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Policestate Filter is not Best of the Web
February 2, 2008 9:29 PM   Subscribe

Policestate Filter is not Best of the Web.

I do not wish to discuss the topic of the post here. Nor do I wish to rehash arguments about police in general.

Rather, like Britney/Paris/Lindsay and the various other topics that are derided as newsfilter and chatfilter, I propose that the "cops suck amirite" topic is simply played out. It should no longer be considered MeFi's Most Wanted.

I know I'm posting this only after taking (a small) part in the poo-slinging in that post, but I've had a change of heart and think that these posts are no longer worthy in general.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Etiquette/Policy at 9:29 PM (72 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

There are other threads, and barring that, other sites. I don't think this is a great post, but your unhappiness with the subject matter shouldn't be enough to get it deleted.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:37 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I agree that the drive-by "look, some cop somewhere abused the public trust" stuff makes for lousy posts. They're very newsfiltery.

The source material can make a big difference though. I felt that the Chicago Police justified shootings post was quite interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing other posts that presented actual trends and research.
posted by tkolar at 10:02 PM on February 2, 2008


*yawn* people who disagree with most mefites on an issue wish to see the issue verboten. Film at 11.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


(Actually, I didn't think the post was that good, but that was because the video didn't work for me, so I really don't know)
posted by delmoi at 10:12 PM on February 2, 2008


delmoi: search for the lady's name on youtube...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 PM on February 2, 2008


people who disagree with most mefites on an issue wish to see the issue verboten.

Remind me which side "most" mefites agree with again?

Come to think of it, has the cast of commenters in those threads even changed in the last two years?
posted by tkolar at 10:16 PM on February 2, 2008


Remind me which side "most" mefites agree with again?

Obama for president.
posted by bigmusic at 10:24 PM on February 2, 2008


the thread is terrible. The editorializing in the post itself leads directly to the lame, absurdly hyperbolic comments from the armchair anarchists.

There is no "issue" being debated here. Any reasonable person is against police brutality. What's lame is the hysterical, emotional tone of the post and the link.

ps for anyone who thinks this is the height of "OMG Policestate" injustice, you probably shouldn't read what FAMM emailed me this morning. (and that's one of the milder examples of mandatory minimums at work)
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:24 PM on February 2, 2008


I don't mind the posts which lead to threads which lead to poo slinging, as long as (a) the post is rich in poo, and (b) the poo slung is informative, intelligent, and analytical. This post's poo had a lot of growth hormone, but it was an interesting enough piece of poo, and the proceeding analysis of poo proved interesting, too. Poo poo pah doo.
posted by not_on_display at 10:44 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I asked my father to read over the thread in question. I figured I wanted to get the response of an actual cop. Here's what he had to say:

"One time on a Saturday night I pulled over a car because it was driving erratically. After I finally got the car stopped, I went up to the window and asked for the driver's license. The guy was obviously drunk because he could barely hold his head up, but the funniest part was that he didn't have any pants on. So, I asked him to step out of the car. He refused. I asked again. He refused again. I told him that there was a warrant out for his arrest and that he needed to step out of the car now. He opened the door and stumbled out of the car, spreading his hand against the hood screaming, 'Fine, fine, just fucking arrest me you fucker.' The weirdest part was that the guy had a dildo hanging out of his ass. At that point, I just asked him if he had someone that could drive him home, because, really, who the hell am I to ruin someone's Saturday night, you know? By the way, the jail staff in that link are a bunch of peckerheads who besmirch the honor of the men and women who faithfully hold down the Blue Line. Fucking makes me sick. Anyway, have a good Saturday night. Why the hell are you reading the internet anyway?"

And that's why my father is my hero.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:53 PM on February 2, 2008 [98 favorites]


I agree that the drive-by "look, some cop somewhere abused the public trust" stuff makes for lousy posts. They're very newsfiltery.

The source material can make a big difference though. I felt that the Chicago Police justified shootings post was quite interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing other posts that presented actual trends and research.
posted by tkolar at 10:02 PM on February 2 [+] [!]


