Kids are cute. So are puppies. Stories about kids and puppies warm our hearts. Except when the stories are about kids arrested or puppies killed.
There is a constant struggle in writing about the never-ending stream of seemingly inexplicable things that happen in the law. Should the story be funny or absurd? Should it be outrageous and angry? Many in the blawgosphere have chosen to write short blurbs rather than analysis, both because it’s a lot easier than the unnecessary effort of thinking and people enjoy reading short blurbs more than lengthier posts. Bites of information are enough. Small bites are even better.
There are times when the posts here leave me feeling rather morose. That a kid was arrested or a puppy killed almost always carries a message or lesson, and the failure to discuss it reduces a writing to an amusement. I’m not here for your amusement. There are plenty of others who can entertain you, appeal to your bias, feed your insanity or provide easily digestible bits of information without requiring you to expend any effort in thinking. Not me. Not here.
But then, humor and brevity are virtues as well. Many points are best made using humor, and the point, well, is to make the point. If humor is the most effective delivery method, why not?
And what purpose is served by boring a reader with labored rhetoric when ten words will do? If the point can be made in fewer words, then only a crappy writer would use more.
These are issues I’ve been struggling with lately. A lot of blogs have strayed from thoughtfulness into the easy realm of aggregator, listing a string of stories of interest with no value added. Others relate stories that are funny or ironic, though the subject isn’t always well-suited to humor. Some have become soapboxes of self-indulgence, intellectually dishonest in their analysis and serving only to promote the writer’s point of view to those stupid enough to blindly accept it. And others are just crap.
When Kevin Underhill wrote about a 6 year old Georgia girl who was taken from school in handcuffs, he found the humor in the fact that this was how the cops dealt with a little girl.
- Police in Milledgeville, Georgia, said they don’t discriminate when it comes to detainees, all of whom get handcuffed and taken to the station in the back of a squad car. That includes “age discrimination,” the chief said, explaining why his officers cuffed a six-year-old girl who was throwing a tantrum in her kindergarten class. The girl was charged with assault and damage to property, “but will not have to go to court because of her age.” That’s because SHE IS SIX.
Does it really require any more analysis? Apparently it does, as Kevin felt compelled to update his post:
- Update: Some think cuffing the six-year-old might have been a reasonable response under the circumstances, and I guess I should defer to those who have children or have been attacked by some. It isn’t the cuffing that really bothers me, to be honest — personally, I think children should be kept in a pit until they turn 18 — but rather what seems (at least at first glance) like an overreaction by police and administrators. But maybe in this case there was truly no other choice. Well, there’s always the pit, or a quick tranquilizer dart and then the pit, but maybe no other reasonable choice.
It kinda sucks some of the fun out of the post, and as soon as that happens, the message sent via humor is not merely lost, but subsumed by the mirthless.
In his ongoing series on Puppycide, Radley Balko does the dirty deed of not letting the needless shooting of a puppy go unnotice. At first, there was some discussion of how and why this happens. Now, that it happens is enough, with barely a dozen words needed to amplify the message.
In audio captured on Officer Griffin’s dashboard camera, you can hear the officer give Paxton commands to put his hands up and to control his dog. Austin police removed a few seconds of the tape where Griffin fatally shoots the dog.
“Why didn’t you get your dog when I told you to get your dog?” questioned Officer Griffin.
Is it really necessary to parse the details so that readers understand that the guy can either put up his hands or control his dog, but not both? The dog was doomed, and Paxton couldn’t be sure he wasn’t next.
On the bright side, the issue of how to present stories that need airing, issues that people ought to think about, can at least be considered because guys like Kevin and Radley do the cooking so you can easily digest their feast.
So many others are feeding you spam, hoping you’re too stupid to realize that it tastes awful. The blawgosphere is becoming a fast food strip mall, and that seems to be good enough for most people. If so, what’s the point of serving up anything that takes some effort to digest?