Banal Documentaries
Chomsky Film
Domain of Demands
Emporer Penguin Evolution
Lottery Life
Peace School

Personality & Classification
Police Interrogations
Press Ethics
Stun Guns
Suicide Bombers
Target Civilians
The Criminal/The Military
Time Memory
Ways of Life
A Good One of Those

Police Interrogations

Before exiting his teens, an American kid is likely to have seen hundreds or even thousands of fictional police interrogations. To ask why this should be so would be to initiate a conversation that might start from any one of many places, and end who knows where. I wish, rather, to merely generate a level of astonishment that I believe the fact of such exposure warrants.

Let us suppose that upon visiting a foreign country one finds the people watch dozens of ritualized religious confessions; the sort commonly practiced by contemporary catholics are an adequate model for present purposes. Do you think that a foreign visitor would notice this occupation? What sort of questions might a visitor ask about it. Would there be discussions about guilt? About the place of religion in the life of the people? About whether confessions were a rare or common part of real life in this place? Or would the question be more about art and art forms, and the attractiveness of this theme? Would the conversation then come back to lived life through the question of why these dramatized scenes drew large audiences and resonated with the people in specifiable ways?

Let us suppose that in visiting a foreign country one found that evening TV drama shows all contained at least one rape, and that in a fair number of instances, multiple rapes. In a small number of cases the victims is killed. Would there be any reason to take particular notice of this fact? If so, would there be questions about why the people in this place take so much of their entertainment or family time in this form? Would there be questioning of the “social psychology” of sexual assault in this foreign place? Would there be questions about why it was necessary to have so many scenes involving pelvic examination? Was it really necessary to show so much bruising and swelling?

Or suppose that in visiting a foreign country one found that in every form of entertainment there was a reference to a ‘fearless leader’. In the case of TV, there were usually several references per hour. The visitor would surely wonder if this repetition was required by custom or by edict? Would there consequences for noncompliance? Is the fearless leader real or a figure of speech or folk lore.

What would the American visitor say if, in the course of one of these conversations, the foreign person said: ‘But tell me, Two Dogs Fucking, what makes you so interested?’














©Al Katz • Prof. of law SUNY, Buffalo, 1969-1989 (ret.)