Why All Cops Are Bad (In Media) PART1: The Good Guy With A Gun | Jack Saint
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Why All Cops Are Bad (In Media) PART1: The Good Guy With A Gun | Jack Saint

[DISCLAIMER: AUDIO GLITCHES HAVE LED TO TWO MUTED CLIPS FOR SOME MOBILE DEVICES. THERE ARE NO ISSUES BEYOND THOSE TWO CLIPS. CONSIDER REWATCHING ON DESKTOP OR USING HEADPHONES TO AVOID THIS. APOLOGIES FOR THE INCONVENIENCE!] – [Harry] Go ahead, make my day. – [Narrator] Season three episode 15 of the popular 60s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” starts as episodes of the show often do with Sheriff Deputy Barney
Fife getting himself into some high jinks. – All right, I’m gonna count to 10 and then I want the man
that threw that paper– – [Narrator] Fife was always
one of the defining parts of the show’s popularity. The stereotypical bumbling small-town cop, constantly lecturing other
members of the community while being basically incapable of successfully doing his job. In this episode, “Andy and the Governor,” we begin with Barney
telling off some old-timers in the middle of littering
outside the police station. When they protest the
importance of such a thing, Deputy Fife is quick to assert to them that upholding the law here is as important as anywhere else. As the law above all else
should be straightforward, firm and consistent. In his own words– – Wrapper. – I’ll tell you what’s
so terrible about it. You start with gum wrappers,
and then it’s paper bags. Then newspapers, then
tin cans, then rubbish, first thing you know,
Mayberry’s up to here in litter. Now litter brings slums
and slums brings crime. Now is that what you want to
see started here in Mayberry, a crime wave?
(audience laughing) – Of course soon after
we get the punch line. with the county governor’s limo
riding right up to the curb, with the governor’s chauffeur in tow, in an area clearly marked no parking. The old-timers make a few jabs at Barney, assuming he’s obviously not going to go against his own superiors
just to prove a point. And then something happens. Barney writes the ticket. To stand by his principles, Barney goes against the establishment. This is roundly seen as a
bad call by those around him, including his own Sheriff Andy who admits he technically
did the right thing while pointing out he probably could have just let that one slide. Then the expected call
comes from the governor, bursting into praise of
Barney for his actions and informing the sheriff that he plans to head down to the
station and meet with Fife to thank him for his
bravery and willingness to stand by the law. Most of the remaining episode is taken up by gags relating to Barney being nervous about meeting the governor, getting wasted in the middle of the day, then cleaning up just
in time to shake hands and nervously thank him for his words. – Thank you. – And that’s season three episode 15 of “The Andy Griffith Show.” So here’s a question
to kick off this video. What does this episode tell
us about the nature of justice and order in American society? Now obviously that’s subjective. You could read a lot of different things out of this episode. But I think my reading is a
fairly straightforward one that not only is it good
to stand by your principles in the face of personal inconvenience but that it’s good even if those around
you tell you it’s bad. And in fact, not only will standing by your principles ultimately be accepted by the establishment it
can even be celebrated and all thanks to that one simple almost entirely harmless act of defiance. I think it’s worth noting that this is one of the
only times in the shows run that Barney not only
successfully enforces the law but gets this level of praise for it in the five seasons he was
in “The Andy Griffith Show” and his short-lived
spin-off “Mayberry RFD.” So what does the show get
out of telling the audience that this is the way justice
occurs in this society? What is the importance
of telling us as viewers that this relationship is one
of simple misunderstandings and imbalances that can
be easily cleared up as long as the cops do their jobs? So anyway I’ve been watching
Dirty Harry movies all week. I just finished writing a video about them and I’m sorry to tell you all
that I’m officially a cop. (fingers snapping) Now put away that fat blunt! Cutesy little 50s cops are out. Sick arse 80s cops in. – This rifle might make a nice souvenir but it’s inadmissible as evidence. – [Harry] And who says that? – It’s the law. ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s ♪ ♪ Well then the law’s, law’s crazy ♪ – Also a quick note is that
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you enjoy it, you punks. Have you ever had a friend say something that you initially think must be a joke but then you’re actually not
sure if they were serious. But then you keep
talking and get the sense maybe it was a joke about the idea of someone making that joke? But also maybe they were serious
about the point being made by joking about the idea
of making that joke? What you just heard is
basically the viewing experience of watching the Dirty Harry movies and actually trying to keep track of the messages in the films. Did you know there was
more than one by the way? There’s five. But with my demographics, I’m sure some of you don’t even
know what a Dirty Harry is. So quick rundown. (dramatic music) Dirty Harry was a smash hit
action thriller released in December 1971. Two years into Richard Nixon’s first term and also two years into the Zodiac Killer’s
horrific murder spree. The film takes clear cues from both, the story of a renegade maverick
cop doing whatever it takes to protect his city from the threat of a blackmailing spree
killer known only as Scorpio. Actually he’s also known as the Killer. That’s what gets called in the credits. I guess that’s just a
confusing name for the police to give a murderer? More thefts, this must be
the work of the Stealer. Inspector Harry Callahan
do not give a fuck. Introduced in the film
gunning down two bank robbers in crowded public areas
and almost killing a third after apprehending him against
the orders of his superiors, you probably know the cop
archetype we’re working with here. – You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?
(alarm blaring) – [Narrator] The thing is
Dirty Harry is the archetype. If you’re not familiar, Harry
Callahan is literally one of the most influential
portrayals of a cop in media in living memory. – I don’t want any more trouble like you had last year on
the South Side, understand? That’s my policy. – Yes, well when I see five
weirdos dressed in togas, stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people,
I shoot the bastard. That’s my policy. – That was a Shakespeare
in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron. – In the same way we probably don’t get Chief
Wiggum without Barney Fife, without Dirty Harry we
probably don’t get Jack Bauer. Spike Spiegel, Rust Cohle,
the Punisher or Ethan Thomas. You don’t remember Ethan
Thomas from “Condemned”? He has very dense bones. (bones crunching)
(man groaning) In Harry’s case he has
very dense moral values which, based on his actions in the movie, largely consist of an obsession with catching and punishing criminals and a general disregard for public safety and also an inexplicable lack of knowledge about even the most basic
aspects of law enforcement. – You’re lucky I’m not indicting you for assault with intent to commit murder. – What? – Does Escobedo ring a bell, Miranda? – Harry represents an absolute caricature of the maverick cop who
doesn’t play by any rules, up to and including
respecting basic human rights. Something his fellow cops
are very keen to point out. – What I’m saying is that man had rights. – Well, I’m all broken up
about that man’s rights. – But at the end of the day,
the film makes him right. And it turns out someone as ruthless as Harry is
exactly what it requires to take down a monster like Scorpio. He stops him from kidnapping
a school bus full of children and the day is saved. But for Harry something
still doesn’t feel right. How can he uphold and stand for a system that seems so against supporting the only people doing anything
to try and fix society. Harry takes his inspector badge and tosses it out into the lake. He might still believe
in fighting for justice but he’s fed up fighting for the law. Incidentally he goes back
