John Jānis Šteins

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Officer Bubbles an Artistic Inspiration?

officer bubbles Adam JosephsOfficer Bubbles an Artistic Inspiration?

Creative introspection causes me to realize I should – from time to time – pick up at least one of the many gauntlets thrown down by abusive authority, as demonstrated by officer Bubbles and others of the Metropolitan Toronto Police during the G20 summit.

I’m not naive enough to believe I will change anything, but a little push-back from the realm of free expression is a good thing; an artist’s obligation in fact.

Don’t rational citizens have a duty to question police actions against otherwise obedient citizens? The absolutely ridiculous containment of regular people by police who stripped off their own identity tags while deriding citizens detained in  makeshift holding pens can only be described as a grievous violation of human rights.

All of this encouraged and condoned by our own government.

This is my country, not some playground for police practice.

Shouldn’t artists use their talents to rail against abusive policing, against the diminutization of regular citizens to a crowd of lawbreakers and against unlawful detention coupled with the denial of basic rights?

Should we accept agent provocateurs posing as protesters breaking windows and inciting violence? Why should we turn a blind eye? Where is the justification?

There exists the implanted message within our psyche that authority looms over our heads like the sword of Damocles and if directly challenged, unpleasant consequences may result either behind the locked door of an interrogation cell or in the courts. You might even lose your life while in police custody, examples of this abound.

In my opinion the problem with policing stems from weaknesses found in human nature. Rarely can someone rise above their prejudices and function in a fair and honest way when asserting authority. The police officer who can detach their ego from the execution of their duties is a rare bird indeed. Too bad this isn’t the case with officer Bubbles and many others like him.

Look at the video below and tell me that this officer doesn’t suffer from some kind of instability. I would argue that his actions reflect a police culture sympathetic to and complicit in this kind of abusive authority.

With no remedy in sight, what can be done besides trying to shine a light on the dark side of policing?

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  1. Glenn October 27, 2010

    “Art and the Police” !! What has this to do with art??

    Leave the social commentary to social commentary sites… but since you raised the subject….

    We’ve all had detergent in the eye. Now imagine getting your eyes irritated this way by someone standing inches from your face and that person – or another – pulls a knife, broken bottle, brick, whatever and attacks you with it…

    And don’t tell me that none of that happened because it did. I have friends who are police officers and let me tell you the things they saw – had to put up with – was a magnitude greater than that shown on TV.

    What was the purpose of the “demonstrators”? To bait the police into doing something stupid and capturing it on video. These same idiotic people sleep in their beds at night knowing that, if needed, dialling 911 will bring them the help that they require… from the very same people they fought against during the day.


    I liked your site. I will not return.

  2. John Steins October 27, 2010 — Post author

    Glenn, it has everything to do with art and expression. I’m sure your police buddies will have many hard-luck stories over beers and hate. Had they done their job properly during the G20, respectful of a citizen’s right to peaceful protest much of this would have happened. Truth is our government and our police overstepped their boundaries time and time again. And for that they should be punished for betraying the trust of the very people they are supposed to protect.

    As far as using my site as a forum for “social commentary”, why not? Who are you to tell me what to publish? I have an obligation as an artist to point out the truth. It’s been said that art is a lie that exposes the truth.

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