Motherfucker! I can't decide whether this is the most sardonic or the most crass comment I've read this year.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:03 PM on February 2, 2008


I disagree. It's important to have such posts periodically, so that the community can identify the insufficiently outraged and call them little Eichmanns.

Anyway, maybe you should step away from Metafilter for a bit and think about how you're a little Eichmann.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:40 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying tkolar is a little Eichmann, I'm just saying he breeds cats who shoot lasers out of their eyes.
posted by Kattullus at 11:56 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


At the moment the thread has 121 comments, so somebody must be interested in discussing it. If you're not interested, there are lots of other open threads here for interesting discussion, Cool Papa Bell.

The fact that there was video of the incident made it pretty compelling for me, at least. I thought it was devastating emotionally to see what that woman went through, and this is the kind of case, it seems to me, the more people are aware of it, and become outraged by it, the more that something can be done about cases like this in the future. This was a woman who was the victim of a crime, and the police victimized her again.

Sleepy Pete - tell your Dad that he rocks. "[T]he jail staff in that link are a bunch of peckerheads who besmirch the honor of the men and women who faithfully hold down the Blue Line" indeed.
posted by MythMaker at 12:21 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


If each man were an Eichmann,
what would that be like? Man,
I'd, like, hate it if you were a
ersatz Obersturmbannf├╝hrer.
posted by Abiezer at 12:23 AM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


At the moment the thread has 121 comments, so somebody must be interested in discussing it. If you're not interested, there are lots of other open threads here for interesting discussion, Cool Papa Bell.

Say it with me now.
Metafilter isn't about the discussion.
posted by euphorb at 12:54 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Turtles, anyone?
posted by localhuman at 1:47 AM on February 3, 2008


The one thing I liked about the post is that I read 10 comments and got bored but not before finding out steve elvis is back after he announced to everybody he was flaming out a month ago. What a tool.
posted by bukvich at 3:06 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That doesn't make him a tool. Going Godwin makes him a tool.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 5:01 AM on February 3, 2008


That doesn't make him a tool.

Boys, boys! Why argue when you're both right?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:10 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem is not that the "cops suck amirite" topic is simply played out, the problem is that the presentation of the topic as "OMG cops beat up defenseless woman" with little or no context sets the stage for uninformed poo-slinging.

When a post presents a tiny little piece of a complicated problem like the use of force by police, without giving us any other information about the particular incident in question or the issue in general, people will fill in the blanks with whatever they want. This means that the post, rather than encouraging an informed discussion, merely provides a platform for people to argue their pre-conceived positions back and forth ad nauseum. I thought that koeselitz had a pretty measured response at the beginning of the thread, but s/he is in the minority in recognizing that there is likely more to the story than we see in the video or read in the short article.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has read up on local news broadcasts, which are designed to be as sensationalistic as possible. Did you notice how the newscasters in that video were falling all over themselves to emphasize that they had EXCLUSIVE rights to the video and you were ONLY SEEING IT ON OUR STATION? Their job is to rush things on air without doing enough fact-checking, to sensationalize things and to cast them in the scariest light possible in the 3 minutes they have. Re-posting local news clips to the front page will thus encourage only the most ill-informed shouting.

Let me stress that I don't know the background for this particular story. I watched the video, and found it extremely disturbing. If that really is all there is to it, then I see reason to be outraged. But I was also know not to draw conclusions from anything I see on a local news broadcast - or an FPP that just provides a link to one with no additional information or analysis.
posted by googly at 5:14 AM on February 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


They are not always the best posts, but I usually find them interesting. To say the whole genre should be placed off limits is brainless. Each post should be evaluated on its own merits. News stories of importance which are not getting big coverage in the mainstream media often make good posts.
posted by caddis at 5:45 AM on February 3, 2008


At the moment the thread has 121 comments,

Yeah, but 75 of them are by panamax.
posted by tkolar at 5:58 AM on February 3, 2008


After having read the link, watched the videos and scanning the thread, I think this post shuld stay.
posted by caddis at 6:07 AM on February 3, 2008


I disagree. Good day, sir.

