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Sunday, December 17, 2000

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Dragnet

I am always embarrassing myself by being caught talking to myself. I'll be walking along talking away and I realize some is looking at me weird. I thought a guy in a car was talking to himself the other day, and he did look a little strange, then I realized he was talking on a cell phone. Now I can just hold my hand to my ear and pretend I am talking to someone on my phone. I just have to remember to do it.

I've been doing, like everyone else, more christmas shopping this weekend. It's so frustrating to buy things for people that you don't know well enough to know what they want. We know, intellectually, we don't have to give people more than they gave us but we still want to give them something that shows that we care enough to really think about what to get them, even if it's something they don't really want and have no use for. I would prefer to stop the gift giving so we can all spend money on what we really want.

It really is a lot like the potlatch. Contrary to many new age native american observers, the potlatch was really a massive power play because the chief that gave away the most got the most followers and ended up richer and more powerful. It really had nothing to do with what we think of as sharing. It's more like congress giving away money so they can get our votes. Bread and circuses.

Dragnet has been on the TV Land channel all weekend so I've been keeping it on when there's nothing else to watch and for background when I'm doing other things. It's so interesting to see the old views of Los Angeles. The one I'm watching now showed a view of Venice that is so not today. I had also forgotten that Friday and Gannon seemed to work out of a different department on each episode. The original temps.

So much of the programs are dated especially in clothes. There was one of the policewomen at the academy doing their pistol practice in suits and heels. They looked so funny. This episode also mentioned the high quality of the policewomen and how they had replace nearly all the desk sergeants so the men could handle the more hazardous duty. Uh huh! It was a good episode except for that last idiocy.

There were some episodes on child abuse that were very well done with the parent doing the abusing a nice, well dressed, respectable person. They didn't try to say that only scum abused their kids. These episodes were well done. Less well done were the drug ones since everyone that used drugs looking like very villanous hippies and were always selling drugs to clean cut all american kids.

People laugh at the conversation but it's really more life like than most conversation you hear on television. If you've ever watched tapes of normal conversations when people don't know they are being taped, their conversation is less scintillating than Dragnet.

The hardest thing to really grasp is how polite and well behaved the police are. With all the crap that's gone down with the LA police in the last few years it's hard to really believe. I have heard that they were one of the best police departments back then but it's hard to know if that's really true or they just put on a good show. Of course, all the police shows have the police being fairly decently behaved.

It's just comforting to watch them. They deal with crime like you would like the police to deal with crime. They treat citizens like you would like the police to treat citizens. Dragnet is how you wish law enforcement was in a world that you know is imperfect but where justice is meted out as fairly as us imperfect humans can mete it out. Yet Friday and Gannon are just a little weird, like the rest of us, so we empathize with them.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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