As seen here.

Someone has probably sent you videos of the Occupy Wall Street protests this week in New York. This clip is popular, 40 seconds that ostensibly shows two women being pepper-sprayed for no apparent reason, although I’ve run it a few times and can’t find the moment of truth. Besides, I’m sure someone has it from another angle. Every other person there was carrying a camera.

We live in a world more photographed every day, and still, we miss stuff all the time. All the cameras in New York City, and only one captured the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. Probably hundreds were trained on the buildings when the second plane hit, and yet, conspiracy theorists continue to insist we don’t really know what happened. Did anyone ever see the plane that hit the Pentagon? The command center of the vast American military, and all I recall was a grainy security-camera image of a blur and a fireball. No wonder the truthers were able to beat that dead horse for a decade.

I knew a photographer in college who was summoned to testify about some photos of alleged police brutality he’d taken at a demonstration. As he remembered the experience, the cross-examination was short. How many frames can your camera shoot? Five per second with a motor drive. How many frames on a roll of film? Thirty-six. How many frames does a film camera capture? Twenty-four per second. Thank you, that is all.

A plane crash-lands in the Hudson River, in a city packed with tourists and cameras, and one building’s security cam gets a clear shot, and only a glimpse between buildings. Today’s cell phones can capture video in high-definition. I can have mine out and ready to roll in a matter of seconds, and I don’t think I’ve ever shot anything worth shooting.

And yet, does a day go by when someone isn’t embarrassed or done in by a single photo? Scarlett Johansson can’t resist snapping a private shot of her fine fanny, and soon it’s out there and nearly crashes the internet. Two Detroit cops are on the hot seat for photos taken outside a traveling strip club/party bus called the Booty Lounge. I don’t even see where they did anything wrong; the picture could have been a photobomb for all I can tell. But it was on the club’s Facebook page, and so it must be atoned for.

Last night NPR had a piece on the crackdown on anonymous internet commenters; more newspapers are making a connection with Facebook or some other real-name network, and now comments on stories must be made under one’s actual name. Part of me applauds this — a self-respecting sewer rat wouldn’t hang in most newspaper comment section — while the rest wonders what this will mean in a world where we’re supposedly accountable for every utterance, online or off, along with every embarrassing photo ever taken of us, ever.

My guess is, soon it won’t matter. Or maybe we’ll all simply change our names.

The final day of my hell week, and pals, I can’t wait for it to end. Happy Thursday.

Posted at 9:54 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

31 responses to “As seen here.”

  1. Suzanne said on September 29, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Personally, I love the comments section of online newspapers. Granted, there are some real whack-jobs out there, but I love to read what people think about the story. I have, on occasion, posted comments on blogs (like this) and it is always enlightening to read people’s reactions. Once, I was angrily accused of being a liberal “plant” which I found hysterical since up until the past few years, I was a card carrying trickle down economic theory conservative (that changed a lot with some unemployment and the realization that nothing is trickling down, or dribbling down, or even occasionally dripping down any longer). I suppose if people had to use their real names, it would put a damper on things and I’m not sure I’d like that.

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  2. moe99 said on September 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I dunno. Seattle is where Amanda Knox is from and the comments in the media stories have been completely over the top. I would be glad to see that sort of ad hominem sexist crap stop.

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  3. Bitter Scribe said on September 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Comments are a mixed bag, but in general, I like them. Sometimes they shock, though. When Rachel Barton Pine, the violinist whose leg was severed in a train accident, sued the transit agency that ran the train, I was astonished at the viciousness of the attacks against her.

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  4. brian stouder said on September 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Lawrence O’Donnell, who I like, has been in high dudgeon over these videos from the riot (or whatever) for the past several days.

    He does high dudgeon quite well; whereas Olbermann came across like the dog that whines and barks vociferously at everything, O’Donnell seems to hit the right tone at the appropriate time (which is to say, NOT every day, nor necessarily every week).

    O’Donnell tends to offer enlightening commentary on the way things work, especially including these videos from the Wall Street protest. We watch a video, and it looks like a jumble in real-time; and a freeze-frame shows a guy who has professional-looking photographic equipment getting his head slammed into a Volvo. In another – a jumble of people move about, and then one young woman begins screaming and waling in agony, as people move toward her. In slow motion, we see a white-shirted officer dart forward from the crowd in the background, and all in one motion spray her in the face and drop back into the crowd, and move away. The woman was doing nothing – or at least nothing that he could have seen before he rolled forward and sprayed her.