to being an inspector before the start of the second movie and stays that way for
the rest of the series. Guess he just said he lost his badge in the couch or something. This is almost one of those films that doesn’t require any in-depth analysis because it’s so on the nose about basically everything
it’s trying to say. Harry is shown doing generally
unobjectionable things like shooting back at criminals
who opened fire on him and beating up people who try to steal school buses full of children. Everyone around him,
including his superiors, deliberately get in his way and try to stop him solving crimes and in the end only he is there
to stop the really bad guy who wants to do really bad things. And then he literally throws the symbol of law enforcement into a ditch. The point being made is that law enforcement
nowadays is ineffective and too caught up in
soft-hearted liberal principles and there’s no longer a
place for people like Harry who just want to get the job done. Hey maybe we’d be catching
that Zodiac Killer if we weren’t so caught up in things like giving people
trials and human rights. It’s what you expect. It’s the same conservative talking point that takes the incredibly flimsy and easily corruptible position of giving police absolute authority and tries to pass it off as
some kind of personal freedom that’s being encroached on. Maybe good cops like Harry
should always be allowed to do what they want
because it’s the only way to stop bad guys. Bad guy with a gun meets
good guy with a gun. So because of how
seemingly straightforward the presentation was here, I went into this entirely expecting this was just gonna be one
movie I briefly mentioned in a list of a bunch of other movies, all in one big cop movie video. Then I watched the sequel and
something unexpected happened. The film kind of agreed with me? (dramatic music) The second Dirty Harry
movie “Magnum force,” was released two years after the first, right around the time of Watergate and the events leading to Republican President
Richard Nixon’s resignation. It is, fittingly, a film
that is a lot more suspicious of the ideology of its hero. Callahan is back to
doing what he does best, gunning down crooks and
disrespecting authority. At this point Harry just
showing up at a case is enough for every other cop to start flipping out. Which maybe brings up
questions of how the hell he’s still in the force, but moving on. The tone for this one is
set almost immediately with a team of smug dirty
businessmen being pulled over by a gruff cop who refuses
to be intimidated by them. Ah this is a Dirty Harry movie. So maybe this is Dirty Harry
our ape brain tells us. But then the cop just comes right out and guns them all down in their seats. In fact (coughs) thank you for liking my tweet Maggie Mae Fish. In fact this is the case the actual Harry will be investigating in which vigilante cops have
taken to murdering criminals and so-called degenerates without
trial and without remorse. All the while, Harry, not
knowing this motivation, continues to think the same way he always has about law enforcement. In fact in this movie
there’s a lot more people out to validate him on that. An old army pal drunkenly
pulls him aside at one point and solemnly admits to him that– – These days a cop kills
a hoodlum on the street he might as well just
dump the body someplace because those snot-nosed young bastards down at the DA’s office will
crucify him one way or another. A hood can kill a cop,
but let a cop kill a hood! Am I right? – Women swoon for him, even kids love him. It’s just those darn superiors who somehow don’t get
his immediate appeal. You know, now that I think about it, a lot of things seem to be
going Harry’s way in this movie. In one scene he suddenly
decides to break rank and poses an airline pilot
aboard a commercial plane that’s been hijacked by terrorists. And despite going in with no backup and instigating a shootout in a highly compact area
filled with hostages, he manages to single-handedly
take down all the bad guys with no civilian casualties. With that, maybe we’ll make
a point about it later. And hey look, Harry’s even
being a bit of a woke bae. – They stick together
like flypaper, you know. Everybody thought they
were queer for each other. – Tell you something, the rest
of you could shoot like them, I wouldn’t care if the whole
damn department was queer. ♪ Comin’ up ♪ – [Harry] I wouldn’t care if the whole damn department were queer. – So criminals keep dying,
Harry keeps investigating, his superiors keep complaining and finally he comes
face-to-face with the perps, a team of ex special forces traffic cops who believe or at least think they believe all the same things as Harry
about justice and the law. – It’s not just a question of whether or not to use violence. There simply is no other way, Inspector. You of all people should understand that. – In Callahan’s own words however, they have misjudged him and he continues on his
mission to take ’em down. Harry winds up under fire
from not just the traffic cops but even one of his superiors. The one who kept telling him
to respect basic human rights and that we should have known. And in the end Harry once again proves that a renegade vigilante cop like him is the only reliable way of
stopping the real bad guys. I had always imagined Dirty Harry as being a series where
the first one was a classic and the others were just sort of there. So I wasn’t expecting “Magnum Force” to be both more engaging just as a story but also have way more
interesting things to say on a political level. Clearly this was a film
that was highly aware of the criticisms of its predecessor as a borderline fascist
apologetic hero’s journey for a corrupt and bloodthirsty bigot. Look he has a black sidekick now, oh jeez. But regardless, the decisions
who place the villainous role on fans of Dirty Harry,
who don’t get Dirty Harry, was a bold one that I
personally appreciated. You know, with the help of this
movie we can finally clarify that what Harry does is a
completely different kind of vigilantism to the
other guys because… So have you ever heard the
term Thermian argument before? To catch everyone up, it
was a form of rhetoric posed by YouTuber Dan Olsen in his video titled
“The Thermian Argument.” The idea is that generally when we try to analyze or
criticize works of fiction, we do so with the acknowledgement that it is a work of fiction. In his own words– – The only reason anything is the way that it is is because a writer
chose to make it that way. – The Thermian argument is one that seeks to dismiss criticism of
the work on the basis that the things being criticized have some in-universe justification. So for instance, it’s not fair to criticize women always being put in damsel-in-distress roles in movies. That’s just the role those specific women in those specific stories happen to have. Or it’s not fair to
criticize horror movies for demonizing the mentally ill. It’s just those specific
mentally ill characters who happen to be mass murderers. In this case the argument would be it’s not fair to criticize the
character of Harry Callahan for glorifying police brutality. The only people who end up
suffering the consequences of that are people we
already know are bad. So why am I bringing this up? Well because it’s basically
the Thermian argument that the team behind this film are using to justify the difference between Harry and these traffic cops. To everyone but Harry and the audience, Harry’s actions are
basically indistinguishable from what these cops are doing. He’s torturing and gunning
down random suspects and putting the lives
of the public in danger. The traffic cops are doing the same. This is even something
directly highlighted by the dirty superior
at the end of the film who threatens to tell the precinct that Harry was in fact
the shooter all along. – And who’s gonna believe you? You’re a killer, Harry, a maniac. – The movie deals with this complication about how you’d expect. It throws in a plot beat to
make the problem go away. In Harry’s own words, “A man has to know his own limitations.” The response the film has
to critics of the first are that they failed to factor in that Harry is actually just an
especially, really good cop. So it doesn’t really matter if he’s acting in the same erratic, unapologetic, quick-on-the-trigger vigilante
way the corrupt cops are. Sure he instigates fights in public areas and disrupts actual investigations for some quick retribution
