From the 5 Fulton just now, I saw a couple of cops detaining a couple
of guys - or at least sitting them on the curb. It was a perfectly
calm scene. The guys were both white, young, like late 20's, in kind
of grubby clothes. Both looked unconcerned, and pale, as from a
chronic condition such as, well, heroin or something. Or not enough sun.
What struck me was how much they looked like 'criminals' in that tv
movie or tv commercial kind of way. One had on a torn leather jacket
and black jeans. Both needed a shave.
What does a criminal look like anyway?My watching of COPS (as good a
source as any for cross-cutting anecdotal evidence) tells me that
criminals usually look like the other people in the neighborhood.
Black neighborhoods have black criminals, white neighborhoods white
criminals. People travel of course, so that's not strictly true. These
guys looked like San Francisco guys who'd be in that neighborhood,
which is to say sort of bohemian types, not odd around here.
One of my favorite least favorite series of commercials is for some
alarm company. There's always a woman alone at home in her super-
suburban, extra-nice neighborhood. In one commercial, her husband
has just gone to work. A sketchy guy waits for his chance and busts
down the door. By sketchy I mean that he's clean-cut and closely
shaven, but wears a HOODED SWEATSHIRT and a menancing scowl.
Of course, when he busts in, the alarm goes off and he runs and the
terrified woman calls the alarm company. Another white guy (who looks
a bit like the thug, but cleaner and in shirt and tie) answers and
reassures her that help is on the way.
That guy being a criminal is preposterous. These guys being criminals
was not. Why is that? Because there were cops standing there? Because
they look like they're supposed to?
I figure everyone is suspect.
\t : iPhone->you