sunday night in the city of angels

Normally, I avoid the FOX 11 News like . . . well, like the FOX 11 News. I prefer my hysterical propaganda to have more Paul Moyer in it, you know?

But tonight, after an hour of surprisingly funny Simpsons, hilarious Family Guy, and an American Dad that made me fall off my couch — not because it sucked so hard, but because it was go goddamned funny — my TV was inadvertently left on KTTV.

Around 10:05, I realized that I was possibly missing one of Hal Fishman’s brief commentaries over on KTLA (it’s like being lectured by your grandfather!), or Jackie Johnson breathlessly telling me that it’s going to be nice and hot for the next few days on KCAL (don’t you worry, Jackie. Daddy can read between the lines just fine), I went to change the channel . . . and couldn’t find the remote control.

While I searched, I caught our good friend Jesse Jackson talking about those deputies who shot 92 million bullets at that SUV the other day. (Incidentally, why waste all 92 million on one SUV? I bet if you spread them around more responsibly, you could clean up a lot of air, and reclaim a few compact parking spaces. I’m just saying.)

Rev. Jackson was going through his standard press conference routine while I dug frantically through my couch cushions. He droned on, and it was so insufferable, I almost walked across the room to change the channel manually. Then, I saw it: on the coffee table, underneath a magazine. I picked it up, and as I prepared to change the channel, I heard him say, “This shooting is an act of terrorism!

What? The? Fuck?

Look, I’m a huge liberal, and I thought that shooting was totally out of control and unjustified. I also imagine that the people in that neighborhood were scared to death when their street turned into a shooting gallery. I’m confident that the taxpayers of Los Angeles County will be buying new boats for each person whose house was hit by a bullet . . . but comparing 120 shots fired by ten deputies at one SUV to terrorism?! Is Jesse Jackson out of his fucking mind?

Why didn’t he use the tsunami? Too tacky? Why not Columbine? Not fresh enough? Oh! I know! How about the Holocaust? Because, like terrorism, they are all equally irrelevant to the shooting in Compton the other night.

Of course there should be an investigation into the use of force, and as a Community leader, Rev. Jackson should keep this story in the news, and apply pressure to the Sheriff’s office to conduct a thorough investigation . . . but this ain’t terrorism, dude. Flying planes into buildings is terrorism. Planting bombs on train tracks is terrorism. In your typical terrorist act, Reverand Jackson, a whole bunch of innocent people die. Sort of like what happened in September a few years ago, remember? It’s real cute that you’re having your little press conferences and all, and trying to say shocking things to ensure you get your little sound bites on the air, but maybe next time, you could just count to five before you say something so incredibly stupid.

And Hal, buddy, if you want to use any of this for one of your superawesome commentaries, you go right ahead, big guy. But . . . well, I’m not going to tell you how to do your job, but you may want to edit out at least one of the “fucks.”

Though to be honest with you, if I had to choose between Jackie Johnson in a bikini and Hal Fishman saying “What the fuck?” . . . well, if I can only have one of those things, the terrorists have already won.

3 thoughts on “sunday night in the city of angels”

  1. Family Guy was, and is still great. American Dad though, it’s just missed the mark. Not really worth the time they spent making it. They should have just fast-tracked Family Guy and gotten it out sooner!

  2. Great fucking post, Wil! Hi-fucking-larious and yet, at the same time, spot-fucking-on.

    Fuck me. Wish I’d written it. Fuck.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this all morning. And I’m not sure that the Rev. is out of his mind. I can’t imagine that a man with that much public experience would use the word terrorism in this situation capriciously. So I started researching.

    The US Uniform Code of Military justice (the law our government is supposed to obey when dealing with other countries) defines terrorism as: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.

    Working from that definition, it might be worthwhile to flip the perspective: place yourself in the metaphorical shoes of a community or minority population that has historically battled oppression, poverty, and segregation.

    From the other side of the tracks, as-it-were, armed officers of the law (sometimes referred to as ‘The Man’) firing a gazillion bullets takes on a significantly different tone. If you’re in the community of the oppressed and segregated, you may view a reaction of such massive force as a “use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate.” In other words, by the government’s own definition, terrorism. The Man might have been sending a message.

    I guess what I’m saying, Wil — one huge liberal to another — is that the scale of terrorism doesn’t have to be international or epic. One American kidnapped and beheaded is terrorism. And an armed, deputized force firing 120 shots in a residential neighborhood CAN be viewed as terrorism without even stretching the definition of the word. Was Rev. Jackson right to use the word in this context? I’m not sure. But I don’t know that he was wrong, either.

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