I said "Good day, sir."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:15 AM on February 3, 2008


I disagree with CPB, that is. Hmmph. Good day!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:17 AM on February 3, 2008


I've been trying to come up with a short, snarky way of encapsulating why this particular post was such crap, and I think I'm getting closer.

I was originally centering in on OutrageFilter, but in truth there are plenty of posts that generate outrage for very good reasons.

Right now I'm leaning towards LacrosseFilter. That would cover posts that provide sensational accusations, but so little in the way of supporting evidence that you actually know less when you're done reading them than you did when you started. They result in spirited, vitriolic, and completely uninformed debate.
posted by tkolar at 6:24 AM on February 3, 2008


It is a crap post and should be deleted.
posted by LarryC at 6:28 AM on February 3, 2008


They result in spirited, vitriolic, and completely uninformed debate

I move that we call it AmericanElectionFilter, then.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:35 AM on February 3, 2008


Larry has spoken! Well, I guess there's nothing for it but to wrap this up, then...nice seeing you guys...!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:36 AM on February 3, 2008


They result in spirited, vitriolic, and completely uninformed debate
I move that we call it AmericanElectionFilter, then.


Well played, sir!
posted by tkolar at 6:38 AM on February 3, 2008


Oh, just go ahead and GAWK at the trainwrecks. Just visually devour those chat filters. Get it out of your system. Familiarity breeds indifference.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was surprised more people didn't flag it. I tend to hate those sorts of posts, but then again I'm an armchair anarchist who gets annoyed by abuses of power at all levels so I figured maybe I was overreacting. At the last point that I looked at it, tkolar had posted a "less breathless" version of events and I was sort of hoping the compare and contrast view of the whle thing might lead to some decent discussion. Most of the comments towards the end weren't of the "fuck you no fuck YOU" variety, though it did seem there wasn't a lot to really chew over besides cops suck amirite.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:24 AM on February 3, 2008


I abandoned armchair anarchism for a more vigorous sofa Stalinism, but of course it didn't take long for that to degenerate into coffee-table comprador capitalism. It'll be footstool fascism before we know it, unless the IKEA insurgents self-assemble some sort of autonomy..
posted by Abiezer at 8:11 AM on February 3, 2008 [22 favorites]


Abiezer, are you foretelling some sort of ottoman empire?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:28 AM on February 3, 2008 [20 favorites]


Just another loveseat liberal here.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:45 AM on February 3, 2008


Don't listen to Abiezer - he's just another working class stool.
posted by googly at 8:56 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm more of a davenport democrat, myself. Mainly out of concern about the end-table evangelicals, but I occasionally find myself slipping into nightstand nihilism.
posted by jonmc at 8:56 AM on February 3, 2008


and there's always the La-Z-Boy libertarians to consider.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 AM on February 3, 2008


I've always described myself as a Beanbag Bolivarian, personally (for a full definition of this, see A Dictionary Of Political Thought by Roger Futon.)
posted by flashboy at 9:15 AM on February 3, 2008


you forget the love seat left and its antimassacar preferences
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2008


MythMaker writes "At the moment the thread has 121 comments, so somebody must be interested in discussing it. If you're not interested, there are lots of other open threads here for interesting discussion, Cool Papa Bell."

Number of comments in a thread like this is not a good metric. I'd bet any post editorializing on circumcision, rape or abortion will get hundreds of comments if allowed to run it's course. Doesn't mean we need to flog those horses here.

Hey there might be a good guideline: If your post would be right at home on talk.* post it there instead of here.
posted by Mitheral at 9:34 AM on February 3, 2008


I was surprised more people didn't flag it.

I did mainly because I was irked by the lack of info regarding where the incident occurred, forcing me to click on the weather link. Poorly framed, even by OutrageFilter standards.

