FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Rockwell and Carroll in Ferguson

In the early morning hours of August 21, 2014, Capt. Ron Johnson, of the Missouri Highway State Patrol, dazzled the world in a press conference to commemorate the more peaceful atmosphere in Ferguson.  He began the press conference by reassuring us that calm was returning to the city, proven by the mere fact that there had been “only” six arrests and no police acquisitions of civilian owned hand guns –or Molotov cocktails–earlier.  He then went on to try to tuck us all safely into our beds by telling us the bedtime story about the friendly cop helping the children.  This is such an old trope, it is shocking that he’d think it would be at all appropriate as an appeasing public relations stunt in the middle of a National Guard occupation of a U.S. city.

To paraphrase Capt. Johnson (you can watch the press conference video on Livestream.com’s “I am Michael Brown” page), three of his highway patrolmen were driving by a Ferguson basketball court and noticed it had no net.  They immediately decided to do something about it, purchasing a net and basketball, and even taking time out of their precious days’ work suppressing protest to install the net. (There’s got to be a photo of this somewhere!) Before you know it, you are transported from Ferguson’s ground zero hyper-militarized surreal atmosphere to the reassuring soft-focus world of Norman Rockwell, where cops and soldiers are kids’ friends.  If you’re a little white kid, they buy you slices of pie and maybe a fountain drink at the local soda shop.

theslice

If you are a little black kid, they graciously and voluntarily escort you into the first integrated school in the South (one of Rockwell’s most iconic paintings)…  By no means do they harass and profile you, stalk you, kidnap you under false charges and throw you into jail, shoot you, murder you, execute you with two bullets to the head and four to the rest of your body.  No.  You started all the problems, while cops and National Guard troops have been simply looking to do playground improvement projects. What do you think is in those desert state trooper tanks?  It’s basketballs!

It gets better.  Amid national debate about alternatives to a militarized police state–trust me, demilitarization of police will be the new bipartisan bandwagon to parallel decarceration of prisons– Capt. Johnson figured if he was going to go ahead and try Norman Rockwell, he might as well go for broke.  He offered the basketball net as an example of what “community policing” is all about.  And we thought it was another bedtime story hoax to lull people into submission and accept mass arrest and wanton murders by police!  We’ve seen threats to journalists to shut off cameras–at gunpoint. We’ve seen threats to protesters to “keep walking or else”–also at gunpoint.  Johnson really set the record straight. Ferguson’s new (eventually demilitarized?) community policing program will be about basketball, and they might throw some apple pie in too, if everyone cooperates.

On a side note, just as my previous CounterPunch piece affirms new phraseology for our times, this one does as well.  Most would say that Johnson’s press conference was “Orwellian”, but it goes further than that.  It’s “Carrollian”– as in Lewis Carroll’s “The Jabberwocky.”  It’s pure gibberish.

  “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Michelle Renee Matisons, Ph.D. can be reached at michrenee@gmail.com

More articles by:

Michelle Renee Matisons, Ph.D. can be reached at michrenee@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 20, 2019
Vijay Prashad
The Coup in Bolivia Has Everything to Do With the Screen You’re Using to Read This
Kenneth Surin
Labor and the UK General Election
Ron Jacobs
The Trumpists’ Attempts at Snark Define Their Day: Impeachment Day Three
George Ochenski
The Walls are Closing in on Donald Trump
Timothy M. Gill
Towards a Democratic Socialist Foreign Policy
Robert Hunziker
Neoliberalism Backfires
Thomas S. Harrington
Let’s Give Three Cheers for Those “Western Ears” 
Michelle Renee Matisons
Freedom, Valor, Love: On Snowden’s Permanent Record
James C. Nelson
How Trump is Warping the Federal Courts: the Case Against Lawrence VanDyke
Rev. William Alberts
Whistleblowing Religion
Chandra Muzaffar
The Coup That Ousted Morales
Mike Garrity
Trump Administration Ignores Court Order Stopping 85,000 Acre Payette Forest Logging and Burning Project, Conservation Groups Sue
Andrew Moss
Raising the Stakes in the Struggle Over Immigration Detention
Dean Baker
Making Andrew Yang Smarter
Lawrence Wittner
The People of the World
November 19, 2019
Ramzy Baroud
How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Getaway with Murder in Gaza
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds is Still Happening
Dave Lindorff
Student Protesters are Walking a Tightrope in Hong Kong
Richard Greeman
French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes
Dean Baker
Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue
Walden Bello
Is China an “Imperial Power” in the Image of the West?
Jim Britell
Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy
Sabri Öncü
Non-Financial Private Debt Overhang
John Steppling
Baby Shark Coup
Binoy Kampmark
Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
Colin Todhunter
Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter
James Graham
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate
Elliot Sperber
Scrutiny – From Scruta
November 18, 2019
Olivia Arigho-Stiles
Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Ashley Smith
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Macho Camacho: Jeffery R. Webber and Forrest Hylton on the Coup in Bolivia
Robert Fisk
Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen
Ron Jacobs
Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two
John Feffer
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump
Stephen Cooper
Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention
Bill Hatch
A New Silence
Gary Macfarlane
The Future of Wilderness Under Trump: Recreation or Wreckreation?
Laura Flanders
#SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk
Ralph Nader
The Most Impeachable President vs. The Most Hesitant Congress. What Are The Democrats Waiting For?
Robert Koehler
Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress
Walter Clemens
American Oblivion
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail