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click opera - The angry ape
February 2010
 
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Mon, May. 18th, 2009 08:30 am
The angry ape

"Man, proud man, dress'd in a little brief authority," Shakespeare said (before America even existed) "like an angry ape plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as makes the angels weep."



Something happens to an American -- a person, reputedly, given to maverick ways and deeply opposed to government, bureaucracy and regulation -- when he dons a uniform. Dressed thus in a little brief authority, the American becomes stentorian: a loud-voiced, angry ape able to speak -- or so it seems -- only in imperatives. Here are a few encounters I've had with the species over the past week or two.

I'm at the L train station at 8th Avenue. A small Asian man is scurrying across the tiled hall. Two burly cops stand by the wall, seeming, by their silhouettes, to bristle with weapons. One shouts "STOP RUNNING!", but the scurrying Asian man doesn't hear. For a second I worry that he will be shot for disobedience.

My bus on 5th Avenue has pulled a couple of feet away from the stop, but is stationary in traffic. I run up and knock gingerly on the door. The driver makes to ignore me but -- since the light is long -- eventually opens. "Next time," he scowls, "be at the stop!" I apologise and thank him profusely, despite thinking that his tone is a little off.

In this land where we might, any of us, be packing heat as a constitutional right, shouldn't this kind of encounter be a little more polite? Sure, this man is on a short fuse and has been having a bad day. But what if I am on a short fuse and have been having a bad day myself? Might his rude tone and presumptuous imperative voice be the straw that breaks the dog's back?

Explaining once why he left California and settled in Rome, Morrissey made a remark about the "fascist policemen with keys dangling from their belts" you encounter in America. And if you walk down an American street with your eyes and ears open, one thing you're sure to hear will be sirens, and one thing you're sure to see will be signs with imperatives on them. Not just the imperatives of advertising ("Learn English! Go to night school!") but the imperatives of bylaws and regulations: "No honking! Penalty $300."

Sometimes you'll see a sign with an endless list of things that are forbidden: ball games, stereos, food, bicycles, smoking, spitting, dancing, photography, loitering, skateboarding, dogs, alcohol. Oh, always alcohol! Yesterday I was at a design festival in the Meatpacking District, and there was a nice little cafe where they were handing out free vodka and beer. One foolish Scandinavian visitor made the mistake of approaching the line dividing the cafe from the sidewalk and instantly the staff pounced: "This is America, you can't take alcohol onto the street!"

Then there are the looming hulks at the door of every building, whether it's a shop or an apartment block; private security staff. In the stores they say "How you doing today?" in a tone which suggests a quo vadis, a centurion's challenge. At the apartment block door it's more definitive: if you don't pass the ID test, you can't enter. I'm listed as a guest in the Upper East Side tower where I'm staying, but there have been about eight different doormen in the time I've been staying here, and I have to establish my identity (locate my name on the registered guest list) with each one of them.

People in uniform in the other societies I know don't loom and bark this way. Japanese and German policemen are ineffectual, mild creatures. The Japanese ones sit in kobans eating noodles, or wobble around on bicycles. They're always willing to help you find your way to a nearby shop or museum. The German ones sit in cars looking bored. Occasionally you'll see them en masse confronting a squat house, but mostly the German preoccupation with not appearing Nazi or STASI-like stops them from appearing in any way fascist. That's all behind us now -- the tyranny of uniformed authority, and that arrogant, barking tone it presumes to adopt towards citizens.

My theory is that authority in America (the main topic of the American TV I grew up with, which seemed endlessly preoccupied with charismatic policemen) isn't the opposite of the maverick strain in the national character, but the result of it. People in Germany or Japan have, by and large, internalised consideration for their fellow citizens because they're more collective-minded, more socially-oriented. Americans, by and large, haven't. Hence the curbside signs ordering you not to do things, and reminding you of the exact dollar price of doing them. It's the imposition on wayward individuals of consideration by force, in a society that hasn't ever quite accepted that it is one.

