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Continuing my thoughts on the classic BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7, which ran from 1978-81.  This is the third essay on the series’ characters; the first appeared two weeks ago, and the second last week.

One of the things I love about British television is that even the minor characters, those who appear in only one or a handful of episodes, are often well-developed.  While even Star Trek, a US series with above-average characterization, tended to make the crewmen fated to die interchageable “redshirts”, British shows like Doctor Who and The Avengers were notable for making us really care about characters before ruthlessly disposing of them.  Blake’s 7 doesn’t usually go quite that far; in fact, it’s often rather uneven in the character department.  While some characters (such as Servalan and Avon) are incredibly well-developed, others are ignored so shamefully actors actually left the series over it.  There’s no pattern to it that I can discern; while even some computers have well-developed (if caricatured) personalities (such as the pompous and temperamental ORAC and the painfully-obsequious “Slave” in Season 4), even some of the main human characters are frustratingly underdeveloped.

The uneven treatment is as hard to predict as it is to get used to.  For example, just as we were beginning to see the depths of the original crew member Gan, the loyal but deeply-troubled strongman, he was killed off while saving the others from a collapsing tunnel.  The villain Travis, on the other hand, overstayed his welcome so badly my opinion of most of the episodes in which he appeared is considerably reduced because of his presence; the rather odd decision to replace his actor when the first one left the series, rather than just eliminating the character, only exacerbated his irksomeness.  The only thing I liked about him was that he and Blake knew each other so well they could predict each others’ actions, which made for an interesting arch-enemies dynamic; other than that he was less a villain one “loved to hate” like Servalan, and more one simply hated, full stop.

But despite these problems, Blake’s 7 still had its share of interesting guest characters, some notable for being well-developed and well-played, while others were memorable for other reasons.  Since most of the characters in the show (including the heroes) are villains to one degree or another, most of the guest stars naturally play villains.  The good ones were played by actors such as Brian Blessed and John Abineri, whose work I’ve previously noted and enjoyed in other shows, including Doctor Who; the others included none other than 6th Doctor Colin Baker, demonstrating his patented brand of scenery-chewing (now with more artificial ham flavor!) which once again made me wonder why anyone thought giving him a starring role in anything would be a good idea.  His performance (in the episode “City at the Edge of the World”) was thrown into even sharper relief by that of his primary adversary in the tale, played by none other than Valentine “Black Guardian” Dyall, in a rare non-villainous role (though he did do the voice of God in the hilarious Bedazzled from 1967).  Incidentally, that episode provides a segue into the next topic I wish to discuss, but you’ll have to wait two weeks this time; look for the next installment on March 4th.

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Continuing my thoughts on the classic BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7, which ran from 1978-81.  The first part was published two weeks ago today, and the second a week later.

If you read any of my Doctor Who megathread or its reprint on this blog, you already know that for me, characters are key in my enjoyment of a TV series.  If the characters are interesting and well-developed, I can overlook some fairly silly story elements and a lot of terrible special effects.  But if they aren’t, I will lose interest pretty quickly regardless of a show’s other virtues.  It’s one of the main reasons I esteem both Doctor Who and (classic & middle-period) Star Trek so highly: both are very character-driven.  And Blake’s 7 has well-developed characters, in spades.  This doesn’t mean I actually like all of them, but most of them are very interesting.  Take the title character, for example; I definitely do not like him because he’s arrogant, egotistical, pigheaded, and duplicitous.  There’s no way I’d follow Blake on a road trip to Disneyland, much less a serious of dangerous missions against insurmountable odds.  But unlike a lot of other shows which give us dislikeable characters and then pretend everyone likes them, this show fully admits Blake is a dick, and that people mostly follow him because he’s a symbol of resistance against their incredibly evil, oppressive government (and presumably, was a better leader, strategist, and person before the Federation subjected him to the brainwashing which we are clearly shown he has not fully overcome).  Even after he leaves the show at the end of the second season, Blake’s symbolic presence continues to be so strongly felt that it doesn’t even seem particularly odd that his name remains attached to both the show and the team, despite his being missing and presumed dead.