    O’Donnell has been quite good at letting the pictures tell the story, and then engaging in plain talk about cops and cop-bureaucracy (let alone big-city cops and their bosses)

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  5. brian stouder said on September 29, 2011 at 11:51 am


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  6. Linda said on September 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Suzanne, it’s interesting to hear what people think. It’s just that there’s a sort of Gresham’s law of online threads, where people with bitter little hobbyhorses and no life can outcomment anybody, and end up dominating the thread, and driving everybody else out. I guess losers have to have someplace to dominate, and something to do with their time. As Nance said a couple of days ago, there are parts of the internet that you don’t want to go, but it keeps them off the non-virtual streets.

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  7. Connie said on September 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    As one of those public officials who occasionally got trashed in those public comments I rarely read them anymore. As for internet comments, in general I find them sexist and nasty. If you followed the recent “Elevatorgate” in the atheist blog world you would have seen some perfect examples.

    I read Michael Moore’s memoir “Here Comes Trouble”, the other day and he’s been just like that since he was a kid. I loved his story about winning the Elk’s Club speech prize at Boy’s State with a speech about Elk’s club’s racial discrimination.

    Dorothy, it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow, doesn’t that mean that yours is coming right up? I have this vague memory of our birthdays and anniversaries being close together. And no I am not giving you a link to my cheesy grin wedding picture again, once is enough.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    My years as a police reporter gave me a lot of insight into the world coppers inhabit and no small amount of sympathy for the often thankless tasks they perform. But my sense is things are getting worse vis-a-vis police interactions with the public.

    I cannot count how many uploaded videos there are of cops using a Taser on a suspect who is already prone and screaming, often while other officers are using their nightsticks to pound on the guy. There have been stories in most cities about coppers hassling citizens who are photographing or videotaping them during an arrest, sometimes smashing the cameras or cellphones, or snatching the memory card.

    And then there are the truly ghastly videos, like the burly Chicago cop who assaulted a 100-pound bartender when she refused to serve him because he was already drunk. The brute kicking and stomping the Polish immigrant bartender became an international YouTube sensation, but his fellow officers did everything they could to protect him, including several visiting the bar and threatening all manner of hassles if charges proceeded. They used their squad cars to block access when journalists tried to film the big bastard being escorted to a car. We’ve also seen video of a cop beating a guy in a wheelchair!

    Pepper spray is nothing to monkey with and the prick NYPD lieutenant who did it, then casually strolled away, ought to be brought up on charges yesterday. Instead, the cops are defending his use of the spray as “appropriate.” Apparently, this same lieutenant also figured in roughing up protesters during the 2004 RNC in NYC.

    With all the ways average citizens have of capturing a moment on their cellphones, I’m beginning to wonder if we have always had a large number of police officers who enjoy abusing other folks, but we didn’t know it because it was never documented. And so now the boys in blue have one more thing to worry about. . .the bystander with a cellphone camera. . .and they really don’t like it.

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  9. coozledad said on September 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Pepper spraying a bunch of old racist farts with guns would have made a bit more sense, but they were working unofficially for the banks, and they had quite a bit of love from the press.
    Here’s a video analysis, including slo-mo of creepy cop at work. It’s a kind of hobby for the boy. The regular street cops are flabbergasted. He’s already in a heap of shit for misbehavior during the Republican convention:

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    IMHO, police training on how to deal with uncooperative subjects has not kept pace with society’s general loss of automatic respect for authority. Most cops, including young ones, escalate too quickly, mainly because they’re taught too narrow a template for what defiance looks like.

    On the same hand, principals are far too quick to label any sort of disruptive behavior as repeated offenses, and let bad attitude morph into grounds for expulsion . . . because the system is entirely in sympathy with that approach. Rough kids from ragged households with minimal experience in impulse control have no slack in the rope, and are made to walk the plank (into our arms) far too quickly . . . and all our former vocational programs, heavy on the tangible and the physical, are themselves being turned into college prep for tech degrees.

    It’s learn compliance and co-operativeness quickly, or get shunted into worse-than-useless digital programs or some other treadmill to 18. For 10+% of our kids, middle & high school are just one long Kobayashi Maru scenario.

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  11. nancy said on September 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Deftly put, Jeff.

    My old paper runs guest columns by a “school security officer” who advocates the tight-leash-and-spiked-choke-chain approach, and I’m always amazed by how little room for nuance he allows. A woman in the Fort worked very hard to set up a safe-ride program for high-school kids who find themselves in bad situations, either by going along with a crowd that arrives at a sketchy party, or by overserving themselves. The idea was, they could dial a number at any time of the day or night and get a no-questions-asked lift home, similar to those free-taxi deals lots of cities offer around the holiday-party season.

    I wrote about this, and called him for a reaction. He was stunningly hateful about the very idea, saying it would only encourage more of this behavior, etc.

    How do people get that way? Who fucked with their heads?