but don’t worry, nobody good will get shot. Harry will shoot all of the
bad guys first, really quickly. And because we’ve written them all to be unapologetic evil monster people, we can say with certainty that they were definitely just
going to cause more trouble. – I want to go home to my mother! – What?
– I want to go home my mother!
– You want to go home to shut up.
– (hand slaps) Start to sing! – And when a situation
like the end crops up where Harry has to
seriously consider the idea of taking out a superior
for the greater good of not letting him continue
to corrupt the police force, a car bomb happens to go off. The movie consistently finds ways to write around Harry
facing the consequences and moral grays that inevitably come with giving vigilante cops free rein to act as judge, jury and executioner. Where the only straightforward
conclusion would be that heroes like Harry are good but if we allow people like him, we’re also allowing people
like those traffic cops. The movie instead says,
those stupid traffic cops. Why can’t they just be more like Harry and never make mistakes
and say cool things like– – Go ahead, make my day. – It’s a surprisingly
effective bait-and-switch providing a highly orchestrated reality where Harry can do all the same things that corrupt and violent cops do but avoid any of the criticism
behind that comparison by letting him skip
the inevitable outcomes of giving cops that kind of power. So you see kids, Dirty Harry couldn’t be brazenly glorifying a
brutal criminal regime. Nothing bad happens when he does it and he kills the cops where it does. And so it was that all
of the viewers came out staunchly anti-fascist
with no further confusion about unaccountable law
enforcement or, oh no, oh no! (upbeat music) In this movie Harry
teams up with a feminist to take down the Black Panther Party. Thanks, Hillary. Or at least that’s a part of the film which is focused on Harry
being forced to team up with a female partner in
a case against a group of radical extremist revolutionaries. I also just have to
mention how the film starts with just a perfect
representation of exactly what I was talking about before with the trend of the
universe kind of molding around Harry to justify his behavior. In this case Harry is introduced trying to resolve a hostage
situation in a liquor store in the safest way possible. And he does so by meeting
with the criminals, agreeing to their demands,
then walking over to his car and just driving it
straight through the store and then getting out of his
car and shooting them all. Don’t worry, the hostages
are just sort of gone. Oh wait, there they are. Good thing they weren’t anywhere near the criminals holding them hostage. Then it just seemed like a terrible plan. – You took out two front
doors, one front window, 12 feet of counter, plus damages. (bright music) – So Harry gets reprimanded, gets bumped down to processing personnel and gets mad when he finds
out a woman officer got in because of affirmative action. Ah, but don’t worry, he’s wrong about her. We told you he wasn’t racist,
we told you wasn’t a homophobe and now he’s definitely not a sexist. – Welcome to homicide. (upbeat music) I wouldn’t care if the whole
damn department was queer. Now, I’m gonna ask you just one last time. Where’s Wanda? – Other than that it’s
essentially business as usual. Harry repeatedly acts
with needless violence towards suspected criminals, endangering the lives of the public but it’s okay because in
the end he gets results. Because you need your good guy with a gun to beat the bad guy with a
gun and yadda yadda yadda. And his lady partner
dies for the same reason the film’s antagonists
are a vague representation of far left extremists. Just to keep it clear that
these movies will accommodate for the liberal critics but not too much. (explosion booming) Hey, it’s been a while
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a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s no harm in giving it a shot. Back to the vid. (upbeat jazzy music) Released a full seven years
after the previous film this is what I like to
call their transition to the old snake era of Dirty Harry where he’s slowly
becoming a cranky grandpa, increasingly unconvincing as
the wish-fulfillment super cop he continues to be. The film walks an interesting tightrope where it’s in many ways tries to accomplish the same objectives
as the previous two films, answering criticisms of the
films made by detractors. But it also kind of feels
like they forgot half the shit that happened in the other movies. For as much as “Magnum Force”
tried to stress the importance of a line between Harry’s
actions and that of a vigilante with Harry being better by virtue of only doing what’s necessary. Here he’s being as absurdly
impulsive and dangerous to civilians and criminals alike, as ever. – Are you aware that you
have destroyed months of surveillance and intelligence work? We’re talking here thousands of dollars, hundreds of man hours. Special Investigations
has been busting it’s ass, preparing a case against Threlkis. – Maybe we saved the
taxpayers a little money? – At one point he steals
a bus full of old people to chase down a suspect. A bus full of old people! This is like barely one stage removed from the cartoonishly
evil thing the bad guy did in the first movie. So in this entry, Harry
relearns the lesson that feminism is good, actually. Aiding a woman hoping to live out a rape revenge murder fantasy. Yep, this one gets pretty heavy. So Harry is initially put on a case to solve a rash of killings which we later find
out have been committed as a form of retribution by a
one woman, Jennifer Spencer, against a group of men who had in the past gang raped her and her sister. On finding out about all this, Harry helps her kill the
rest and cover everything up. – I think you’ll find
his gun there was used in all the killings. – Now what I want to make clear
is whether it’s good or bad that Harry helped her in and of itself that’s not the point here. The point is in highlighting that this once again falls
completely out of line with what these movies
have previously said. Harry’s entire justification
for acting recklessly and murdering criminals
with no due process is because he believes he
does so only when necessary and with direct provocation. These killings are not
being directly provoked. The victim in this case
is directly seeking out these men to murder them all and at the end is satisfied
having slaughtered the lot with the help of Harry. Harry even reminds us
of this contradiction near the end of the
film discussing the line between good and bad uses of violence. – Revenge. – The oldest motivation known to mankind. – And you don’t approve? – Until it breaks a law. (bright music) – The great white– – So what actual point is being made here? There isn’t actually a line
between what Harry is doing and any other vigilante? Is the difference between
a hero and a villain just whoever you happen to agree with? And on its own that’d be a
pretty inoffensive point, right? Yes, the difference between
a good guy and a bad guy at the end of the day is what you think makes someone good or bad unless you believe in a
faith where a third party like a god is deciding what
makes things right or wrong. If not, yeah. If you think a rape victim
should have the right to murder their rapist at any time this character’s actions are
good or at least neutral. And if you think they shouldn’t,
what she’s doing is bad. Harry thinks it’s good, which
is why he helps her get away with the exact actions he
punished the traffic cops for in the second movie. But the key thing to note here is Harry is not just an individual. He may have tossed his badge
way back in the first movie but Harry is still a
representative of the law. And if I can make a big claim here, I think all of this perceived
contradiction was on purpose. I think that in the way
this story plays out there was a deliberate sleight of hand to obfuscate that the beliefs
Harry Callahan represents are becoming even more radical. And they did it by framing a
scenario sympathetic enough to discourage it from too much criticism. After the series hasn’t once so much as mentioned sexual assault, after three movies now
a rape victim emerges in a starring role,
out for bloody revenge, appearing to tell our
protagonists things like this. – Did you know you’re
an endangered species? This is the age of lapsed responsibilities and defeated justice. Sorry, I’m sure you get that
