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"Streisand Effect" or "King Syndrome"?

by Charles Carreon
September 9, 2013

A few weeks after the Rodney King-inspired L.A. riots of 1992, my son Joshua, then attending Santa Monica High, asked me, “Did you know the LAPD is changing its motto from ‘To serve and protect?’”

“No,” I answered. “What are they changing it to?”

“We treat you like a King!” he answered with laughing eyes asparkle.

I laughed and told him, “Yeah, well next time you see an LAPD black and white, you look at the fenders, and you’ll see hundreds of tiny little dings all down the side of the car. Those little dings were made by the belt-buckles of suspects thrown up against the car. So mind you don’t end up making one of those impressions.”

About another week later, Josh told me breathlessly, “You know what you told me about the dings in the cop car fenders? Well I looked, and you were right!”  I nodded with fatherly certitude. “Yeah, they’re almost all that way.”

Raising a boy in L.A. who liked to play with Krylon in empty lots required that type of information sharing. Of course, I had been manhandled by a gang of LAPD cycle cops one evening after my motorcycle got smacked out from under me like a toy hit by a billiard ball at fifty miles an hour, leaving me adrenaline-pumped and in no mood to see my bike impounded for a crime it did not commit. As the cycle pigs hauled on my arms, two on each one, I groaned, “Can we talk about this?” One blue meanie yelled in my ear, “We’ll talk about it after we break your arms, asshole!” Alas, fifteen years of aikido, yoga and taichi conspired to frustrate the good officers’ plan, and they finally gave up on the break-first, talk-later approach when I yelled, “For God’s sake, I’m a law student!” After the parting insults, they dispersed, leaving me to chat with the decent patrolman who told me where to de-impound my bike, and apologized for the conduct of the biker cops.

For about a year after that, I understood why LAPD shoot a lot of people. A lot of people want to shoot them because of the shit they pull. I certainly hoped a wad of lead would be the just rewards for the bastards who beat me up, and believe me, my arm hurt a long time after that. Not, of course, as long as Rodney King’s injuries.

Rodney’s purported sin, the one cops claimed justified the infamous beating that not one out of a hundred white men could survive, was one with which I am, nevertheless, quite familiar. They said that he resisted. That as he lay, flat on the ground, every involuntary twitch struck terror into the hearts of the big, club-wielding macho men. So they hit him again, and again, and again. Fifty-six times, as I recall.

And the all-white Simi-Valley jury, drawn from the well-known police-bedroom-community that houses the Ronald Reagan memorial library, bought that story. They acquitted those murder-minded embarrassments to the concept of just law-enforcement. And a city exploded in anger. Less than a year later, I moved out of L.A. with my family. The pleasure of living there was gone. A bitter scum of race hatred had started to circulate through the city, and I no longer felt safe. To put the lock on it, I tried a carjacking-related case in which black gangsters featured prominently, and I spent a lot of time dealing with some very decent LAPD cops as witnesses. The gang death toll for the year was in the triple digits before my birthday in April of 1994, and by the time I’d turned 38, we were residents of Ashland, Oregon again.

The LAPD cops didn’t call it “King Syndrome,” but I could define it as: “A defense to continued assault upon a prostrate victim whose failure to remain completely immobile while suffering a severe beating indicates, to the attacker, a continued effort to resist the beating.”

Of course, the killer pigs who pounded Rodney’s body into blood-soaked hamburger had to blame Rodney for the treatment they were administering. But what everyone in touch with reality knew was that the casual steadiness with which the cops committed their brutal baton bukkake revealed that this event was good times. It was a candid view of sadists torturing a man at taxpayer expense. It was way fucked up.

That LAPD beat people to death was no surprise to me. Even as a lad, my father told me that LAPD had beat my uncle Ray Hunter to death. Uncle Ray got rich selling a patent medicine remedy called “fluora-cubes,” a sort of chelation agent, as best I can determine. Ray apparently got on the wrong side of the L.A. enforcers by joining the L.A. Country Club, and insulting prominent physicians on the golf-course with his brazen sales pitch that literally involved telling people they were full of shit because they weren’t flushing their system with fluora-cubes. His wife, my Aunt Ray, discovered him in a hospital for the homeless, three days after he disappeared, beaten to a pulp, dying, and shortly, dead. She was left to raise their daughter in the house he’d bought them in the Normandy district of L.A.

But I digress and you grow impatient. Lured here with the magic phrase “Streisand Effect,” you’ve been treated to a civil rights lecture drenched in noir. So let us onward to the obvious.

The very term “Streisand Effect” is a Rapeutationist trick — taking over a great name, associating it with an idea the Rapeutationists want to advance, and destroying its prior beneficial association with the great person. “Streisand” was associated with the stirring love songs dear to the generation that came to adulthood in the sixties. She gave enjoyment and meaning to life for millions of people. Even I remember singing along to “People” with great enjoyment when I was an adolescent.