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  12. moe99 said on September 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    OT: Pets eat the darndest things:

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  13. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Some of those xrays are far too graphic for someone who just finished lunch, but really, a duck owner paid for surgery not once, but twice. For a duck?!

    Moe, you have a kindle, right–is your library now circulating ebooks for your format? Ours just started. I’ll be watching the kindle fire to see how it does. As someone who avoids itunes for music, it’ll be tempting.

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on September 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Linda @ #6: Boy howdy. The comments section of the blog of Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, which Nancy links to occasionally, is almost unreadable now because a hard core of wingnuts and “libertarians” has taken it over, making post after post after post and never conceding the last word to anybody.

    Sometime when I have several days on my hands, I’m going to engage one of these guys (they’re all guys, with one exception) and refuse to let any of his posts go unanswered. I bet this will go on indefinitely, or until Zorn pulls the plug.

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  15. Connie said on September 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Every library in the country that buys Overdrive’s ebook download program came up with Kindle format availability last week, not just your library, Julie. Interesting that ebooks we already purchased in epub format are now also available in kindle format without us having to purchase them again. But your library download for the kindle somehow still cycles through Amazon.

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Nancy, I’ve literally, as in verbatim-ly, had such personages snarl “no one intervened when my daddy was laying into me with the buckle end of a belt, and he may have been drinking, but I was no angel and had it coming” with the unsaid implication “and I turned out just fine, got a job where I wear a tie and don’t have to shovel anything but paper, so don’t tell me my daddy raised me wrong you limp-wristed social working twit.”

    The latter is fabulation, but the former is verbatim, and I could recount a number of those with only slight variations in word selection. That’s where they come from, and this is where prayer & mindfulness meditation come in very handy (for me).

    “OK, but this isn’t working, and the kid isn’t going to be placed in lockup at age 14, and certainly not for this, when we have full of collie-molesters and repeat B&E juveniles. So what’s Plan B, chief?”

    And sometimes, if you let them vent about non-present parents who always manage to just evade both their own indictments and CS visits, they actually can come up with pretty creative solutions. But their first idea is always rather appalling – the trick is not letting that rattle you, and moving past it with them. They usually do actually care about the kid and his/her future.

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  17. Dorothy said on September 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Boy when you guys start talking about ebook download programs and Kindles (even though I know what they are) I’m rather dazzled. I’m anti-Kindle but I figure eventually I will have to cave. But in the meantime I am happily Kindle-less. However I do love my little Droid phone. My husband just got his two nights ago and he’s delighting the younger guys in his department asking for lots of help with downloads, advice, etc. They think he’s such an old fart (54) but he holds his own. No one can beat him in sarcastic comments and barbs that are dead-on to the recipients’ personality!

    Connie you’re right, my anniversary is October 27th. Number 32 this year. Instead of linking to a picture of me in my wedding dress, I’ll share this one, which was taken in 1996. My daughter was able to fit into my dress when she was 13 years old.

    I don’t think anyone in my family will ever wear it – I was a little too thin back in 1979 when I wore it. I’m keeping it, though!

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  18. Connie said on September 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I have a slightly used Kobo reader I’ll sell you cheap Dorothy. I love ebooks on my ipad. Having never been an Apple person I continue to be amazed to have an ipad. So far mostly used for surfing the web when I should be listening to the speaker. Thank you for your free wireless.

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  19. Sherri said on September 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I checked out a Kindle formatted ebook from my library the first day it was available (when it was in beta test at the King County Library and Seattle Public Library), and it was a pretty easy process. You need a library card and an Amazon account, but you don’t need a Kindle per se; everything works fine with the Kindle reading apps available for various other devices. When you finish the process at Amazon, you will see suggestions for other books you could buy, and some people were a bit annoyed by that, but, hey, no free lunch.

    Any comment section anywhere, if it attracts a sufficiently large enough crowd (or just the wrong crowd), will become a cesspool if not moderated to some degree. That’s been true since the beginning of on-line communities, long before the Internet. Requiring real names, for some value of “real”, won’t really change that fact. Someone who’s been around a long time, moderated many on-line communities, and thought a lot about this stuff, Teresa Nielsen Hayden says, “Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.”

    Personally, I refuse to use Facebook, because I trust them even less than all the other tech companies.

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  20. caliban said on September 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Greedy Oleaginous Polluters. Them GOPers at it again..

    Bank of America is going to impose a $5/month fee for debit card usage. We were stuck with Wachovia when it devoured First Union, and they’ve now been consumed by Wells Fargo. If they try some dickheadshit like this, to go with their1.5% on my money market account, I will find the smallest local bank around and vote with my feet. The bastards are claiming that burdensome regulation is cutting into their profits and their customers should bear the cost. This should be flat illegal, as the bank is changing an existing contract unilaterally.