sort of thing all the time. – I don’t hear it enough. – I joked at the start about
this being an extension of Harry’s journey into a feminist icon. But it does feel like that’s how cynically this is played out. While “Magnum Force” came
to justify the brutal and remorseless pseudo
fascist of the original. – I’m afraid you’ve misjudged me. – Now it’s being repackaged
back to us through this film but it’s being sold to us in the shape of someone the audience is
more obviously predisposed to sympathizing with
especially more liberal critics who criticized the message in the past. It’s not that the team behind Dirty Harry suddenly thought that sexual assault was a serious
thing worth talking about. Jennifer exists very transparently
as a reflection of Harry. Her arc, existing solely
as a parallel to his, to help justify his beliefs that he, as an officer of the law, should be able to do anything he pleases, up to and including murder without need of legal justification. All he needs is to
believe that he is good, that he is righteous. Hey, did I mention there was
a bunch of Christ symbolism in the first movie? No, well imagine that I did and now I’m referencing it again. Whoa, didn’t think I’d
bring that back, did ya? Shows that I thought this one through. (quiet bass thumping music) Now this is the big one. This was the Dirty Harry movie that made me realize I couldn’t
just talk about Dirty Harry in the context of a broader
discussion of cop movies. This needed to be its own video. Because in the fifth and final entry of the Dirty Harry cinematic universe, the filmmakers pose the question of how responsible sensationalist media is for glorifying violent retribution and blames punk-rock and horror movies. (upbeat rock music) Now I’ll be fair, the
film does not offer this as the only possible cause
of increased violence. They also blame mental illness. – Diagnosis was process schizophrenia. – This was by far the most
all-over-the-place movie in this series, politically. Speculating on a variety of
things as possible causes for the perceived crime wave at the time, up to and including the character
of Harry Callahan himself. – Can I shake your hand? – It’s that one Mitchell
and Webb Nazi skit in cinematic form. Here old man Callahan is paired up with a Chinese-American sidekick. Don’t get too excited
he’s a kung fu expert, protected by ancient Chinese magic. In a case of public
figures and celebrities, inexplicably dropping like flies. So they all start dying and Harry is forced to bump
shoulders with movie producers who he immediately derides for not insisting a murdered
actor took less drugs. – Look, Johnny had
agents, lawyers, friends. If he had a drug problem it was their job to take care of it, not mine. – Well, that’s a very caring attitude. – Oh sorry, Harry. I forgot how much worse
private drug use was than say ramming a car
into a hostage situation or driving a bus full of old
people into a murder suspect. (tires screeching) – That’s a very caring attitude. (glass crashing)
(people gasping) That’s very caring attitude. Well I’m all broken up
about that man’s rights. That’s a very caring attitude. – It turns out the list of
deaths match up with the, it matches with a… So remember a few months back when there was that Momo
challenge scare where a bunch of baby boomer Facebook
groups circulated a story about all these kids getting caught up on this phone game the Momo challenge where they called a number and then the number would tell them to do more and more depraved
and dangerous things and eventually kids started dying from it? But then this didn’t actually happen and it was just a hoax made
up to scare old people? So it turns out the Dead Pool
is an underground challenge, popular with teens where they guess which celebrities are going
to die in the next year. And the lead investigation is about whether an impressionable
team took the game too far and started killing people. Now to be clear, this does
not end up being the case. It’s just one of many
suggestions the film has for what leads to criminal behavior. Journalists, hungry for a
splashy headline, are also blamed and, yes, the film does go as far as to suggest the media glamorization of rogue cops like Callahan
may have helped contribute to this issue. – [Man] I’d just like to thank you, pal. It’s about time somebody did something about garbage like Gennaro. – (laughs) Yeah. – Lo and behold, Callahan is forced into providing a profile
story for a hungry journalist in return for not suing him when in a fit of rage he
absolutely annihilates one of their cameras. Callahan incites a prison murder. – He says that smoking can cause cancer and anyone who smokes as much as you do is
one dumb son of a bitch. – Well. (growls) – And as the case develops, his journalist companion becomes
increasingly guilt-ridden over the part she may have
played in influencing the killer. This reaches its zenith, when her and Callahan
encounter a man threatening to set himself on fire because he wants to be a local celebrity. Once again the film never
proclaims this as the root cause, just another suggestion. And another, as the horror
movie producer involved with the deaths is accused
of influencing the killer through his films. – Well, do you feel there’s any parallel between the deaths in Hotel Satan and the death of Johnny Square’s Molly. – Oh, for god’s sake,
that’s a stupid question. – And in the end it’s schizophrenia. It’s a delusional fan who thinks the director stole his movie and wants to get revenge. He was mentally ill. That’s why he did it. This is the closest thing to a root cause to the killings the film really suggests. And honestly it’s just perfect
in the context of this movie. After giving us a broad list of a dozen different
possible societal reasons for what would lead to a spree killing, in comes the almost comforting assurance that, no, this is actually just because a guy had a bad brain and unfortunately you can’t jail someone just for being mentally ill. – I’m sorry this is one instance
where the system failed. – Then Harry harpoons him through a wall. So, yeah, there’s a lot
going on in this film. It takes half steps to blame
a bunch of different factors for criminal violence
including the existence of Dirty Harry himself,
then half steps away. It’s easy to read this as a response to the continued moral outrage
against Harry as a character. How can you blame these
movies for glorifying violence when there’s so many
other things out there? Ultimately the film attempts
to do the same thing all sequels of that original
Dirty Harry film have done, an attempt to defuse and ideally normalize the
extreme political position on law enforcement that
Harry Callahan represents. One thing needs to be made
clear, above all else, about these movies. Dirty Harry does not change. Harry is not Scrooge. There is no grand realization he has that makes him totally
reconsider his beliefs. He continues to do all the
utterly irresponsible things we saw in the first movie
right up to the fifth. The only thing that ever really changes is how he chooses to frame
his beliefs to others. Other than that, he is unchangeable, as is often pointed out
by other characters. – Callahan is the one constant
in an ever-changing universe. – So I guess it’s time to
answer the big one here. Why does any of this matter? So I’ll now present our word of the day because it’s very
important for understanding how the vague blur of a franchise that is the Dirty Harry
movies can manifest into a coherent and
acceptable political ideology to so many people to such an extent that the President himself
was quoting lines from movies. – And I have only one thing
to say to the tax increasers, “Go ahead, make my day.” (audience laughing) – And invoking Dirty Harry imagery when discussing crime
and law enforcements. Our word is recuperation. (bright music) Political recuperation
at a most basic level refers to the ways extreme and
radical ideas can be twisted and absorbed into something that fits within a more socially
acceptable environment. For the prime modern
media example of this, I always like to talk about
the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad. Oh Pepsi, you saw that people
were really into protesting for their rights lately but you also knew that being too specific on the protests might alienate
some of your audience. So in an ingenious ploy, you co-opted all the imagery of protests to capitalize on the movement