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krskrft
krskrft
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)

I think it has more to do with the fact that, because these various regulations change from state to state, county to county, and even city to city, when you combine this with the common right of Americans to travel freely between states, counties, and localities, you end up with a scenario in which a good many people may actually truly not know that they can't do some of these things. Especially in a city like New York. which has in recent years adopted a lot of social policies that don't exist in other places.

In any case, I think when you hear public servants barking in America, it's usually because they're jaded from having to deal with idiots day in and day out. Being overly assertive is the only way to avoid being eaten up by frustration, boredom, and a general feeling that the only value in one's profession is the retirement package.

If you visit smaller, less hectic locales, the public servants tend to be far more laid back and hands-off with the public, since there is far less public order to be maintained.

Also, you know, 9/11, and shit.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)

Yes, these are good explanations. Certainly 9/11 changed the tone enormously. I remember, before that, being amazed at how lax and permissive NY cops were towards, for instance, my habit of Razor-boarding everywhere. I was never once told to get off the sidewalk. After 9/11, it seems, pretty much everything was forbidden and suspicious. The legions of private security officers ballooned. A kind of uniformed paranoia became the norm. The armed apes loomed below flags, everywhere.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Or it's because you're in NYC

It's also because you're in New York, and there lots of people new to the United States that come through NYC. In other parts of the US - especially in the Midwest and South - people are pretty considerate to each other, and there are few signs dictating behavior. I recommend you stop generalizing about countries (Japan, US) - until you have seen these countries from all angles, and can make an informed judgment. And, even then, I would be hesitant to imply I knew (and disliked) the "national culture" of a country, when I am simply an outsider, and have no right to judge.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Or it's because you're in NYC

YES, SIR!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)

"Sometimes you'll see a sign with an endless list of things that are forbidden: ball games, stereos, food, bicycles, smoking, spitting, dancing, photography, loitering, skateboarding, dogs, alcohol."

I don't think they are really part of the same general point you are making. You can find even more signs like that in Japan but, just as in NY, they blend into the background.


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parallel_botany
parallel_botany
Doña Nadie
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)

I saw a sign like this posted near a little courtyard in between two office buildings. Someone had written at the bottom: NO SMILING.

The sign was really quite comical, there were like six or seven "forbidden" things on it.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)

Doesn't this just describe a non european use of public space? You're in NYC, do you really expect a bus driver to say please and thank you?! I can't comment on Japan, but see what you think to Indian or Thai police and the freedom permitted in public spaces there. A lot of the people working these kind of jobs are black too - maybe the ape bit needs re-thinking... I usually enjoy your posts, and i get your point - the US can seem conformist after Berlin - but Europe is the global first class lounge and the exception to the world, not the other way around.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)

Well, I like to think Europe might one day become the world's policeman -- a mild-mannered, slightly bored one who sits in a BMW playing sudoku.


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gillen
gillen
the ill-tempered cavalier
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)

Every society gets the policing that it not only deserves but which best reflects itself.


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zdover
zdover
Zac
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)

So I guess the people in Tibet are real pieces of shit, right?

And the Czechs during the Cold War were also pieces of shit. And I guess every Soviet was a moral reprobate.

Your comment's as dumb as when people say you don't vote you can't complain about the government that got voted in.


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zdover
zdover
Zac
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
My three cool encounters with Berlin cops.

I lived in Berlin for about nine months, from September 2006 to July 2007. I had four encounters with police that I can recall, and all of them surprised me (an American) because the cops were polite and respectful and concerned for me.

1. The French embassy story. I was meeting a friend outside the French Embassy at Pariser Platz during the Health Insurance (I think) strikes of Fall 2006. There were lots of police in riot gear in the big open area, and I was utterly confused and lost and couldn't find the French Embassy. I walked past the Hotel Adlon to a van full of dudes in green riot gear, figuring that I would as politely as possible inquire as to where the French Embassy was. This one big guy in green who must've weighed 17 or 18 stone was sitting with his legs splayed open, and he looked at first glance to be pretty American.

"Entschuldigung, und ich entschuldige mich im Voraus fuer mein schlechtes Deutsch, aber darf ich eine zweite Frage stellen?"

