Dallas Complaints Department

dallas complaints

Joshua Brown, left, answering questions from LaQuita Long, an assistant district attorney, in the murder trial of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger. Credit Pool photo by Tom Fox.

“The complainant was found lying on the ground in the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds,” the police said. “Dallas Fire-Rescue responded and transported the complainant to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries. Several witnesses heard several gunshots and observed a silver four-door sedan leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.”
(Neil Vigdor, “Witness in Murder Trial of Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger Fatally Shot, Lawyer Says,” NYTimes, 10-6-19)

The “complainant” was Joshua Brown.

(c) 2019 JMN

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Homepage | Dilbert by Scott Adams

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animation, mashups and more starring Dilbert, Dogbert, Wally, The Pointy Haired Boss, Alice, Asok, Dogberts New Ruling Class and more.
— Read on dilbert.com/

Parody Inversion Point

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The Dark Greys of Her Eyebrow

queen

Mr Cameron has released a book and spoken in a BBC documentary about his time in Downing Street. Getty Images.

Former PM David Cameron asked the Queen for “just a raising of the eyebrow even… a quarter of an inch” to convey opposition to Scottish independence in 2014. “I’ve already said perhaps a little bit too much,” he conceded recently. (“The Queen and David Cameron: What royal displeasure really means,” BBC.com, 9-19-19)

The Queen agreed with him. There’s an “understanding” about royal audiences, according to royal commentator Dickie Arbiter: Mums the word.

Royal correspondent Jonny Dymond reports the royal “displeasure” may be “something coming pretty close to real anger… It is difficult to imagine anything other than horror in the palace at David Cameron’s revelations.”

Pretty close, mind you. Verging on horror, if one can imagine. In the palace!

The Queen’s ostensible assignment is to swallow her tongue for all practical purposes. The Cameron case (amongst others) is said to highlight “the dark greys of the Queen’s constitutional position, the discretion she has or lacks [my emphasis], under extraordinary circumstances, to speak out and act.” Has or lacks! Take your pick.

Recent events suggest that the UK runs less on a written constitution than on a handshake amongst gentlemen. It’s an inconvenient truth in a post-gentlemanly age, nor does it make monarchy less baffling.

(c) 2019 JMN

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Ways of Looking

sontag

Moser’s deep dive into Sontag’s personal life and her work includes exploration of published and unpublished writings. Credit Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times.

Benjamin Moser has published “Sontag,” a biography of Susan Sontag. This favorable review of it left me mulling the following remark:

“Biography is a metaphor,” Moser said. “It’s not the person’s life; it’s writing about a person’s life. Just like a photograph — lots of people have taken photographs of [Sontag], and they’re all different. You have to find your way of looking at her, and this is my way of looking at her.”
(Nina Siegal, “A Big New Biography of Susan Sontag Digs to Find the Person Beneath the Icon,” NYTimes, 9-15-19)

Calling biography “metaphor” is interesting. In an age when persons blithely deny the nose on their faces, it would be comforting to fantasize that biography recounted events in a person’s life more than ways of looking at the person. It must be inevitable that biography would assume its place next to politics, history, and climate in this gaslit moment of counterfactual perspectivism.

(c) 2019 JMN

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American Dream Nicked

golden toilet

The golden toilet made by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Credit Tom Lindboe, via Blenheim Art Foundation.

Someone recently stole a solid gold toilet from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the family home of Winston Churchill. Its Italian creator named it “America.” The toilet was functional. Its theft “caused significant damage and flooding.”

Dominic Hare, the chief executive of Blenheim Palace, said he hoped the art piece would be recovered… “It is deeply ironic that a work of art portraying the American dream and the idea of an elite object made available to all should be almost instantly snatched away and hidden from view,” he said.
(Kaly Soto, “Going, Golden, Gone: 18-Carat Toilet Is Stolen,” NYTimes, 9-14-19)

Really? The American dream is a golden crapper? If the elite object is recovered, I suggest it find a permanent home in the Churchill family “palace.” Dreams are for sharing.

(c) 2019 JMN

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Possum Mechanics

quantum

Alejandro Guijarro, Tristan Hoare Gallery, London.

Max Planck invented the term “quantum,” writes Deepak Chopra, a professor of family medicine and public health, in a letter to the NYTimes. He quotes a 1931 interview with The Observer of London in which Planck said, “I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.”

Google riffs on “quantum” as “a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.”

I have coined the term “possum” to mean “a discrete quantity of possible understanding proportional in magnitude to the clarity of the assertion it measures.”

Sean Carroll, in “Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics” (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Sept. 7), asks whether consciousness is somehow involved in our observations of the world. How could it not be?… Physics… went down a path that either took consciousness for granted or shrugged it off as part of our fickle, subjective world… [A] new generation of physicists is open to the notion that you cannot get around consciousness. I’d say it’s about time.
(“From Deepak Chopra: You Can’t Get Around Consciousness,” 9-15-19)

The possum of understanding I receive from Dr. Chopra would be augmented in magnitude if he defined “consciousness,” and also mentioned exactly what he intuits so clearly that the physicists have missed.

(c) 2019 JMN

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When Is Kill Not “Over”?

dystopia

Samplerman.

The illustration made me read this essay by Michelle Goldberg (“Margaret Atwood’s Dystopia, and Ours,” NYTimes, 9-14-19). On first glance, the picture’s Dairy Queen Blizzard ™ of cartoon imagery made me grumpy. Whatever it purports to symbolize, I thought, this illustration is overkill.

So I read the essay, and the illustration wasn’t. The topic is grim, but the language Goldberg unleashes is upscale and anomalously bracing. The illustration aptly evokes the cacophony she pillories.

She mentions the “salvific” potential of words.

She introduces me to a mock Latin phrase, “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” Like most mock language, it needs little translating.

She refers to a reality that “feels as if it’s disintegrating under the weight of digital simulacra and epistemological nihilism [my emphasis].

American journalism traditionally targets a sixth-grade reading level so as not to leave too many in the lurch. This piece, however, flouts tradition. Whereas I’m often guilty of using words as shields, Goldberg uses them as swords. They’re “elite” words, yes — but penetrative, and wielded unflinchingly.

(c) 2019 JMN

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