without the possible offense of supporting any actual cause. (dramatic music) And hey, you want to see another form of political recuperation? Yeah, that’s right we
brought it back around. So when Barney Fife stood
up against the expectation that he’d let the governor’s
parking ticket slide that was its own form of recuperation. Fife was invoking the
ideals of standing up for what’s right even
if those around you try to tempt you otherwise. And the message communicated
was this is fine. It may have felt dangerous and radical but there really were no tangible or threatening consequences
to this action. Barney is loved, Barney is praised. Barney returns to the status quo and in his own way Sheriff
Deputy Barney Fife himself represents a form of recuperation. He is repeatedly shown
to be utterly incompetent in his duties as an officer. He will wrongfully imprison people. He will wrongfully imprison himself. He will accidentally discharge his firearm as much as once an episode. But through the process of belonging to this quaint picturesque little sitcom, an officer like Barney can be recuperated, processed into its most
socially acceptable form. All it takes is changing out the true lasting negative consequences of these law enforcement behaviors and the behavior becomes permitted. And hell, I guess if you
wanted to go even further, try to make it all gritty and serious, really convince the audience that this was a representation of the real world they lived in, but you kept that habit of recuperation, you could probably
convince a lot of people that a lot of extremist
beliefs can be made acceptable. So a lot of the time
it’s the more lefty side that people are referring to when they talk about recuperation. The left tends to be really good at making genuinely interesting stylistic and aesthetic decisions that help draw in mass appeal. Unfortunately the left
also tends to propose ideas that directly oppose the
interests of large corporations. So the aesthetics get
taken and not the ideas. Despite this, recuperation can manifest in many different ways
to any ideology seen far outside the norm. And what I’d like to suggest today is that the Dirty Harry series as the prototypical
renegade vigilante series from which so many others were
spawned is a perfect example of recuperated extreme
authoritarian beliefs. As I’ve made a note of with
every film in this series we’ve covered following the first one, the Dirty Harry movies
have a unique preoccupation with responding directly
to criticisms made of the previous films. Once again Harry gets
accused of being a fascist, so he explicitly distinguishes
himself from fascists. Harry is accused of being bigoted, so he says a vaguely nice
thing about gay people and gets a female partner
and even a nice Chinese man. And when the more extreme aspects of Harry’s beliefs rear
their ugly head again, such as losing their justification that Harry will only act when left with no options and provoked, it’s slipped to the audience in the most socially
acceptable form imaginable, helping a victim of brutal
sexual assault seek justice. And by the fifth movie an admittance that sure maybe these movies
could arguably have contributed to a media glamorization of
righteous brutal vengeance but, hey, it could be lots of stuff. It would obviously be
a huge stretch to say that Dirty Harry directly caused
a lot of real-world deaths. It’d be the kind of thing
you need a very direct link to even begin to claim. What isn’t a stretch is to suggest Dirty Harry’s
rhetoric was extremely appealing to a lot of people both
liberals and conservatives even though what it basically
represented was the belief that we should grant authority, absolute and unquestioned power. It was a message that resonated
with more than just cops. I do not for a second
think that of all places, the U.S.A. would be home to a population that think it would be good
for a totalitarian state to dictate a supreme
order over the common man. I’m sure they exist but
they are not a majority. So why did Dirty Harry
resonate with so many when that’s basically what he represents? Dirty Harry does not
respect the court of law or the investigative process,
or human rights in general. He respects having the
freedom to inflict justice on those he has decided are bad and wrong. It’s easy to forget that before this film, Clint Eastwood had made his
name in Wild West movies where he played the ruthless sheriff or the vigilante outlaw. But I do think it speaks to the calculated effort
Dirty Harry represents to recuperate radical authoritarian ideas into acceptable discourse. When you’re introduced to Harry
and you don’t just see Harry but every no-nonsense
law bringer from a time when it was just you, an open desert, and a thousand miles of rogue bandits that once again makes it feel more normal when you see a police officer threaten and torture and murder criminal suspects, constantly endangering
civilian lives in the process. And anytime criticism occurs, anytime call-outs are made,
that feeds the recuperation. It gives Eastwood & Company another avenue to clear up the problematic
holes in Harry Callahan, to invent the most acceptable version of the brutal and righteous killer cop. And so in the end we get
our Thermian arguments. Are extreme ideological
propaganda justified by a parody levels of
in-universe convenience? The whitewashing of
unjustified police violence and brutality into a form where it appears to be the most rational option. – Everybody wants results
but nobody wants to do what they have to do to get it done. – And that’s how we get Dirty Harry, everyone’s favorite corrupt, sadistic, authoritarian dictator. And it doesn’t matter
that by almost any metric, we know now that Harry Callahan was wrong. The tough on crime policies
of the ’70s and ’80s, the emphasis of punitive
over rehabilitive justice, the heavily misguided war on drugs, all of this ultimately
served to provide the U.S. with little but a
skyrocketing prison population and cycles of alienation and recidivism. And of course questions
of things like gun control and systemic racism. These things are hardly even suggested because the Dirty Harry series
had established the narrative and in it shaped a world where Harry’s law could be justified. And that’s just one part of
why all cops are bad in media. So as I’ve mentioned, when
I started writing this it was originally going to
be a more expansive look on the evolution of cop movies. In fact I haven’t really
begun to answer the question this video is named after, “Why
All Cops are Bad in Media.” But in watching this I hope you understand why I chose to start from this seed and hopefully as we keep going here you’ll see where a lot of
these ideas filter elsewhere. Next up I want to delve further into the tricky subject of recuperation and specifically how even
the most explicit critiques of extremist ideology
can be commodified back into the system. And I think I know a
couple more movie cops who could definitely help
us out in that regard. – [Man] Nice shootin’
son, what’s your name? – [Murphy] Murphy. (gentle music) – Move it right along! – Hey, thanks for watching. Just want to cap things
off with one final reminder to check out NordVPN for a
reliable and affordable option if you want to help protect
your online security. One final time, that’s a 75% discount and a free month of the service over at nordvpn.com/jacksaint. I genuinely find them to be one of the best VPN services out there plus they have 24/7 supports and a 30-day money back guarantee. So give it a shot and see how you feel. Other than that I want to thank all of my patrons scrolling by now. If you’d like to join
them on the credits here, please consider supporting
the show over on Patreon or sending a one time
donation over on Coffee. Otherwise please consider
sharing this video on your social media platform of choice to help me grow the channel. Today I’d also like to
give a special thanks to patrons A Recusant,
Callan Stein, Cowrara, E.V. Roske, IndustrialRobot, Malpertuis and Taurun the Exile with an extra special
thanks to LEftIsTechSupport. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please feel free to follow over on Twitter or check out my streams
over at twitch.TV/lacksaint. Expect the next entry in this series sooner rather than later. Other than that thanks again for watching! Love you all and stay safe. (dog puffing) – Quiet! (dog farting)

