Turn That Fucking Thing Off Right Now!

recording-policeOnce upon a time, in a city whose major streets have been subject to full-color video surveillance 24/7 for quite some time, in a shopping mall that subjects shoppers and staff to 24/7 surveillance, in a store that has its own private surveillance system, a brown-skinned man found himself surrounded by four hostile police officers—who, I hasten to add, have full-color video recording devices on their uniforms and cruisers. A 17-year-old bystander, a Dawson College student, who happened to be in the store, and was horrified by the way the officers were treating the guy, started recording the altercation with her cell phone. As soon as the cops realized what she was doing, one of them charged over to her and said: “Turn that fucking thing off right now!”

The surveillance state’s double-standard is made manifest in moments like this. We’re allowed to spy on you 24/7. We’re allowed to spy on your journalists. We’re allowed to read your emails and texts. We’re allowed to listen in on your phone conversations. But don’t you dare try to record us!

—John Faithful Hamer, Twilight of the Idlers (2016)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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