Monday, March 3, 2014

Picture Frame

I'm going to throw a couple of questions into the air here and I don't even pretend to have the answers to them.

It's more like one question, asked in two different arenas, with Constitutional implications and local reverberations.

Item 1: Just about every weekend night at around 2 in the yawning, crowds of college-age people throng the main drag of my home town, formerly rustic Towson, MD. Used to be, you could roll cannon balls down York Rd after 7 PM and not hit much of anything, but someone figured out that a tidy profit would be earned by opening 87 bars and saloons, and so at closing time, the local police have to break up melees, fracases, donnybrooks and eddying mobs of intoxicated youths, most of whom are wearing Bob Marley hats and silly grins. Last Saturday, as the roiling mob made its amoeba-like procession back toward the dorms full of unread textbooks, a budding Michael Moore in the crowd began making a cellphone video of the arrest of several D&Ds (your choice: dumb & dumber or drunk & disorderly).  It's his right to do so, the law says so, and police were supposed to know that. But an auxiliary police sergeant, an unpaid volunteer, chose to get all testosterony about it, and got up in the camera guy's grill, hollering that he had lost his right of free speech.  And how about this? We have seen the video of that imbroglio for five nights on the evening news, and  the chief of police had to state publicly what every sensible person knows, mainly that the kid has his rights, and the auxiliary cop overreacted...

What no one is talking about is why people have nothing better to do in the middle of the night than a) get D&D  and/or b) hassle and taunt police who are trying to deal with a) and get home in one piece.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Kristen Bell, formerly the star of the Veronica Mars TV drama and soon to be seen on the big screen in the Veronica Mars movie, is all up in arms over the paparazzi mobs taking pictures of her kid and the kids of other celebrities.  I've not seen this sort of stupidity myself firsthand, but apparently actors, singers and other famous folks can't even walk down the street without oily men and women with cameras leaping out of them to take pictures from six inches away.

The parent/celebrities point out that having their picture taken is all in the name of the game of the fame they pursued, but their children should be spared the commotion, and I have to agree.  Ms Bell and others are asking that we support them by boycotting the celebrity magazines and those shows that come on at 7:30 showing the new carpeting in Halle Berry's hallway and things of that nature.

Big question is:  do you need to see pictures of Kristen Bell's child?  Do you need to take video of two drunk twenty-somethings getting pinched in the middle of the night in Towson, MD?  For what purpose does either image exist? And what purpose is served by banning them?  

As I said several hundred words ago, I don't know.  I'd love to hear from you, and then we can figure this out.

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