100 thoughts on “Why All Cops Are Bad (In Media) PART1: The Good Guy With A Gun | Jack Saint

  1. Reminder to check out https://nordvpn.com/jacksaint for 75% off a 3-year plan and use code JACKSAINT for an extra month for free!

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  2. I don't classify princess Leia as a damsel in distress. She's really proactive.

    So, Leia
    -Sacrifices her life to get the plans out safely knowing it'll be the only way to stop the empire. Imagine the empire being actual nazis and Leia being the person that gets a message out of Germany that will stop the nazis once and for all and her risking her life to complete this mission. She only gets captured in the 1st place after she successfully has a great idea of hiding the plans in a droid and leaving a message for obi wan. The reason r2 and c3p0 get out is because she sacrifices herself as a distraction for the droids to get away.
    Yeah, she's awesome.

    – Then she lies, to basically Himmler and Hitler, about where the real rebel base is, sacrificing her own home planet and everyone she knows, her adoptive parents, other family, and friends.
    She didn't expect the destruction of Alderaan but, at any time during power up of the death star, she could've shouted out the real base to save her home planet. She doesn't.

    – After being rescued by 2 guys, that didn't have an escape plan, she improvises and gets them out of danger. When Luke "rescues" her, she quips at him and shorty after in the hallway, Leia is the one who grabs Luke's gun and shoots at storm troopers, crosses to the other side and shoots at the grate which leads them into the garbage. She didn't know it'd be turned on. Also, Luke and Han had NO ESCAPE PLAN after rescuing Leia. She's the one that then has to rescue Han, Luke, and Chewie. She's the reason they make it out alive also because she probably has some knowledge of the layout.

