American media, the surveillance state, and police power

As with “24” and torture, most US crime shows & movies serve the purpose of supporting and justifying the surveillance state & police brutality. Who hasn’t watched ‘Law & Order’ and gnashed their teeth at the sleazy defense lawyer, and cheered for the White cop who just loses it and beats up the foreign/POC criminal? The popularity of the police/crime thriller genre is a triumph of state power over our minds. This is why I love such foreign programming as “Wallander.” Watching ‘Single-Handed’ and Inspector Lewis, for instance, you find yourself wondering wondering why you’re enjoying this show that doesn’t have as much violence as our usual fare. Reading Jo Nesbo’s novels, you find yourself thinking, ‘Harry, where’s your GUN??’ It doesn’t hurt, as far as I’m concerned, that Inspector Harry Hole’s favorite neighbor is a Pakistani shopkeeper, and he frequently snaps at racist police colleagues. The plot in Scandinavian shows such as ‘Wallander’ often follows the dangers of stereotyping the Other (Muslim, immigrant, etc.) American programming has a long way to go in not pandering to the fascination with an unbridled use of power.

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