On a slightly related note, it's going to be warming up a bit in the Cleveland and outlying areas, as a southern warm front pushes up, bringing milder temperatures but unfortunately, overcast skies. There's some chance of precipitation, with rain on Monday morning turning into scattered showers in the afternoon. We'll be back in twenty minutes after second sports with our long-range SkyEye forecast, and tell you how you can get the blues - tickets to the Blue Man Group, that is!

*Smiles into Camera Four as director counts out to the break, dead inside and feeling a strange, soulless kinship with the fadeout on the monitor*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I abandoned armchair anarchism for a more vigorous sofa Stalinism

Stalin used to sleep on his sofa instead of his bed. That may or may not mean something.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:50 AM on February 3, 2008


Beanbag Bolivarian

Is that some kind of gay Latin sex pervo thing?
posted by middleclasstool at 9:59 AM on February 3, 2008


Furniture filibustering is the best of the web.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 AM on February 3, 2008


Is that some kind of gay Latin sex pervo thing?

We all need a dream.
posted by flashboy at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2008


Settee socialist, myself.
posted by trip and a half at 11:26 AM on February 3, 2008


You can have my hassock when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:57 AM on February 3, 2008


You're an obvious Hassock Cossack.
posted by jonmc at 12:29 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Depressing link, depressing thread.

Phooey. I'm gonna go watch the Puppy Bowl.
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2008


Say it with me now. Metafilter isn't about the discussion.

Oh, really? If not, why are you even commenting in this "discussion?"
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on February 3, 2008


CPB, you didn't want the anti-sexism thread on metatalk to continue. Now you don't want threads about the police allowed on the blue. How about you make a list of things we are allowed to post and discuss so we can all be clear on your wishes.

I think I just rolled my eyes so hard, I saw the inside of the back of my own head.
posted by FunkyHelix at 3:23 PM on February 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


What's lame is the hysterical, emotional tone of the post and the link.

I almost commented on that post in a hysterical, emotional tone because once a person close to you experiences police abuse and brutality, the topic triggers an emotional, hysterical response. Most times I manage to refrain because I know that not all cops abuse their power.
posted by francesca too at 5:49 PM on February 3, 2008


It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the government has to hold a yard sale to buy a Barcalounger.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:08 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That was quite the hassock and awe campaign of alliteration.
posted by XMLicious at 6:35 PM on February 3, 2008


If each man were an Eichmann,
what would that be like? Man,
I'd, like, hate it if you were a
ersatz Obersturmbannf├╝hrer.


That's sweet of you. I'm not though.
posted by ersatz at 6:45 PM on February 3, 2008


How about you make a list of things we are allowed to post and discuss so we can all be clear on your wishes.

Oh, please. If I'm the only person expressing an opinion about what should and shouldn't be welcomed, then why is there an "etiquette/policy" flag available here?

I expressed an opinion that I think the "cops suck look at this video" posts (and there are a lot of them) are as played out online as Paris Hilton's latest shenanigans. There is not widespread agreement. Oh well. Moving on.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:20 PM on February 3, 2008


Oh, and by "schools", I mean "MeFites". And by "money", I mean "furniture".
posted by iamkimiam at 10:25 PM on February 3, 2008


I think the essential difference between Britney/Paris/Lindsay (BPL) posts and this one is that (alleged) abuses by police is a topic that actually matters.

That said, I agree with tkolar that we need to dig a little deeper to make these conversations fruitful, by linking to relevant contextual material, and reading and commenting on that material. Any poster can bring more meat into the thread this way, it doesn't have to be in the FPP.
posted by flotson at 11:10 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like that the person who posted the YouTube version that eventually got linked in the thread used the 'Tube posting as an opportunity to plug Ron Paul.
posted by nanojath at 10:36 AM on February 4, 2008


I expressed an opinion that I think the "cops suck look at this video" posts (and there are a lot of them) are as played out online as Paris Hilton's latest shenanigans.