Now, because Barbra did what — acted litigiously in one circumstance of her life — her achievements are obscured by the howlings of a chorus of digital hyenas? She is a laughing-stock?

Well, in the minds of those who take what is written by Rapeutationists as true — yes. And one of the nation’s most loved and lauded singers is, first, a signal idiot, and second, a musical footnote.  Why?  Because she resisted.  Take it from one of my own Rapeutationists, Robert Stacy McCain, whose sage advice is as follows:

Look: If you are ever in a situation where your stupidity makes you a target, the correct thing to do is . . . nothing. Don’t react. Don’t try to defend yourself. Don’t lash out at your tormenters. Just ignore it until it is over. Learn your lesson, avoid repetition of the error, and be glad it wasn’t worse. People who merely describe your stupidity — however mocking and sarcastic their descriptions — have done you no wrong.”

McCain’s advice, being so solidly-grounded in an assumption that people being publicly shamed will immediately admit their “error” and submit to the demands of mass-mind, is imbued with the effrontery of the habitually victorious.  But I have always been slow to accept that large numbers of people are smarter than I, since the tests I was given by psychologists clearly showed otherwise.  Just because you are bigger than me doesn’t make you right.

As I stumbled through the gauntlet of my DIRA facing each hate-contorted visage shrieking ill-will in my face, I of course tried to maintain a manly posture. My profession is to prevail in adversity, and I answer only to myself and the laws. How insulting to the mass! No cowering. No apologies. No concession to their wisdom. How dare I sue Matt Inman! Indiegogo! All the saints in the Cyber-Temple!

In this, I may have resembled Rodney King early in the engagement, when he twice confronted his tormenters in a post-TASER rage. You always hope, that just for a second, they were afraid. But anyone watching the video knows they’re not afraid. They’re turned on. The idea that Rodney was going to grab a gun from one of them? Absurd. The first one to think that would’ve backed up, unholstered his gun, and taken aim. Rodney had no chance. Nor did I. It’s like watching an avalanche hit a ski lodge. No survivors.

So “Streisand Effect” does not, in fact, describe anything that arises due to the conduct of a Rapeutation victim. “Streisand Effect” is simply a description of an unrelieved assault by a distributed Internet mob, i.e., a DIRA. The idea that “Streisand did it to herself” is patently absurd. She did not launch, maintain, or participate in her own Rapeutation.

Like the LAPD cops who beat Rodney, the Rapeutationists get paid to launch, maintain and participate in DIRAs. It lends to a Rapeutationist’s credibility that he appear to be employed. Merely claiming “tech employment” in the Rapeutation-sphere is sufficient to make you a tech expert, at least enough to join in a scorn-a-thon against an object of hatred that has becomeau courant. In moments of mass hate, few will quibble with the grammar of your hate-speech. So in one sense it is an environment of universal goodwill, in which the Streisand Effect is born.

Mike Masnick is generally given credit for stealing Barbra Streisand’s name and turning it into a stalking horse for unbridled sadism. How’s that work, you say? You still need more lessons? Let’s go right to the fount of DIRA wisdom, shall we? A poster at Popehat puts it all in the right light in a post that explains why it took two trials to convict any of Rodney King’s tormentors:

“[I]f you really really really want to follow someone on the street, burst into their home, pull a gun, and shoot them to death, I suggest the following two-step process:

1) be a police officer with union representation.

2) say repeatedly “I thought he was going for a gun”. Even when no gun is ever found, keep saying this.

The post is, from a statistical point of view, unimpeachable. Fear of nonexistent guns by police is a widespread phenomenon, and they will kill you for it. And when they do, they do not go to jail.

This is because homicide is justified by reasonable fear, and it is not unreasonable to fear guns in a gun-riddled society. So to get away with murder, the killer almost always has to blame the victim.

Masnick knew what he was doing when he stole the name Barbra had burnished with a lifetime of work and used it as a weapon to blacken her. He gave the DIRA mob, and all future mobs, a convenient way to blame the victim, and argue that their Rapeutation was due to their own [general stupidity, Internet-idiocy, fill-in-the-blank-epithet]. “Streisand Effect” is a term applied retrospectively to explain a DIRA, in other words, it is a rhetorical device for allocating blame away from the obvious source of the action. For this type of thing, Masnick deserves payment. I don’t know what would be appropriate, but I’m thinking along the lines of what that gangster at the end of Pulp Fiction has in mind — gettin’ Medieval on his ass.


Comment by Charles Carreon, 5/14/2014:

A prosecutor up in Jackson County, Oregon with whom I worked in the nineties, Angie Lanier, told me how she had gotten an enhanced penalty against a kid who kicked another kid into a comba with his high-top athletic shoes, because the judge ruled that the boots were a deadly weapon. Cop boots will serve as well, as this video clip of a couple of uniformed Philadelphia criminals trying to kick Delbert Africa of the MOVE commune into a coma makes clear.

Frank Rizzo’s Storm-Troopers Beating Delbert Africa, Philadelphia, 1978