Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Characters: Day 17, and some social/OWS/commentary-esque stuff

I started this piece a while ago and as I am finishing it now, I am posting pieces of it as I go for the #30Characters (unofficial) challenge. As I finish sections of it over the next few days, I'll show my progress and showcase different characters from different parts of the scene for #30Characters.

It's ink and paint/marker on wood, so hard to scan (although I have yet to attempt scanning wood--can it be done?) and still a little hard to take with a phone photograph, but I am trying my best.

When I started the piece, it began as a commentary on police brutality in regards to homelessness (and how, especially in neighborhoods that are getting more and more upscale, great care is taken to keep up the appearances of new lofts and apartments--causing people who sleep on the street to get arrested, and told to go elsewhere-- all the while not being given a solution to their problems, lack of shelter, or at least options,).

However, with what with everything going on with #OWS and people from all walks of life protesting/sitting/sleeping-- and still being forcibly abused and evicted from where they are-- I feel like this piece is taking on a different turn.

Whether it is because he or she is protesting, or because a person nowhere else to go, I do not believe it's right to arrest someone for sitting or sleeping someplace. If the person is not causing harm, bothering, or hurting themselves or others, how is that a crime?

In any case, my character for this challenge does not have a name. People call him "Goon," but they call him other, worse insults, almost as much of the time.

He doesn't have a face, and he really only has force. He's one of a few clones, almost, as he and his unit all have the same task. Drones, clones, whatever the term, he carries out orders, and he can never feel or show emotion when he does the things he does-- hence him having no facial expression, emotion, or anything discernible about his character. He will show his face at home sometimes, and perhaps release his anger, frustration, or sadness at what he has to do-- but when he is at his job, nobody can ever see his feelings or his weaknesses.

While the main character is the one standing on the right giving an eviction summons, you can see his friend watching him-- also, a similar-type goon character. I felt that this part of the piece got very #OWS-y, although again, the original commentary had been going to focus on skid row.

I'll also say that I'm not one of those people who automatically hates on people in law enforcement. Perhaps this sounds like a disclaimer, but I still feel like I ought to say it-- my Great-Grandfather was a police officer, and I think a chief (if I remember corectly), and he was one of the best people I have ever heard about. He was kind, protective, did whatever he could to help and serve his community, and was a great father to my Grandmother, and grandfather to my Mom. He actually upheld the whole "protect and serve thing."

Unfortunately, both in this #30Characters drawing, and IRL (especially in New York City right now), a lot of police offers are not doing that.

It's sad when people live up to bad hype, but if you're breaking the shoulders of peacefully protesting students and telling them they "have no rights" (misquoting the event, but I read about such an incident that happened near UC Berkeley, I believe), and assaulting eighty-four year old female protesters (that was out in Seattle, again if I remember correctly), and you are a police officer-- you are embodying cruelty, and giving people who inherently distrust those in positions of force and power even more reason to do so.

Whether it's a payout, an abuse of power, the riot mentality, or something else I can't even fathom-- I find there to be no acceptable excuse for people whose job it is to protect others, to be gassing them, beating them, and destroying their personal properly, when they are doing nothing but sitting, being civil, and expressing the rights that, in theory, we at least have for right now in this country.

Le sigh. The next few posts will cover characters from this piece, so hopefully those won't also get too ranty/politically heavy.

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