His manner, which I expected to be confrontational and condescending, was not at all. He was clearly amused at my attempt to speak German and told me that my German was comprehensible enough that my apology was not only unnecessary, but weird. He then sort of shrugged and said "Was war die Frage?"

"Wissen Sie wo die Fraenzoische Botschaft ist?" I asked, less timidly, but still half expecting to be searched or tazed or mocked.

Let me be clear about this part. The French flag was framed in the window of the van, just over his right shoulder. He jerked his thumb over this shoulder and said "Sie ist da, oder?" in a tone that in the best friendly sense conveyed that surely my question was so neophytic that it couldn't be meant in earnest.

I thanked him and went to the French Embassy, where I found that the door was locked and they weren't letting anyone in. When I asked if I could try the door, he politely but ironically and kind of incredulously told me that I was perfectly welcome to try the door, that he wouldn't try to stop me, but he'd already told me that it was locked and had already told me that it wasn't going to be opened soon.

In America, I have the feeling that I would be tazed for each of these things.

2. @ the Holocaust memorial around 1 in the morning I was accompanying a young Korean woman who was terrified of large cities, but was really interested in seeing the sights in Berlin. The young Korean woman didn't understand at all what the stellae were for, and was jumping from stella to stella. The cops came over and told her that she couldn't do it. I explained that she didn't speak much German, but told her as best I could given her limited command of English that we were in a kind of graveyard. I apologized to the cops and they said that it was cool, that they understood, and that it happened all the time. It was just important to remember to be respectful of the monument, for a host of reasons.

Thinking about this interaction now nearly moves me to tears. In America, we would almost certainly have been arrested for this, or at least fucked with and possibly beaten.

3. Behind the Reichstag one night a couple of American friends and I talked to some cops for about twenty minutes about various stuff. The Americans used me as a translator, and the cops were very patient and polite and proud to show off their neat city.

4. Hunting for a laundry at Zoologischer Garten, a stopped a couple of cops with a dog, a K9 unit. Before I could ask them a question, one of them said "Abstand!" and indicated that the dog was vicious and deadly serious around people he didn't know, so out of concern for my safety it would be good if I stood back. I've almost never had this kind of interaction in America.


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parallel_botany
parallel_botany
Doña Nadie
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: My three cool encounters with Berlin cops.

You think an American police officer would have just let their dog attack you? Or they would have told you to stand back, but out of some kind of power trip, rather than out of concern for your safety?

There are probably lots of power-tripping asshole cops in the US, but I really don't fear being tasered or beaten for turning down a wrong street or asking a for directions. I see police helping out people all the time, giving directions on the subway, chatting with people, and such. You make it sound like American police officers are just looking for any excuse to do harm to innocent people.


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nightspore
nightspore
Muster Mark
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)

Well, I think I disagree. Police in New York and in other American cities that I know tend not to have the authority that they do in the European cities that I know. A cop or bus driver or other uniform yells at you in New York, generally you yell back. It's fine. Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect are the hallmarks of a kind of militaristic noblesse oblige. We don't have that so much here, and so we don't get much courtesy, professionalism and respect, but we don't offer much to uniformed people either. Being in uniform doesn't make you special here, and therefore the uniform itself doesn't do the job that it does in societies where the police have more power and feel themselves to have more power.

Not that I am in any way slighting the frequent and massive abuse of the power that cops do have. There's no question of that, and there's no question that your race matters with respect to how much shit a cop can give you or how much shit you can give a cop. But in ordinary life -- that is the incidents you're describing here -- I'm much more comfortable getting into a pissing contest with a cop here than anywhere else. My experience of European civil servants, of any kind, is that if you push beyond their considerable reserves of politeness, you hit big trouble. Here the reserves are practically nil, but you can go a lot farther anyhow.


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parallel_botany
parallel_botany
Doña Nadie
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)

I think you've brought up a lot of good points, including the racial dimension of a person's experience with law enforcement.

I don't know if this is truly the case, but tend to think of the NYPD as an underpaid, taken-for-granted bunch, who might or might not be well-trained or even in good physical shape. Most of them just seem like regular everyday folk, but with guns.