The character who trusts Blake least is Avon, a sour-faced tech wizard without any scruples against embezzling from the wealthy, who yet displays a rather strict personal code of ethics which includes honest statement of his motives, keeping promises, and even defending those menaced by bullies and tyrants.  He’s the character I enjoyed watching most, and would probably like best as a client, in part because of his wicked, arid sense of humor, which some may have noted is not entirely dissimilar to mine.  The complexity of Avon’s character rivals that of Servalan, so it’s not surprising that the two develop a powerful love/hate relationship in which neither allows his or her admiration and lust for the other to get in the way of their frequent attempts to kill each other.  After the loss of Blake, Avon at first seems reluctant to assume command of the team until eventually forced to by the arrival of Tarrant, a narcissistic hot-shot pilot who waltzes onto the ship and immediately starts ordering everyone else around.  Tarrant was clearly intended as a replacement for Blake, but I like him even less because, while Blake had the redeeming feature of at least being anti-authoritarian, Tarrant’s whole demeanor has the reek of cop about it.  If I were among the crew of the Liberator, I’d have moved into Avon’s camp by the end of the first adventure involving Tarrant, because at least Avon doesn’t assume everyone owes him obedience.

The only other original character to survive until the series finale is the cowardly master thief Vila, who never met a lock he couldn’t open.  Vila is refreshingly honest about his shortcomings; while most cowardly characters attempt to hide their yellow streak from others, Vila is the first to make the Goldsmithian argument that “He who fights and runs away/May live to fight another day”.  Not that it’s likely Vila ever read Goldsmith; while he’s clearly exceptionally intelligent, he’s certainly no intellectual.  But that doesn’t mean he’s a flat or static character; his descent over the course of the series from a man who perhaps likes his drink a bit too much, to an alcoholic whose drinking becomes an actual source of danger to his shipmates, is both subtle and gradual, and by the time we see him openly gulping down the booze onscreen, we realize it has been going on less obviously for more than a season.

Look for much more about the series’ characters, characterization and writing next week.

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Continuing my thoughts on the classic BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7, which ran from 1978-81.  The first part was published a week ago today.

One of the things I found most notable about the series was its treatment of women.  In the 1970s, there was a lot of talk about what was then still called “women’s lib”, and futuristic societies were generally depicted as more sexually egalitarian.  But while even Star Trek wasn’t ready to depict women in the highest positions of authority (such as starship command or supervillain status), and action chicks were generally superhuman in some way (eg, Wonder Woman or the Bionic Woman), Blake’s 7 casually depicted female characters kicking butt, working as ship captains or judges, and even holding high military posts.  While US shows of the period felt they had to shout and gesticulate about how emancipated their female characters were (Star Trek: The Next Generation is one prime example), Blake’s 7 just presented it as the way things were, with little if any explicit comment on the subject.  And while most US & UK shows still have a tendency to de-sex powerful female characters, Supreme Commander (later President) Servelan was both very powerful and very feminine, showing off a different fashionable outfit in every episode while implementing plans so evil and shockingly-indifferent to human life they would’ve impressed The Master or Darth Vader.  We’re told Servalan comes from a very powerful and connected family, and the implication seems to be that her sexuality played a major role in her ascension to the purple; Jacqueline Pearce portrayed her perfectly as a totally spoiled, amoral, narcissistic psychopath who has always gotten her way and intends to keep it that way.  I really enjoy watching the character; it’s rare that a TV show dares to depict a character so utterly and unrepentantly vile, greedy, treacherous, degenerate, and morally grotesque without making them into a complete caricature.  One episode in particular really displayed her in full; in the third-season episode Children of Auron she uses persuasion and threat to convince those in charge of a cloning facility on a distant and long-independent colony world to produce a batch of clones using her genetic blueprint, so that she will have an army of her own children.  After she is tricked into destroying the entire brood, she weeps for her lost children, because Servalan is so narcissistic she could only truly love herself, and clones are as close to that as she can get.  Thereafter, she only ever wears black, apparently in mourning.