    – She then gets into work mode and helps with the mission to destroy the death star.

    Leia is not a passive, damsel in distress. She is extremely proactive.

  3. wow that is some shots fired at spike spiegel, spike is more like a security guard than a cop, and often only responds with deadly force in self defence

  4. I'm watching this on mobile, and the clips from the black and white show are completely silent.

    Did you do an editing mistake, or is my audio broken?

  5. Jack this video is so good I'm worried that the title might keep some people who need to watch it from watching it.

    I'm going to pass it along to some of my liberal friends, but getting them over the title will be a big lift.

    "All cops are bad?"

    would be easier. Police worship is deep, as you know.

  6. I want to note that when the video showed up in my feed I only could see the "Why all cops are bad" part of the title and thought it'd just be some preaching to the converted rah rah cops suck stuff. Which can be nice stuff, but isn't what I was looking for to show some of my timid liberal friends. Just a thought.

  7. I know what a Dirty Harry is.

    It’s a good song about the effects of war in the Middle East on people in that region.

  8. cops aren't bad. people grew up watching 10 bad cops in media so now, in 2019, they assume EVERY cop is evil, a scumbag, and a rapist and racist. innocent, nice guys who worked for their place in life are being treated like they're not a part of society.

    so yeah. i'll gladly say "not all cops."

  9. If horror and punk rock inspired these 'crazy killers' I'd have been one in year 7 back in the 2000's during my emo phase. Yea didn't happen….

  10. Of course I get an ad advocating gun ownership (see the rest of the story the liberal media doesn’t want you to see!)

  11. No idea how much control you have over mentioning the Nord VPN stuff but my preference is definitely one longer advert at the start or end rather than throughout. It feels kinda obnoxious otherwise and makes me actively not want to use it?
    (great video!)

  12. I think a more appropriate title would've been WHY DIRTY HARRY IS A BAD COP. There are some good cops in media (animated Commissioner Gordon for example).

  13. Jack, buddy, I love you and I love what you do, but I am never using a commercial VPN, not in a thousand years. Never.

    VPNs that rely on a for-profit company's servers do not grant you privacy or anonimity. There is Tor Browser for that.

  14. I really enjoy the video, and I get that you need to make money off your videos, but the ads are a little too obtrusive to me.

  15. 21:26 i literally paused the video and went "oh. oh no." as in…wherever the markers of dirty harry could have taken this, it was inevitably going to end up being racist, sexist, or both. this whole film series reads like a "blue lives matter" asshole's wet dream. they're for the kind of people who blame white terrorism on mental illness and video games and terrorism committed by poc as "cultural." ugh. also schizophrenia is a horrific disease to live with so i can't imagine how people deal with it and then have like every major media outlet portray them as violent killers by default. mental illness, media, etc. doesn't make people kill. no one "root cause" ever does. these all might be factors, but they all work together with societal norms and systemic issues to form a perfect storm in certain people.

  16. I often picture law enforcement as an amalgam of Barney Fife and Dirty Harry…. That is a bumbling, inept, doofus who often just wants everyone to "respect my authority" just mixed with possibility that they can just shoot you… Honestly I really do think of the thinking of most cops is that of Barney Fife, a doofus that wants to be seen as some sort of authority figure…

  17. This is absolutely fascinating. Finally the correct term is applied to the correct circumstance, with examples of how it is wrong. As a Canadian subjected to the American mentality, this is both overdue, & never going to come from the Americans or Canadians themselves.
    Jack, you have to know something or some things about social psychology. There is SO much opportunity for discussion here, as well as (… pause for dramatic effect) solutions.

    When you call things out for what they are, you often succeed in undermining their power, even though there are many who will remain in denial of this. This denial doesn't matter though. Distortions of this variety require mass public support. You undermine a portion of that support, you marginalize their views.
    & in the U.S., views are everything! If the person can't find the words or ability to attack your actual message or content, then they label it something quasi-offensive like "socialist" then berate it for being that, whether it is or isn't. Bait & switch.
    It shouldn't work as often as it does, but your clip of Reagan using empty rhetoric proves just how nothing is about content in U.S. discourse, & all about presentation!
    This works extremely well in cultures that are afraid to be self-aware, for fear of taking responsibility of what that awareness brings.
    I have got to start checking out your other videos. This is the first of yours I happened to stumble across. I doubt it's the only one I can learn from. Many thanks.

    & are you really a cop?

  18. I enthusiastically recommend anyone check out the 80s tv show "Sledge hammer" which is a parody of this archetype and actually holds up quite well imo

  19. I remember watching all the Dirty Harry movies back to back and being very confused. Mostly because Jim Carrey is in The Dead Pool what the hell

  20. The one criticism I have is that you start from the assumption that Dirty Harry is somehow radical and outside of the mainstream, that most Americans don't really agree with what he represents, as you say yourself, and is thus in need of recouperation. I'm not convinced that's true. I believe that if not most, at least a very significant portion of Americans do agree with that ideal, and that has always been the case. Social control has been always an integral part of American institutions, with widespread public support. I don't see Dirty Harry as recouperation as much as straight up, mainstreams discourse.

  21. Around 28 minute mark…the Vigilante Traffic Cops vs Rape Victim is a stretch. Let me explain. Most normal people think that rape is universally bad and her getting her revenge is a good thing and her actions are understandable. But with the Traffic Cops not so. Because for two reasons. A: they could be killing an innocent person that they assume is a "hood". And B: Cop killers are not actually bad they are doing a public service by killing cops. Edgy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. You should watch Sledge Hammer. It's an 80's comedy show that satirizes rogue cop characters like Dirty Harry.

  23. Ah yes, Dirty Harry. Anarchists and Fascists hate him.

    Wait. Did I get this right? The horror movies could not contribute to violence in real world, but cop movies can?