At any rate, it seems like a shit job to me.


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tomwalker
tomwalker
tomwalker
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)

I've always had the opposite experience in New York. For the first 6 months I relied almost exclusively on police, crossing guards, door men and bus drivers to help me find things...to the point that there were door men in the Village I would make the trip down just to shoot the breeze with them and bus drivers I wanted to tip. And I've never seen a bus driver happier than when he was helping to strap wheelchairs in (completely disrupting the driver's daily routine by making him put the bus in park and get up and walk to the back...my girlfriend relies exclusively on buses because only a few subways are wheelchair accessible and even if they are accessible there's a good chance the elevators will be "out of order" when you arrive, which is completely ridiculous in 2009 -- you should do an entry on accessibility in various subways throughout the world).

I didn't move to New York until well after 9/11.


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spoombung
spoombung
spoombung
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)



Great pic, by the way. He looks like he's ready to shoot.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I spotted him in Boston in October 2007. I'll be in Boston again tomorrow, so I'll look out for him!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(Anonymous)
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)

While I go along with the post, that bus encounter could've happened in other places -London for sure, Berlin too. I've had quite a few situations here in Berlin (and more than London) where people (not uniformed, mind) have obviously enjoyed being vocally annoyed about something I'm doing 'wrong' -like crossing when the walk sign (despite there being no traffic) is red for example, or riding my bike over a pedestrian crossing. The whole 'korrekt'-ness thing can be pretty tiring here.

The signs and lists of what you should and shouldn't do is something I really notice when going back to London, it's pretty extreme there, though I don't know New York so can't really compare the two. My German is okay but not amazing, so I don't know here, but it doesn't seem as extreme. I think you're assumed to be mature (for want of a better word), wheras in the UK the nanny state treats people like kids who then act accordingly. But then again the nannies are pretty childish themselves, as the last week has further revealed.




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mjb
mjb
mjb
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)

My gf sometimes regales me with stories of how when she was an exchange student in small-town Germany, she was routinely verbally abused by strangers on the street for such things as jaywalking or other examples of extremely mild disorder. It was usually middle-aged women doing the scolding.

As I see it, in America people aren't as directly confrontational as that, usually, at least not since before the cultural & generational shifts of the late '60s/early '70s. Such a flustered individual would likely instead just quietly (essentially anonymously) lobby her city council or neighborhood association to make rules and put up a bunch of signs. In my experience the only people who are likely to "bark" to your face are the ones with uniforms. We expect them to, just as they expect us to make our own decision about whether to heed or ignore them. Everyone's marking their territory and planting their flag, at all times, in one way or another.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
dannymass
dannymass
dannymass
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)

You know, there were a lot of similar things in Soviet Union during my childhood and now it's closer to the situation in Germany you've described above.

Very interesting essay, thank you very much for that.


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milky_eyes
milky_eyes
milky_eyes
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
the sum of it all

"just as they expect us to make our own decision about whether to heed or ignore them. Everyone's marking their territory and planting their flag, at all times, in one way or another."

your post sums it all up I feel.
And I wasnt too impressed with momus post, although it was a good conversation started. And maybe that makes it a good post. But anyways. I think ny can be a very push harsh place, and generaly can make one feel a bit negative about everything. But if one can 'get in the swing of things' a bit,,,, get a bit thicker skin so to speak, everything seems fine. At least thats my experience.
As far as cops go here (ny and US in general)...
ny cops seem like assholes... basically. Its a crap job for sure, so I try to give them a bit of credit, but all in all it's best to avoid them/give them whatever they think they need. And cops in US in general??? not much better. I grew up in Milwaukee, and Chicago... both places they were awful racist tyrants.... so, hmmm I try to be openminded about them, but momus defintely has reason to question whats going on in America a far as the cops go...