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  21. Dexter said on September 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

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  22. Linda said on September 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Re: the debit card charge. Banks are a trip. They are bitter that they can no longer charge for a bunch of crap and make risk-free money. Their sense of entitlement is incredible. It’s as if you and I got offended because we had to WORK to get a paycheck, rather than just stand around. Let them loan out money to small businesses, like they used to, and earn their money. In the meantime, I have just 2 words: credit union. They need to get a major comeuppance for pissing off their customers.

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  23. Deborah said on September 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Dorothy, a truly beautiful wedding dress.

    Little Bird and I are in Des Moines right now. She drove out with me, I’m here for the World Food Prize project that I’ve mentioned here a few times. I’ve been working on it for 5 years and it’s all coming to a head. It is gorgeous if I do say so myself. Little Bird was hanging out in the hotel lobby online and saw some guy she half recognized nearby but couldn’t quite place so she googled “republican politicians” and sure enough it was Newt. She said one of his aids came over and borrowed a chair from the table where she was sitting. I saw him here the last time I stayed at this same hotel

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  24. Dexter said on September 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I heard a great interview today with Nick Mason being interviewed by Ron Bennington. Mason is the drummer who was with Pink Floyd all those years. Really great stuff, and just yesterday Lindsey Buckingham was in studio, playing a few tunes from his new CD and being interviewed. You will recall he was the guitarist with Fleetwood Mac, and still is when they come together for a reunion. These interviews are great insight into the origins and progression through the years of these great bands. Bennington is some kind of genius interviewer, too. Whoa.
    Now this link has some nudity and about a million f-words in all manner of usage, but I kept hearing about it so I looked it up and here it is.
    I like Insane Clown Posse from a distance and I realize a lot of people don’t understand or like them at all. What’s fascinating is this sense of family they exhibit…it’s amazing.
    My granddaughter who was living in Las Vegas until recently has gotten into fights at school when she said she wasn’t “Down With The Clown”, but I’ll never know the whole story.
    He dad told me ICP were devil worshipers , but it’s more than that too.
    Now, the nudity is barely legal and the cussin’ is intense, but if you want to broaden your horizons, give it a watchin’.

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  25. moe99 said on September 30, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Dexter, this has been done before with less cursing but probably the same amount of family, nudity, and drugs. I refer you to the Grateful Dead:

    Just back from a weekend in Eugene, OR where we saw two concerts of Furthur, a band named after Ken Kesey’s bus and composed to two Dead alumni: Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. It was great.

    Insane Clown Posse is too hard edged for me. And I hope my kids.

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  26. coozledad said on September 30, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Pre-orgasmic pistol fluffer Glenn Reynolds demonstrates why he should be kicked in the junk repeatedly every time he leaves home:
    It really is all about the misogyny with these people.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 30, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Aaaaand . . . there’s a Detroit connection, a nicely weird Detroit connection, in this story:

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  28. alex said on September 30, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Watched a fair part of the Juggalos clip and they didn’t strike me as much different than the disaffected youth of any other generation. The tired old hijinks—from religious blasphemy and satanic ritual to Marilyn Manson’s odd themes of gender-bending and criminal insanity—simply don’t shock anymore. So they’ve discovered clown makeup, which as Nance has been saying for years, is a whole lot more creepy and menacing.

    And, like it or not, the nonchalant use of the f-bomb is probably here to stay, at least until a future generation finds an even filthier word to incorporate into every utterance.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Like fracking?

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  30. coozledad said on September 30, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Das Brucestersinger von Pringles is thinking about running. Who coulda knowed?

    In the day I sweat like rancid pork
    on an exercise machine.
    At night in the Governor’s mansion I tunnel through mountains of Bavarian Cream.
    Sprung from a waistband of 59
    Prime rib, jus injected
    and glasses of sweet, sweet German wine
    Piggy, gonna rip those bones from your back
    Eat the whole rack, from the Q-shack
    They are so tender when they’re young
    And Roger Ailes says
    “Baby, you were born to run.”
    Wendy’s let me in, I know it’s 6AM
    I wanna guard your salad bar
    Wrap my lips round those velvet shakes
    and strap those biggie fries on in the car…

    I know, I know. Fat jokes.

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  31. caliban said on September 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Linda, The banks are peeved at having been caught rearranging banking records of customers to create obscenely high overdraft fees, two or three at a time, which I’m pretty sure should have brought criminal charges.

    Juggalos hackey-sacking? Seems bizarre. ICP was brought to national prominence by becoming a Bill O’Reilly obsession. I think I spotted Chris Christie made up like Emmet Kelley:

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