get to see are set by the event that brings the main character and us together. It is the activity of the bad guy, the inevitable collusion of tragic circumstances, the natural disaster about to spring on the small town, the ghostly voice of the victim that narrates from beyond the grave.

Mar. 11th, 2002 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Narrative Interest 2
well, true. on a large level the inclusion of police, ambulance drivers, ect. in a narrative is because these people suit the narrative structure the best. the believability of a story is much easily upheld if the police are searching for a criminal, if the doctors are helping the dying, and so on and so forth.

but are not these stories of the city? in stories of space, we do not find these people, because crime is often not there, and operations in the space shuttle are not something we expect. (there's an idea though: space ambulance, coming soon.) heh. erm. anyhow, my point being that these stories are manifestations of life within the city.

in the jungle, life is different. there is no crime in the jungle, no need for the police. whereas the army, the hunter, the huntered, tribes, and so on and so forth. but there is, in the jungle, healers and doctors. this is often true of sea dramas, and probably, now that i think about it, there are doctors in space. but very often no police.

in a way, the police narrator is a unique narrator, because he or she is so often linked to the city. it is true that we need the event to learn more of the city that we explore, but it is here, in the city, that the police take on an essence of being the city's narrator.

of course, this is not to say the only kind. you could pick at other professions just as easily, and, in some of those narrations, the police become the bad guys. but the difference is that there are a lot of police stories.

which i guess was your point too. which is to say i agree with a lot of what your saying.
Mar. 11th, 2002 05:42 pm (UTC)
The natural offspring of cities
I disagree that police are the natural offspring of cities. The idea of policing the population is the natural offspring of materialism, as are cities. They seem more like siblings to me. It is the concept of property, briefly mentioned earlier in your journal, that dictates the need for property protection. And it is the procurement of property that has created cities.

The natural relations to cities are human interactions. It is human contact, the drive to create communities that underlie cities. See how this ties into my argument that plot events(human interactions) are the real narrators of plots? Communication is even more fundamental to cities than materialism. Communication & communities existed before cities even though it may have been personal property that fuelled the development of cities.

I imagine the first property was land on which to live & grow food as people developed agriculture & evolved beyond nomadic lifestyles. This led to tools & homes etc and increasing specialisation - given a huge boost with the industrial revolution, created cities.

We are a herding species, embarrassing as that is, and I agree that we get dumber in greater numbers. You HAVE to read Kant on this topic!

Mar. 11th, 2002 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: The natural offspring of cities
hmm. that's interesting.

i still think police and other such authority/community figures are the natural offspring, more than just because of materialism. following your own line of reasoning, it is perhaps these figures of authority and community (because, really, police are just not authority figures, but community ones too--their responsability is always to the community, which is perhaps why corruption will always be the case, as the community wants things illegal, and it is for the police to support these... heh, well, it makes me smile) but anyway, it could be conceviable that these figures like the police are what keep the dialogue of a city open. it is not just about keeping your products safe, but also creating the sense of community within a city, something that keeps the communication running, keeps us all within understanding of each other, and people of the same place, if you can understand that?

hrm. i wonder if that is exactly what i mean? perhaps.
Mar. 12th, 2002 10:39 pm (UTC)
Re: The natural offspring of cities
Yeah, you may have a point about the police connection to the community.
At first glance I can't help but balk at the concept, being WAY too cynical to believe all that "Serve & Protect" stuff. It seems more believable that the police are the steel-toed jackboot of the establishment.
But the fact that my, admittedly casual & situational, lefty-ism influences me to have this opinion just confirms the strong relationship that the police have to the community. I'm annoyed by the possibility that the police aren't enforcing my own personal sense of justice because I too want to claim them as a personal jackboot. What the police enforce is a symbol of what the community wants. If the police are invading the clubs I frequent, if they are unsympathetic to homophobia related crimes, if they book me for doing ONLY a few Kms over the speed limit it is a clear msg that I am on the outside of the community & I feel unempowered, my concerns unrepresented.
The entire community wants to claim the police force as their own. But the community is divided on so many issues that the police force is always under fire from someone. Which makes me more suspicious of anyone who would choose to become a police officer.

Mar. 13th, 2002 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: The natural offspring of cities

i wouldn't want to be a cop, and i can't imagine anyone thinking, yeah, i *want* to defend and serve. i don't even know what you would be defending or serving, but maybe this is because i am selfish and only want to defend and serve myself. or because i realise that the police is more a way to measure the most common held beliefs that run rampant in todays society.

lovely though that... not.
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