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fishmonkeytrip
fishmonkeytrip
fishmonkeytrip
Mon, May. 18th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)

Americans were not sent to a penal colony, like Australians. The different in character therefore between the two is often apparent to me, and other Australians, when we compare the two histories. To me, all that you speak about here is a kind of adolescence. Here, in Australia, anti authoritarianism is the schiz. It's not a fashion it is a snapping, biting hurting wound from being dumped, like garbage. Not so the American - he formed with those teen goggles that daddy bought and paid for before he was sent off to 'college'. Cops here are all after Ned Kelly, because there are just so bloody many! Americans are adolescents who lived in a two parent family with three meals a day and don't really have to fend for themselves - that's why their welfare sucks, they don't get it...in their psyche. And, what was with that hippy stage? Talk about extreme mood swings.


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milky_eyes
milky_eyes
milky_eyes
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
er...

I dont get the 2 parent/3 meals part...

I'm not sure if thats true... in my little american view (I was born and raised here) 2 parents/3 meals was non existent for me, and for most of my generation....
but I think I get your point. And I'm not sure if your conclusion is correct about why our welfare sucks.
You said 'we' dont get it (as in, I assume who ever is 'in charge') I would disagree.
They do get it... and they want it to be that way. Its been that way since the begining...
america is the land of the free: if you can afford it.
where anyone can make their dreams come true. again, if you can afford it.
its a very very small elite, with a small middle class and a huge poor population, with the assumption that immigrants will continue to come here to take the brunt of the work... with almost no welfare.
Thats the way its always been.
And "they'" DO get it. Thats sort of the whole point of america.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)

'The German ones sit in cars looking bored. Occasionally you'll see them en masse confronting a squat house, but mostly the German preoccupation with not appearing Nazi or STASI-like stops them from appearing in any way fascist. That's all behind us now -- the tyranny of uniformed authority, and that arrogant, barking tone it presumes to adopt towards citizens.'

unless you look muslim and live in hamburg

Edited at 2009-05-19 05:04 am (UTC)


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docscarabus
docscarabus
docscarabus
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)

Perhaps our cops are more bossy because they have the unpleasant task of regulating a people "given to maverick ways"? The Germans and the Japanese are legendary for their conformity.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)

That's exactly what I say in my last paragraph! Great minds think alike!


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Land of the fear - (Anonymous) Expand


dhesan
dhesan
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
payday loans

Not all policemen are abusing their power of authority. Some still performs their profession diligently and responsibly. Nowadays, the Christians are targeting payday loans, and a lot of the detractors of payday loans are Christian politicians. Both Christians and Non-Christians want the payday loans gone. It seems that a fair cross section of the conservative religious lobby wants to do away with the freedom of choice and institute a paternalistic government. There is a growing grassroots movement to that effect, that want the church in charge of everything, and equally vociferous opposition to that idea. So many people change religions and religious viewpoints during their lifetimes, which is why it seems odd to let dogma be the standard critique of debt relief through payday loans. Well in my own opinion. Payday loans are made available only for those who needs it, especially when it come to financial crisis.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 10:01 am (UTC)
internalized consideration

People in Germany or Japan have, by and large, internalised consideration for their fellow citizens because they're more collective-minded, more socially-oriented.

i almost choked when i read this! as a german person who was born and raised in the states, but has lived in germany (for a few years in berlin, even) for about 5 years now, i am in a unique position to both blend in and observe with an outsider's view . these people do not have internalized consideration. they are obsessed with rules and delight in discovering rule-breakers. at the very least they feel a strong sense of duty in making others aware of their mistake (and i often feel they are expecting at least a bit of gratitude for their effort). and the police don't need to be fascist because the average german already is. i was once told that it was people like me (people who cross the street when the light is red) who contribute to the decline of civilization...by an old lady i had never met before; a perfect stranger! and a bus driver once stopped his bus to tell me that i had not paid to go further than "zone A", and that being new to the city's public transportation was no excuse for me to not check out the rules before hand.
and i often have to explain my "consideration" and general helpfulness to astounded germans by telling them i am not german. otherwise they are just confused. "internalized consideration" is not characterized by a general suspicion of solidarity or help. this has been my experience in both berlin and the much less cosmopolitan german city i live in now.
a turkish lady i know recently commented to me that her neighbor was nice, even though she was german. sadly, that's how i most often feel about germans, myself.
and i know it's been said, already, but seriously, berlin is not germany and new york is not america.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re: internalized consideration

"berlin is not germany and new york is not america."

