Fear – before, during, after

In Artists, Circus, Irish Mist, Local projects, Music, Revision, Sanford Meisner on September 15, 2014 at 6:06 am

Of the three real-life incidents of police violence I heard yesterday, the first is the most useful here because of the way it sits on the cusp where the switch-over happens. The facts: for two days, a team of policemen is assigned to security and surveillance at a street festival. One of them jokes around with the clown who acts as announcer that year. Everything is cool, they are borderline buddies.

The festival ends. The clown and another of the artists take off in their rickety van. Get flagged down at the city limits because of the rickety appearance of the vehicle. The clown (still partly in costume) recognizes his erstwhile buddy and attempts a small joke, using the familiar “tu” in addressing him. The young cop, who is now with others of his own crowd, puffs up and answers: “You and me don’t sleep together.” The cops start pulling on their gloves.

The couple get ordered out of the van, searched, manhandled (with gloves on and truncheons, at least, for the cops). More bodily searches at headquarters, two days in the local slammer with the further humiliations that carries, fingerprinting, record, the works. I assume (I may be wrong) the policemen had been making jokes about faggots prior to my buddy the clown saying tu instead of vous. I further assume at least one of the policemen was conflicted on gender issues.

This same clown did a bit of street theater yesterday morning at the market. Instead of handing out flyers, he staged a small scene. People stopped. He talked about the local conflict over the deforestation done at Sivens. Some people listened. Others insulted him. The most telling: a young woman whose face turned to stone when she understood what he was talking about. “Too much violence,” she said in an accusing tone, and walked off.

The interesting (but oh so troubling) subtext here: you, the protesters, are to blame for the truncheons, the flash balls, the tear gas, and your hunting down through the remaining woods. You are to blame because, until you raised your voices, the trees were getting chopped down in peace and quiet (so to speak). No local clashes. No need to think about issues outside the most immediate of concerns. Violence at a safe remove within the confines of the TV screen. And now, see what you’ve done: you’ve brought whiffs of this to the local market on a gorgeous Sunday morning. Shame on you. I hope they lock you up.

The two other tales of violence I heard yesterday: better broken down into smaller components. I can’t help but wonder how the one who got separated from his buddies the other night, then tracked through the woods,beaten and arrested, will absorb and process all the emotions he’s experienced – this week, next year,  thirty or forty years from now.

The dance. The cusp. Us humans are a motley crew – inside and out.


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