Thursday, December 08, 2005

I'm a bad, bad liberal

Maybe I'm really thick, but I don't get what all the fuss is about in San Francisco over its police department's homemade videos.

The five videos shown at Wednesday's press conference with Fong and Mayor Gavin Newsom depict officers, some in uniform, responding to a variety of mock calls. One video shows a homeless black woman railing against white people after apparently being hit by a patrol car, followed by an officer grumbling about having to deal with her. "They get us involved with their business,'' the officer said.

Another video depicts an officer ogling a woman he has stopped for a traffic violation. One shows two officers doing Tai Chi to vaguely Asian music. The two later head into a massage parlor and radio dispatchers try unsuccessfully to reach them -- the suggestion being the two are having sex with masseuses.

One video, with the theme to the old TV show "Charlie's Angels" as the soundtrack, shows various officers saying, "Oh, captain," and flicking their tongues suggestively. The captain involved, Bruce, flicks his tongue in apparent response -- although the officer who produced the videos said Bruce had not known what the shot was to be used for.

One of those depicted in that sequence is the same homeless woman who was earlier shown yelling about white people. Another is a police officer dressed as a transgender person.

In another video, a female officer is shown putting on lipstick in the middle of a mock drug raid.


I'm not offended. The bit about the lipstick-applying police officer is rude, but doesn't seem like something to be fired over. If you take a tai chi class at your gym, you're likely to be doing it to "vaguely Asian music." People do have sex with "masseuses." These jokes are not particularly funny and not particularly off-color. Even the "grumbling" about dealing with the angry homeless person seems within the bounds of acceptable behavior to me - it's hard to deal with angry people.

Unless a major part of the picture is missing here, I can't figure out why this is such a big deal. My best theory is that SF's mayor is trying to look tough on the police department (which apparently has presided over skyrocketing homicide rates) so he can come across as actually trying to make the police department work. Dumb jokes are not the reason for a rising rate of homicide - an incompetent police department is. This all strikes me as a red herring to keep the PC folk quiet. And, as a PC sorta person, that is what I find offensive.

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