True. But New York is some ways the most liberal and "European" place in America and yet it measures very poorly up against Berlin. If we are comparing the two most liberal places of each country then we should be getting a fair comparison. We could also compare Chicago and Stuttgart if you want...


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(Anonymous)
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
sign in JP and some NYC

i took some photos of street signs in a town near kyoto http://www.flickr.com/photos/perke/tags/sign/ after tagging them i realized that i had already tagged some similar but so very different signs in ny. you can tell which signs were taken in JP easily, thanks to the writing system, but more to the subject and how visually it's expressed.


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)

Oddly enough, no one is thinking about things from the policeman's point of view. The hallmark of liberalism is to arrive at a group consensus, then viciously destroy all opposing arguments with terms like "fascist","racist", "power hungry" and so on. In the interest of balance, I offer what the average policeman might have to deal with, especially in cities like New York.

You might go out of your nice apartment, interact with several or many people and go home. However, you're not likely to go to the worst parts of a town and deliberately try to stop bad people from doing bad things to other people. You're not likely to see the victim of a homicide with fresh and lethal wounds still dripping gore. You're not likely to have to subdue an enraged wife beater and then listen to her sobs as you try to get her to the hospital and get a statement from her. You're not likely to be called all over the city on prank calls. You're not likely to be stuck with patrolling a section of town that may or may not be violent. You're not likely to be faced with a gang of youths that sell powdered death in little baggies from the corner and are willing to murder you over it. You're not likely to have to protect thousands of people from the worst that humanity can do and still have to take time off from that to sit in court just to keep people you caught from walking free. You're not likely to be considered "on duty" 24/7; if you see a crime being committed and it's Sunday at 3am, you're not likely to be duty bound to intervene, possibly at the cost of your own life.

You're not likely to be paid less than most rich people pay their housekeepers.

And so you're not likely to put up with all that shit day after day and get changed mentally because of it. You're not likely to have to build walls and mental defenses to deal with it. You're not likely to adopt a gruff and authoritarian exterior and a condescending attitude to the cookie cutter idiots who all think they're being original by saying "fuck the police" and purposely ignoring your attempt to bring some order into things. You're not likely to have your temper and patience tested 100 times a day by people who think that you are nothing but a power-mad dictator trying to harsh their mellow. You're not likely to be met with hostility just because of the uniform you are made to wear for your job.



I am not excusing police officials who are out of line, but I am saying that we sometimes need to realize that humans who are put through difficult situations are often changed by them. In this case, it's not so much the policemen who are evil but that the criminals themselves and their criminal behavior and horrible things that they do CAUSE a lot of officers to develop defenses and shields to keep their own sanity intact or hide wounds they suffer.

Treat a cop like a combat vet and you might get a better response out of them. Treating them with respect is just a quick, easy way to say, "I am not going to be trouble and take 3 hours of your time to process at the station."


Note that anecdotal evidence may be at odds with this, but just a little contemplation about WHY someone acts like they do can provide much in the way of determining how to act around them.


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
oops, typo

This:

"You're not likely to have to subdue an enraged wife beater and then listen to her sobs as you try to get her to the hospital and get a statement from her."

Should read:

You're not likely to have to subdue an enraged wife beater and then listen to the woman's sobs as you try to get her to the hospital and get a statement from her.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, May. 19th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)

David Bayley did this great comparative study of policing in Japan and the United States; you might like it, and it does confirm some of the premises of your post.
http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/2612.php


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Wed, May. 20th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)

"In sharp contrast to the United States, Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and practically no police brutality or corruption."

KYAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!

He's obviously never been on the wrong side of the Japanese police nor does he know ANYTHING about the Yakuza. It's not like the cops he shadowed were going to do anything wrong while he was watching them. Hmmm...1991, this book seems more like an attempt to prop up Japan Inc's then-sagging fortunes.


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