Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Making Themselves Understood

You might remember last May when the LAPD went on a rampage against demonstrators and bystanders at a a May Day immigration rally. Even at the time NPR had a hard time covering the story - though the cops roughed up one of NPR's own reporters.

Well, gosh. Turns out it was all just a problem of miscommunication, or as del Barco calls it "an old problem, making themselves understood." If only the police had had the Phraselator at the time - then they could have "made themselves understood" and gently escorted all those Spanish speaking folks out of the MacArthur park.

This morning's little police state propaganda piece really took it to a new limit. First Inskeep introduces the report: "The Los Angeles Police Department has a new crime-fighting tool. It looks like something Captain Kirk and his crew might have used in the original Star Trek series. This device was developed by the Pentagon for U.S. soldiers now serving in Iraq and could come in handy in lots of LA neighborhoods where English is rarely spoken."

Crime fighting tool? What crime? Marching in a park? Holding a demonstration? I realize it might disappoint Inskeep and Co., but such things are still legal. And that stupid, condescending comparison to Star Trek...ugh.

Then Mandalit del Barco gets in on the fun. She explains that "the main idea is for police to use the Phraselator for crowd control, to avoid the kind of chaos that happened last year during the huge May Day immigration rights march [ambient sound of police loudspeakers and popping noises]. Police in riot gear used batons and rubber bullets to sweep through MacArthur Park, trying to disperse the crowds, dozens were hurt, including Spanish speaking immigrants and newspeople. "

To avoid the kind of chaos? Excuse me. There was no chaos; there was an intentional police attack on a bunch of unarmed, unthreatening demonstrators, bystanders, and reporters.

Inskeep ends the report by crowing "To hear the Phraselator say, HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK! in five languages go to"


Porter Melmoth said...

Sleep well, NPR-troupers! Your fascist care-givers will protect you, whether from terrorists or from illegal aliens on the make. And you will remain free, free to enjoy upbeat musical interludes within NPR programming! Just keep listening...and obeying.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Man, that just ins-creeps me out; I can just imagine (and leave it at that) little Stevie chirping like this is such a GOOD thing! He's all too easily fascinated, it seems.