  24. I consider myself a lawful, libertarian. However liberalism is the hard pill of reality to swallow, conservatives live in a black and white fantasy of good vs evil, but reality is more nuanced, people are clever, and act in their own self interests.this is why in practice liberalism works and conservatism fails.

  25. @Jack Saint- I know this video is about 'Dirty Harry', but one thing I would love to see you talk about are the police departments themselves. I mean Dirty Harry might do a lot of horrible things, but isn't the system that allows him to carry a shield, and use a gun also a huge problem? Cops like Harry can exist because he doesn't really face any real consequences.

    Also I'm a huge fan of 'Dirty Harry'. I think the reason he speaks to so many people, is because we've all been in unfair situations. Harry is free to do all these things, and say all these things. In a way it kind of reminds me of 'The Joker'. He's completely free, he can do/say anything he wants. Even though most of us would never kill, I think we all envy that kind of freedom.

  26. Okay, but I think there's a big question that goes unanswered; and that I think there's a lot of interesting potential in answering: What sorts of stories could be told using the interesting tropes and story structure aspects of cop fiction that divorce them from their darker parts?

    It's a question that I think needs to be asked a lot more about these things regarding bad-trends-in-media, because, I do think an underspoken-of part of systemic media critiques like this are "But what will replace them?" Which, I mean, often the response given is "nothing should," or "here's this thing that is totally different on an aesthetic/structural level, but I like it, therefore it's better," and if we're going for systemic change that's just not going to cut it.

    I have absolutely zilch idea whether or not the whole series is already filmed/written, but if not it'd be neat if Mr Saint considered that for the presumably final part…

  27. I think it's also worth noting that Dirty Harry came out right when the Motion Picture Production Code ended and they enacted the ratings system. The Code had a lot rules about "acceptable" morals, violence, etc. Characters usually had to be punished for bad behavior, even if the stories were adapted from sources where they weren't. So if Dirty Harry had been made in say the late 50's, it's possible they might have had Harry breaking rules and being a brute, but the movie probably would have ended with him either dead or in jail. Another fun fact: I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Frank Sinatra was originally considered for the role of Harry, but he turned it down.

  28. Harry is a prime example of why we should do away with cops as a whole concept altogether. I don’t know about you, but I never felt safe around people who can legally get away with murder and corruption.

  29. the most interesting thing about dirty harry for me is that after the film's release, andrew robinson (scorpio) received death threats from stupid chuds who can't tell real life from a fucking movie (robinson is apparently a real sweetie and was squeamish about the scenes where he shouts at the kids on the bus and racially abuses the black guy who he pays to beat him up)

  30. it's indeed very interesting how harry is supposedly a good guy but his principles are never clearly outlined, he's a good guy because he wants the same vague things everybody does, justice and peace and freeedom, without actually bothering to define what those might mean to him

  31. I'll be disappointed if you don't at least mention the show "Blue Bloods" at some point in this series. I don't agree with many of the ideas in the show, but I find it to an absolutely fascinating viewpoint into the conservative mindset on cops, both on a positive and negative way. Heck the character played by Donnie Wahlberg is almost 1:1 a reference to Dirty Harry.

    Then again, CBS is adamant on not allowing usage of their shows on youtube so you might not be able to use clips. I still hope you take a look at it though.

  32. "What could cause this surge in violence?"
    looks at our system in which poor people get poorer and poorer, getting forced out of their homes and landing on the streets, having to steal and beg only to be shot by cops. Where entire PoC communities get gentrified and forced out of their homes, where cops protect facists and corporations who prey on the weak
    "Ah Horrormovies!"

  33. The ramble at 6:00 is exactly how I feel listening to some of Trump’s “jokes”

    Rightly or wrongly, that’s just my subjective experience.

    And I don’t like it.

  34. I know this is pedantic for an off-comment near the end of the video where you bring the westerns, but… In the westerns he did, Clint Eastwood never played a sheriff or an outlaw though? He was always an oportunist and a killer, but not explicitly illegal, like a Bounty Hunter, or a bodyguard for hire (Fistful being a remake of Yojimbo and all). The closest I can think of a Sheriff-type is Hang 'em High being… I think a deputy? And even then, it was more of a front for his own agenda. But it's been so long I forgot… And High Plains Drifter whom you could argue is an outlaw but he's more of a paranormal entity acting on a more avenging angle, like Sartana in the Sartana pentalogy.

  35. A super interesting video, can't wait for the next, I have been wondering a lot recently about policing due to many many stories in the news about how it seemingly can go very wrong, so seeing how the media has evolved around such things as the tough on crime policies is really neat. But for the love of God, that nord ad in the middle hit me like a .44 to the chest, please stop that.

  36. I remember watching Law and Order SVU and others where the police officers were content to allow ignoring basic human rights, as long as it got them their answers. My mom has been watching S.W.A.T. and it has often made the villain a left leaning terrorist organization. They're even ignoring reality then.

  37. There needs to be a bigger emphasis on the point that these movies glorify people taking violent action on what they think is good. Big, bold, neon letters bouncing around the screen like the dvd logo for a solid 30 minutes. Because ultimately, it extends beyond badges and authority and bleeds into every tragedy known throughout history.
    Rules, rights, and accountability aren't decided in a vacuum, they are written in blood.

  38. Growing up in a county surrounded by Boomers and "Blue Lives Matter" sort of people, you'd think the county/local police would be the heroes of the people….

    Tell that to the large black community living in the poorest town where the police are known to randomly arrest black people, or the racist town right next to it where the police made threats to attack the school if they got fired for corruption, or the fact in the racist town the cops pull over white drunk kids and then drink with them, or how when the police got a call about a suspisous white individual with a friend in a parking lot, they showed up, stayed for 3 minutes, left, and then someone got mugged, or how the police spend more time doing speed traps on high speed roads and not dangerous roads where speeding is a real danger to people.

    Its almost as if the police are just a class above everyone else that people have been duped into worshiping as heroes despite doing all horrible things.

  39. Can't wait for this series to finish so I can listen to all these dope Taxxon songs on her channel. He doesn't do mashups that often so it will definitely be a unique album.

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