Other female characters in the show tend to also be well-rounded, though there were a few episodes in the second season where the male writers seemed unsure of what to do with the two female crew members and so mostly left them babysitting the ship, a development which caused Sally Knyvette (Jenna) to leave the series at the end of that season.  The telepathic Cally stayed on for another season, but like Next Generation‘s Deana Troi most writers seemed to see her more as a plot device than a person.  Jenna’s replacement, the teenaged mistress-of-all-arms Dayna, is the best of the non-original characters, but Cally’s replacement Soolin never develops much beyond her description, “female gunslinger”.

Meanwhile, in the real world, two episodes (one each in seasons C and D) were written by Tanith Lee, a clever and creative writer who draws heavily on fairy-tale imagery and motifs and rarely disappoints; her second episode, “Sand”, is one of the best in the entire series and provides even more character development for Servalan, who admits to have actually loved another human once, at 18, before “power became my lover”.

Look for much more about the series’ characters, characterization and writing next week.

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Since we’ve finished Doctor Who for now (we’ll watch the most recent shows as they reach DVD), Grace and I turned to watching Blake’s 7, a gift from one of my regular readers who’s enjoyed the Whovian thread.  The set was only available in Region 2, but I have a multi-region player, so it’s all good.  I’ve known about the series since the ’80s, but for some reason I never managed to catch it on PBS.  One thing that struck me immediately was how groundbreaking the series was; it may be difficult for younger folks to believe, but in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s sci-fi series were very episodic.  There were ideas and themes that ran for entire series or seasons, but it was notable when an episode even made reference to the events of an earlier episode, much less continued a big, complex story.  Blake’s 7 changed that pattern; most of the stories were still just stories, but several per season were part of a larger pattern of development.  I don’t know if he’s ever said as much, but it appears pretty clear to me that J. Michael Straczynski was influenced by it in the creation and structure of Babylon 5, which started the same way and grew over 5 seasons to one long, deeply-interconnected saga, setting a new standard in US sci-fi TV.

One of the things I love about British sci-fi is its valuation of characters and storytelling over flashy special effects, and Blake’s 7 definitely has that (though its effects are actually better than those in Doctor Who of this time period).  It’s also fun for me to see so many faces and names I recognize from “Who” in this one; chief among those names is that of Terry Nation, most famous as the creator of the Daleks, who conceived of the show and wrote every episode of the first season (another Straczynski-like feature, though Babylon 5 did that in a later season, not the first).  I was happy to see that Nation’s writing had matured and improved considerably since the ’60s; this is the Nation who gave us “Genesis of the Daleks”, not the guy who phoned in so many earlier Dalek appearances, so the quality of the first season is consistently high.  Another familiar Who name is that of the script editor, Chris Boucher, who had given us Leela (and three excellent Who adventures featuring her) the year before signing on to Blake’s 7.  Boucher’s script editor during his time on Doctor Who was Robert Holmes, who reversed the relationship by penning a number of Blake stories for Boucher.  Holmes was a good fit here; as an idealistic young man he had become a cop, but once he found out the nasty truth about policing he turned to writing, and many of his tales involve noble or charming rascals, scoundrels, anti-heroes battling corrupt authoritarian governments.  But while The Doctor is a bit of a rascal and has no use for cops or permits, Blake’s 7 takes it up a couple of notches by giving us an often-abrasive hero dedicated to bringing down the entire evil Federation, even if it means a lot of people getting hurt in the process (the entire second season demonstrates that pretty clearly); his crew, all criminals themselves (including a smuggler, a cowardly thief, and an extremely arrogant embezzler); and a stolen spaceship (it’s technically only salvaged until the actual owners try to reclaim it).  One last thing for now: among the series’ innovations was the season cliffhanger.  Until then it was highly unusual for a TV series to bait viewers back for the following season by leaving the heroes facing certain death, as in the old movie serials; Blake’s 7 did it every season.  Though it’s now de rigeur for dramatic series to do this, that wasn’t so until the Nineties; even in the Eighties leaving the viewers hanging for more than one week (the typical gap in serials such as Doctor Who) was pretty rare on both UK and US television.

