About Face

By | Tuesday, June 02, 2020 2 comments
I'm still not really in a good headspace to be writing about comics, but there was a snippet of news I caught over the weekend that Nate Powell was kind enough to remind me that he had created a fairly detailed analysis about it a year earlier.

Cincinnati police raising racist flag
The incident was that, over the weekend, Cincinnati police raised a thin blue line flag at the justice center downtown. It's significant for a couple reasons. First, the flag design was originally created in direct opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement; it's a racist symbol every bit as much ass the Confederate flag is. They're openly calling themselves a racist organization by flying it. Second, Powell pointed out... "A key signpost toward fascist control: replacing national symbols w/ parallel alternatives, as official military & law enforcement are supplanted by paramilitary alternatives. These are fascists."

About Face comic
He then linked to a webcomic he did last year called "About Face" which he describes: "This is about surface and style normalizing the language of force." It's a powerful and enlightening piece on some of the aesthetics that surround right-wing paramilitary group, including the Confederate and thin blue line flags, as well as the (almost always illegally appropriated) Punisher skull logo. Even if you've read the comic before, it's worth checking it out again.
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Matt K said...

This god damn fascists. I know that this incident is far less important than all the incidents of beating the shit out of real people. And it isn't like I'm hung up on the sanctity of the US flag. But this and the Columbus PD "trophy photo" (taken after they had "cleared the streets" of all non-cops) infuriate me.

I don't assume that it means anything but they are rapidly radicalizing at least some people who were previously more or less "can't we all just get along" on the issue of policing.

I started noticing after Eric Garner's death just how badly police handle the PR side of things. You'll recall Garner's last words were "I can't breathe" and how the police clearly didn't listen to him? The official NYPD response as people started complaining began, "We hear you."

I initially thought that was just a bit of tone-deafness on the part of the NYPD specifically. But every public incident since then, regardless of where it occurs, the police manage to make things worse in the aftermath. They'll blame the victim, they'll slander the family, they'll make bad jokes on social media, they do raise racist flags after a race-based murder... It's like they have a PR best practices playbook and do the exact opposite of whatever it says. All the time!

I've never been able to find this again to confirm I heard it correctly, but I recall hearing about a series of MRI tests that examined police officers' brains in order to compare them against a general population. What they found was that police brains differed from most people noticeably, except for one group. Schoolyard bullies. If I'm remembering this properly -- to be fair, it has been a while, but I found the results really striking so I'm pretty sure I have this right -- there was no perceptible difference in how a cop's brain scanned compared to a bully's.

And, while I'm ranting at this point, this cruel police behavior is MORE of a reason why I want to see ALL guns banned outright. Yes, mass shootings in theaters and malls and whatever are horrible, but the shootings that police routinely engage in are often just as bad, if not worse. Japanese police don't have guns. British police don't have guns. It's entirely possible to enforce the law without firearms. We have definitive examples with decades of proven field research. US police are among the least emotionally qualified to have guns, as we've seen time and time again. Ban them outright!