Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: Right to Remain Silent

"Each of these stories centers around some guy and the guy in each story has the right to remain silent, and he does not exercise that right…each of these guys goes way out of his way to take the hard … Read More

By / September 15, 2010

"Each of these stories centers around some guy and the guy in each story has the right to remain silent, and he does not exercise that right…each of these guys goes way out of his way to take the hard way, not totally realizing what he’s getting into." Thus is Ira’s colloquial thesis on this week’s episode Right to Remain Silent. I suppose it also works as a resume for Ira’s work at This American Life as the resident tragic hero shedding glasnost on the banes of our existence. Think about this week’s sexpots as the Lee Marvins, the George Clooneys, or better yet, the Ed Nortons who gnaw themselves out of the gnarly grips of their love affairs with coyote ugly situations, sacrificing an arm in the process.


Act 1: How in the hell are the cops here because of Facebook?

I’m inclined to hold on to my Soviet paranoia suspecting Facebook to be in the hands of CIA/ FBI/NRA/KGB. And why shouldn’t it be? The personal content on there is so rich, dress it as a scumbag and the Burlusconi hos would be all over it. In this act, Ben Calhoon interviews sarcastic jerk Joe Lipari with no filter screwed hard first by the Geniuses at the big Apple store post-iPhone malfunction, as well as the cops of the Big Apple. Lipari will make you pant, not just with his big mouth, but also with the unwavering self-awareness he exudes as he is tried as a terrorist for mimicking the following cinematic rant à la classic Fight Club everyman Edward Norton on Facebook:


"If you understand I’m just a shmuck who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth closed, why are we here?" asks Lipari. Calhoon comments on that mindset that said offender refuses to surrender: that lack of reevaluation that would mean altered loyalties and altered self. Ultimately, he asks what only the wise motherfuckers consider: "Why am I going to worry about the people who hate me, and not the people who love me?" Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal: that’s lawspeak for Hannah Montana-style-pending-breakups. Mark my words.


Act 2: Maybe karma stole your car this morning.

It’s the goings on behind the May Village Voice story concerning recordings of illegalities within the NYPD. As much as bad boys can be a big turn on, this kind of 666 that takes a big toll on a community’s quality of life is as unsexy as randy clergymen’s jailbate rampages-some rocks are better left unoffed.

In any case, this act’s hero Adrian Schoolcraft is a finer with a heart of gold, taking on his precinct Coppola style. His Bedford Stuyvesant beat went under surveillance in his breast pocket, highlighting faux pas going down when quota season arrives and rampant arrests without cause become a commonality. The word for that kind of arrest? "Kidnapping," finds Ira.

Armed with recording gear, his aspirations to rid New York of some of it’s unkosher pigs led to a scandal, investigations, and a questioning of Schoolcraft’s mental stability. Of NYPD’s Joseph K., Village Voice reporter Graham Rayman says, "I would describe him as an extremely earnest person…almost too earnest. He actually believed he could get the police department to change." Which is more than Chicagoans outside of Mike Royko’s disposition could claim to their name (we’ve just been waiting for the dynasty to retire/ die off).

Recalling last week’s TAL meanderings, Schoolcraft did not have the same struggle as the truth-denying-for-the-greater-good Paladinos. Rather, it is revealed through questioning that his loyalty to fairness is fairly unchecked:

Q: Do you not have a wife and kids?

A: No.

Q: So you wouldn’t come up to people and give them a ticket?

A: No.

Q: Why Not?

A: Just wasn’t right.  


Meanwhile, his counterparts found themselves arresting New Yorkers willy nilly to meet quotas and their kids’ demands. Like last week, Schoolcraft is able to focus on what he saw as right instead of just choosing goodness to his family and sacrificing principles. Just another argument for the promiscuous, unfettered-by-the-snotnosed lifestyle, thank you very much.

Worse still, when serious crimes took place, the precinct would drive down the seriousness in paperwork to make it look like they are doing a better job at driving down crime in the area. "Maybe karma stole your car," suggested one of NY’s finest to a victim of theft for the reason that he had once served time years ago.

When Harold Hernandez, distinguished detective in Washington Heights, became aware of a serial rapist in the neighborhood whose previous rapes were downgraded to much less serious crimes in an attempt to shine upon the NYPD, it’s not surprising that his boner to serve was deflated and he promptly quit the force.

And like Glass, Lipari, Schoolcraft, Hernandez, recall Spike Lee’s Monty Brogan who also refused his right to remain silent, and propelled himself into raw awareness.

Standing behind a blue wall of silence, you betray our trust. Edward Norton.