I have a great deal more to say, but it’s so much I’m going to divide it up over several weeks.

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We are done with your silly little games.  –  cop, to man he paralyzed

Sidney Poitier gave a lot of powerful performances in his long career, but this one has always been my personal favorite.  And since it has a song to go with it, here you are.  All the links above the video were provided by Cop Crisis except for the obit itself (from Phoenix Calida) and “billionaires” (from Nun Ya).

From the Archives

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More work spaces are needed in the Netherlands, not fewer.  –  The PIC

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Laws are for the peasantry, not the rulers:

…Oregon [politician]…Dave Hunt was cited by Portland police in a…[prostitution] sting…in April…Hunt was one of numerous sponsors of a bill [redefin]ing [sex work as] sex trafficking in 2007.  In 2011, he also voted for…a…bill creat[ing a new] crime of commercial sexual solicitation, the crime for which he was arrested…The Portland [cop shop] issued a [lot of confused oinking on] May 1, [apparently referr]ing [to ordinary advertising websites as “]known human trafficking websites…”

Guinea Pigs (#938) 

Don’t be fooled by talk of “human trafficking”, “pimps”, and “dangerous societal problems”; what they’re actually targeting are ordinary escort ads:

Researchers at McGill University and Carnegie Mellon University…have designed an algorithm that [they pretend] detects organized human trafficking activity in online escort advertisements…[the computer geeks fantasize about passive, vegetable-like] victims…[who] have no input into the wording used in the advertisements posted for them by their pimp, who [magic]ally controls over 4 to 6 victims, [pants] Reihaneh Rabbany [while making furtive movements in his pants]…this[, rather than the ordinary copycat marketing behavior which occurs in every industry,] leads to similar phrasing and duplication among listings which can be used to detect organized activity.  The proposed algorithm, called InfoShield, can put millions of advertisements together and highlight the common parts…[to] help [the pigs] identify [sex workers for harassment and arrest]…

Law of the Instrument (#954)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

…actress Esmé Bianco…was one of the many women, including actress Evan Rachel Wood, who spoke out against…shock rocker…Marilyn Manson…back in February…the…actress filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles federal court where she claimed [he] raped and sexually battered her…in or around May 2011…According to the lawsuit, [Manson] also…committ[ed] human trafficking when he “employed fraud” in bringing Bianco to the United States to appear in a music video for his song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” and a never-made horror film based on the works of Lewis Carroll called Phantasmagoria

Are rape and domestic violence no longer considered sufficiently serious crimes?

The Missing Word (#989)

And yet, that word is still nowhere to be found:

A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes [his victim] more than $500,000…Bobby Paul Edwards…is serving a [mere] 10-year prison sentence for [enslav]ing John Christopher Smith…[he] was originally ordered [by an asleep-at-the-wheel judge] to pay Smith [a mere] $273,000, which covered minimum wages and overtime compensation…Federal prosecutors appealed this decision, arguing that Smith should be owed more money because of the delay in receiving pay…an appeals court agreed, and ruled…Smith should be awarded…double the pay and overtime…

To Molest and Rape (#1022)

Your government calls this “border protection”:

Mesa [Arizona] police said they arrested a [typical and representative] Border Patrol agent…[as] a serial rapist who a[ttacked eight women]…from [July] 1999 through [October] 2001.  John Daly III…was…”the East Valley Rapist”…[in] cases…connected by similar suspect behavior and…DNA…[Daly’s victims were all] white women between 21 and 41 years old [whose homes he invaded] through open doors and windows…DNA [evidence has already] linked Daly to two of the [rapes]…

The Widening Gyre (#1102)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

A…[Karen] who went viral in December when she accused a Latino couple of attempting to kidnap her children at a local craft store has been charged with two counts of giving false information to police…Katie Sorensen…post[ed] two videos…to her Instagram account @motherhoodessentials…[in order to] gain…about 4.5 million views…Sadie and Eddie Martinez…were “very happy with the news” of charges filed against Sorensen…

Dutch Threat (#1110)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

A sex show, bars, 100 small rooms…5,000 square metres of space [plus hovering bureacrats] will [be part of] Amsterdam’s new erotic centre…[to be built in one of] nine possible locations [on] the edge of…Amsterdam…It is part of a plan…to [Disnify] Amsterdam’s red light district by relocating sex work elsewhere.  Mayor Femke Halsema has also stressed that the erotic centre needs to “improve [surveillance] of sex workers” and do more to [infantilize and control them]…The complex will include space for services offering care, as well as…a…[cop] shop…

Lipstick on a Pig (#1127)

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

…[Gary Watsky] is now suing [Williamson] county [Texas] officials, including former Sheriff Robert Chody, over a SWAT team home invasion that was [staged for the TV] show…Live PD…Watsky’s son, Asher, [had] appeared in court just hours before the…raid…[bu]t Chody [had] “created a culture of indifference to the use of excessive force and disregard for civil liberties” and rewarded the bad behavior of his deputies with gift cards and appearances on the show…this policy…led to an “unlawful no-knock home invasion” that injured him and destroyed his property…”Chody set up a false narrative…that Asher was dangerous…to justify the SWAT team’s terror tactics”…sheriff’s officials [have admitted to] removing the [new] warrant from the system so no one would see it on the day of his court appearance…

I Spy (#1133)

The word for such “partnerships” to further tyranny is “fascism”:

The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to [spy on] Americans online, a…[fascist scheme] that would expand the government’s ability to gather intelligence but [violate Constitutional] …limit[s]…on…federal authorities…The [scheme]…would…allow the [DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA and other federal cop shops and spook houses] to circumvent those limits…by [warp]ing [them beyond recognition]…the Biden administration w[ants]…to…find…ways to…[utilize] the January 6 attack on the US Capitol [to expand its surveillance and other powers]…

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I’ll fucking kill you.  –  unnamed loose-cannon cop

Reason often produces amusing videos, but few are as funny as this one which demonstrates that libertarians, unlike most political groupings these days, have not entirely lost the ability to laugh at themelves.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, President Dawg, Franklin Harris, Furrygirl, and Cop Crisis again (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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I can’t breathe.  –  Rilee Peet

Mary Wilson of the Supremes died last week; I’ve selected this TV video from 1969 because it begins with a solo by her.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, Elizabeth N. Brown, Nun Ya, Mike Siegel, and Jesse Walker, in that order.

From the Archives

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You’re acting like a child.  –  unnamed cop to 9-year-old

So I’ve been doing a “video of the day” thing on Twitter, and realized I’ve never featured my favorite Ozzy song, so here it is.  Would it help if I told you I used to strip to this?  The links above it were provided by Emma Evans; Cop Crisis; Stephen Lemons; Mama Tush and Franklin Harris; Cop Crisis again; and Jesse Walker, in that order.

From the Archives

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Hairdressers…would hardly consider their work to be “decriminalized” if it were legal to sell a haircut but not to buy one.  –  Michael Ellsberg

Under Duress 

Are most cops even capable of telling the truth?

