Building The Perfect Beast

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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

It’s Time, Again, To “Think Different”

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Hours after coming out of the police academy, I was told something as a new rookie officer: You’d rather be tried by 12 jurors than carried by six pallbearers. In my impressionable first days, I saw officers leave the precinct every day touching the lockers of their fallen brothers. They started their shift on the defensive, thinking about protecting themselves, as opposed to the communities they served, regardless of the complexion of those communities. —Eric L. Adams, We Must Stop Abuse of Black Men (emphasis mine)

Cops can get into a state of mind where they’re scared to death. When they’re in that really, really frightened place they panic and they act out on that panic. I have known cops who haven’t had a racist bone in their bodies and in fact had adopted black children, they went to black churches on the weekend; and these are white cops. They really weren’t overtly racist. They weren’t consciously racist. But you know what they had in their minds that made them act out and beat a black suspect unwarrantedly? They had fear.Constance Rice, Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police (emphasis mine)

Two Great pieces, one a NY Times Op-Ed by Eric L. Adams, current Brooklyn Borough president and a former NYC police officer, and the other by Constance Rice, a civil rights attorney.

Both of these pieces reflect on something I have thought for years, which is that police officers often start their days on the defensive, thinking they are an oppressed minority in a “dangerous job”. It is this way of thinking that leads to what we have seen so often over these last few months, but what must have been going on every day before the advent of cell phone video cameras.

There needs to be a change in the way that police think. A change in the “culture” of policing. Yes, it is a dangerous profession, but taking on a dangerous profession doesn’t give anyone the right to behave or act in a manner that, instead of focusing on protecting a community and the individuals in it, takes an active role in putting others at risk, in order to proactively protect oneself.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

December 5th, 2014 at 8:12 am

Why I’m No Longer on Facebook

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Matt Honan as an interesting article on Wired that illustrates exactly why I left Facebook a few months back. He spent two days “liking” everything he saw and the end result was that his entire newsfeed became a giant clutter of garbage. While that should come as no surprise, what is disconcerting is how Honan’s “likes” began cluttering the feeds of his Facebook friends:

While I expected that what I saw might change, what I never expected was the impact my behavior would have on my friends’ feeds. I kept thinking Facebook would rate-limit me, but instead it grew increasingly ravenous. My feed become a cavalcade of brands and politics and as I interacted with them, Facebook dutifully reported this to all my friends and followers.

That first night, a small little circle with a dog’s head popped up in the corner of my phone. A chat head, from Facebook’s Messenger software! The dog turned out to be my old WIRED editor, John Bradley. “Have you been hacked,” he wanted to know. The next morning, my friend Helena sent me a message. “My fb feed is literally full of articles you like, it’s kind of funny,” she says. “No friend stuff, just Honan likes.”

This is exactly what began happening to me. I “liked” almost nothing on Facebook, but my newsfeed was becoming increasingly cluttered with the detritus of what my friends liked. Less about their families and photos of their vacations, more and more about what band of the 70s they were and what shampoo they enjoyed.

I’d like to say I miss Facebook, but I don’t. I miss the real, personal updates that helped keep my finger on the pulse of my friend’s personal lives, but I don’t miss the trashed-up news feed at all. And I’m never going back…

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 11th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Commentary,Featured

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Michelle Obama Cites View of Growing Segregation

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Michelle Obama Cites View of Growing Segregation

Today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech.

—Michelle Obama

Interesting that this should appear in the NY Times this week as I was just making mention of this to my wife and my mother.

Just this past week I had the pleasure of meeting the young man I’ve spent time corresponding with this past year. He is a student at a school west of Atlanta, where a friend of mine teaches 5th grade. The population breakdown of the community is about 50/50 black to white, but what I found most interesting was that the school where my friend teaches, based on my totally unscientific observation, has a white population of less than 5%.

According to my friend, who has been teaching in this district for quite some time now, the school district lines have been drawn and redrawn over the past several years so as to keep all the poorest children and children of color in the school where she teaches.

If you don’t think segregation is alive and well in the US you are greatly mistaken. It may not be as obvious as it once was, but it exists and it is, perhaps, more insidious than it ever was.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

May 18th, 2014 at 10:39 am

Dear Son, Don’t Let Robin Thicke be a Lesson to You

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Matt Walsh on bludgeoning Miley Cyrus while giving Robin Thicke a pass:

In any case, this gives you an idea of the full scene: A 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal” and the “hottest bitch in this place.” And what happens the next day? We’re all boycotting the 20 year old. The grown man gets a pass.

Must read.

Tip o’ the hat to Josh Cohen. While you’re at it, give his Kickstarter a look.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 29th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

There Are A Million Ways To Sell Yourself Out…

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…And I guarantee you’ll hear about them.


Watterson print


Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 27th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

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Make Every Word Matter

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Make Every Word Matter.

Be concise and clear.

Fewer words.

Less meandering (without purpose).

Using too many sounds like bull$hit, and usually is.

Via The Loop

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 27th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Commentary,Featured

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More On Why You Should Be Reading (And Watching) David Simon

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And those who know me understand that while it is refreshing to meet people with no opinions, I am not that fellow. I like to argue. I don’t take the argument itself personally — and I am often amazed at so much outsized commentary that assumes otherwise — but rather I delight in pursuing a good, ranging argument. It’s why I value a writer’s room so much. It’s why I used to love a healthy newsroom, which I have described as a magical place where everyone disagrees with everything all of the time. Arguments make the work better; when people stop arguing, or at least arguing intelligently, absent the usual half-assed, rhetorical cheating, the work invariably suffers. So, for me, any dialectic is a temptation.

I’ve been reading David Simon since I first started watching Homicide: Life on the Street back when it was on NBC. Two books and several TV series later, Simon remains one of my favorite writers and commentators on culture, news, the inner city, politics, you name it…

His TV shows, Homicide, The Wire, Treme, The Corner, Generation Kill, are smart social commentary that’s compassionate, true, intelligent, ambiguous (like so much of life), and not preachy. If you haven’t watched them, you should.

What I love about Simon is summarized in the previous paragraph from his blog, The Audacity of Despair.

I like a good fight. Nothing personal, just a good, hard, thoughtful fight that makes you think differently and challenges what you believe. This is also why I hate and refuse to watch any television news shows. They’re mostly didactic schlock with no interest in anything productive. Best line in the paragraph?

It’s why I used to love a healthy newsroom, which I have described as a magical place where everyone disagrees with everything all of the time. Arguments make the work better; when people stop arguing, or at least arguing intelligently, absent the usual half-assed, rhetorical cheating, the work invariably suffers.

You betcha.

Now, go read…

Written by Jeffery Battersby

July 26th, 2013 at 10:26 am