With all the internet data mining and ever-increasing powers of Homeland Security to incarcerate people who speak out against things, perhaps there won't be many more "cops suck" posts in your future. People who bring attention to police abuse are obvious troublemakers.

Hey, it's how China has successfully managed a population of a billion peasants! Know your place, subsist, and be thankful.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:44 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]



With all the internet data mining and ever-increasing powers of Homeland Security to incarcerate people who speak out against things, perhaps there won't be many more "cops suck" posts in your future. People who bring attention to police abuse are obvious troublemakers.


My question is, as always, do you really believe this load of horseshit? Or is it just perennially fashionable to claim that the U.S. is teetering on the edge of becoming a fascist state?

Christ, the way people go on you'd think we had McCarthy as the Speaker of the House with Hoover running the FBI. This Patriot Act stuff is love and puppies compared to what they tried to get away with.

But alas, hyperbole is what passes for reasoned debate among some crowds. It can't be just be "the legislative trend since 9/11 has sucked and we need to reverse it", it has to be "OMG they're coming for me right NOW! POLICE STATE POLICE STATE!"
posted by tkolar at 10:05 PM on February 4, 2008


Don't be too hard on fff. He's under a lot of pressure, living in BC and all.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:54 PM on February 4, 2008


This Patriot Act stuff is love and puppies compared to what they tried to get away with

My question is, as always, do you really believe this load of horseshit? Or is it just perennially fashionable to claim that the U.S. is immune to fascist tendencies? Little things like habeus corpus were still in place in the McCarthy years, and if you don't think today's FBI is doing a the same stuff Jedgar did, you're just not paying attention.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:35 AM on February 5, 2008


claim that the U.S. is immune to fascist tendencies?

Well, gosh, since I brought up McCarthy and Hoover one would guess that I'm at least partially aware of the history of fascism in the U.S.

The question is, are those tendencies best dealt with by foaming at the mouth and yelling "POLICE STATE, POLICE STATE" at every opportunity? Or, in fact, is the continuous fear, uncertainty, and doubt spread by such antics every bit as harmful as the continuous fear, uncertainty, and doubt spread by people (oh, let's say the Bush administration) who would prefer a more fascist U.S.?

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, *not* eternal hysterical panic.
posted by tkolar at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2008


The question is, are those tendencies best dealt with by foaming at the mouth and yelling "POLICE STATE, POLICE STATE" at every opportunity?

Well, if that's the question, the answer is no. Glad I could clear that up for you. It's a good thing there's none of that foaming and yelling going on, isn't it?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:07 AM on February 5, 2008


tkolar writes "Christ, the way people go on you'd think we had McCarthy as the Speaker of the House with Hoover running the FBI. This Patriot Act stuff is love and puppies compared to what they tried to get away with."

On the other hand McCarthy and Hoover weren't whisking Americans off to foreign prisons where they could be held indefinitely and without the rights guaranteed in the constitution. The McCarthy hearings were open and publicized not confined to a secret court where even the defendants laywers don't have access to all the evidence against their clients.

Alvy Ampersand writes "Don't be too hard on fff. He's under a lot of pressure, living in BC and all."

As you can see that crap is still front page news for weeks across the province, did this police event even make anything but the local paper the week after?
posted by Mitheral at 10:23 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


is the continuous fear, uncertainty, and doubt spread by such antics every bit as harmful as the continuous fear, uncertainty, and doubt spread by people (oh, let's say the Bush administration) who would prefer a more fascist U.S.?

Also no.
posted by flotson at 11:48 PM on February 5, 2008


It's a good thing there's none of that foaming and yelling going on, isn't it?

And if you don't think there's no foaming and yelling going on, you're the one who "isn't paying attention," to crib a phrase invented by the foaming/yelling crowd to deride those that aren't using the correct shibboleths.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:15 PM on February 6, 2008


Damn those double negatives. :-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:16 PM on February 6, 2008


Since you didn't link to any of this supposed foaming and yelling, I guess you're just talking out of your ass.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:38 AM on February 7, 2008


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