Most Americans don’t know this, but [cops]…are permitted by law to outright lie…to suspects…in pursuit of a confession.  Of all forms of subterfuge they deploy — like feigning sympathy and suggesting that a suspect’s confession might bring leniency — this one is particularly dangerous.  In Frazier v. Cupp (1969), the Supreme Court made it lawful for the police to [lie about] evidence.  “The victim’s blood was found on your pillow,” “You failed the polygraph,” “Your fingerprints were on the knife” and “Your friend said she wasn’t with you like you said” are some common but brazen lies told.  There is…no limit to the type or magnitude of deception permitted — one lie or many; small lies and whoppers; lies aimed at adults or anxious and unwary teenagers…the history of wrongful convictions points to countless innocent people induced to confess to crimes they did not commit.  A bill…in New York…would finally put a stop to [permission for] this in the state.  [Cops would of course still lie constantly, but they would no longer have actual permission to do so]…and…courts [would be required] to evaluate the reliability of confession evidence before allowing it to be used…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

This histrionic has-been has made a rotting moral panic her whole career:

Mira Sorvino is developing a [TV] series to…[profit from the dying hysteria over] human trafficking…The series will [exploit] a group of people…using…abused and neglected rescue animals [that Sorvino and her fellow prohibitionists pretend sex workers resemble]…on a…200-acre ranch outside of Los Angeles [being used as a gingerbread house.  Mira’s]…sister Amanda Sorvino is a highly respected animal rescuer and [it seems that Mira believes humans can be “rescued” using the same methods intended for animals]…

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

…Manhattan District Attorney candidate Eliza Orlins is unveiling a comprehensive policy platform calling for the full decriminalization of sex work…Formulated in consultation with many sex workers and…advocacy organizations, it is one of the most detailed policy positions on…decriminalization…ever put forward by a major candidate at any level of U.S. politics…Orlins’ policy platform opens, “As District Attorney I will advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work.  This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.  Sex work is work.  Criminalizing sex work stigmatizes and disproportionately targets people of color and trans women, who are already marginalized members of our community… Decriminalizing is the most effective way to protect sex workers from police violence…It is necessary…to reduce mass incarceration”…recent national polling…shows that 52 percent of American voters support the full decriminalization of sex work either strongly or somewhat…The candidate…emphasized that she will aggressively prosecute sex traffickers…In contrast to [prohibitionist politician Liz] Krueger, Orlins [states that]…“Prohibitionist models (such as the ‘Nordic Model’) continue to criminalize and stigmatize sex workers.  Partial legalization schemes give prosecutors too much discretion”…

Orlins’ clear denunciation of Swedish criminalization (even more explicit in the interview which forms the second half of this article) makes me far more optimistic about her plans than those of either Michigan Prosecutor Eli Savit or presidential wannabe Andrew Yang.

Torture Chamber (#1001)

Virginia screws sexually assault women like this on a regular basis:

In July of 2016, Angela Calloway arrived at the Augusta C[age Stack] in…Virginia, to visit with a…[prisoner]…She left soon after, having been [force]d to remove her clothes and tampon so [screws] could [violate] her vaginal[ly] and anal[ly using the pretext of a “search”]…Calloway has not returned to the prison since.  A federal court ruled…that the guards involved in that [sexual assault] did not violate the Fourth Amendment…upholding a lower court ruling that awarded qualified immunity to the government employees.  Calloway will thus not be permitted to sue over the [attack]…

The judges’ ruling can be paraphrased as, “cops are so barbaric and stupid they can’t possibly know that rape is wrong.”  Presumably, that applies even when the victim is only eight years old.

The Monsters Are Due (#1018)

We haven’t seen a case of white van hysteria in almost a year:

University of Oregon students are [behaving like hysterical idiots about]…sex trafficking…[because] a [delusional busybody posted a] TikTok video…show[ing] a white van and accus[ing its owner] of having girls in the back of it…Brandon Smith…[was simply] driving his van…[when] two girls acting intoxicated [started] screaming down to their friends o[ut of a window]…Police showed up to Smith’s door as he was doing laundry and [harassed and threatened him for hours over the moronic accusation.  Luckily they did not murder or assault him, but]…he…is dealing with people harassing him when they see his van, and it’s taking a toll on his mental health…

Robocops

We need more attention to one of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

Ben & Jerry’s two co-founders want to make it easier for Americans to sue [violent, corrupt cops]…Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield…The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is being championed by Cohen and Greenfield…activist Shaun King…rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render…[politicians] Tom McClintock…Mike Braun…Ayanna Pressley and…Cory Booker…NFL stars Tom Brady and Drew Brees a[nd]…more than 1,500 [other] athletes and artists…[plus] 671 business leaders, according to its website.  “We are…resolved to end this get-out-of-jail free card for bad cops,” Cohen told reporters…

Dutch Threat (#1059)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

The brothel windows of Amsterdam’s red light district will be closed and an “erotic centre” will be set up away from the city centre, councillors have agreed.  A proposal from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema…was backed by a broad group of p[uritans]…The sex workers in the De Wallen red light district will be [forc]ed to move to a purpose-built centre elsewhere in Amsterdam…[or else choose to work illegally.  Politicians pretend]ed that the brothel windows should be closed [to “protect”] women working in the area [by dramatically cutting into their income]…When the idea was first proposed, a…[survey show]ed that 90% of…female sex workers…wanted to work in the windows…of…De Wallen.  [A sex worker called]…Foxxy…told [reporters]: “Relocating…is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Will [politicians] also…organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied?”…A second proposal to ban tourists from buying cannabis from the city’s cafes is struggling to win support owing to [the reality] that it will hand over trade to dealers on the streets…

Stupor Bowl (#1106)

Pathetic public promotions of misogynistic masturbatory material like this appear to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth.  Whereas national media used to prominently feature fetishists stroking themselves in public to the general adoration of gullible nitwits, the coverage is now mostly limited to local papers and TV news stations who consider obedient regurgitation of copaganda, no matter how ludicrous, to be part of their business model, plus fringe sites run by copsuckers and ex-military wingnuts with delusions of expertise unshared by anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the subject.  While the tales used to start appearing late in the preceding summer or even a year or more in advance, they now seem largely limited to a few foul eruptions in the week or two before, like a sudden discharge from a cluster of turgid pustules previously hidden by clothing.  And despite claims of “recent reports” and “new studies” of the fantasy, all of the claims are a decade or more old and still derive from the same grotesque prohibitionist profiteering we’ve seen over and over again (this one, as one might expect from fascist authoritarians, relies heavily on “Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s fevered fantasies from ’14 which imploded in a spectacular fashion last autumn).  In short, there’s nothing to see here that we haven’t seen innumerable times before, and these creeps’ pathetic devotion to their ugly fantasies would inspire pity if it weren’t being used to support calls for mass surveillance, aggressive censorship and state-sanctioned rape.

To Molest and Rape (#1109)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative NYPD cop]…was arrested on child pornography charges…after he repeatedly posed as a teenager online to request and obtain sexually explicit photos and videos from at least 46 minors…Carmine Simpson…is the latest in a string of [cops]…to be [caught committing] sexual crimes involving minors…Simpson told his targets that he was 17…and…some[times]…sent them pictures of himself to which he had applied a filter, making him look younger…In November, [cop] Shaun Frazier…[was caught molesting kids for]…the…third [time]…In July, a [pig known for skulking around] school[s]…Jeanisidor Jean Baptiste, was…charged with…rape and assault against a child.  In March…Yavier Julio, was indicted on child pornography charges…In February…Timothy Martinez was charged with possession of child pornography…In September 2019…Juan Jimenez, was…charged with [molesting]…a child.  And the month before that, John Telesca…was…charged with…child pornography.  Dara E. Purvis, an associate dean at Penn State Law who has studied sexual violence by the police, said this kind of misconduct is vastly underreported…

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