Jailing Your Enemies

The favorite from of imaginary retributive justice is to castigate your ideological enemies to prison – come the revolution, all you bankers hedge fund criminals family court judges oncologists whoever, dammit, are going to be in jail, in an 8 x 10 box, with no basketball leagues.  That would be the ultimate justice, right -well, short of the death an immediate execution would bring, but that’ s too much for the Leave it To Beaver generation, we cannot stomach the Unabomber, the solitary confinement ex-felon who murdered the Colorado Department of Prisons CEO on his doorstep, or the guillotine of the Jacobins – no that’s a final step too far, let’s wish jail on them instead. Let’s see ’em do the perp walk, these enemies, let’s get them in sagging uniforms, let’s keep them confined like test-center rats, then what have they got to say?

Of course, this almost never comes, and when it does, for a temporary enemy like Jack Abramoff, or Bernard Kerik, or the Watergate gang, the feeling is not one of enduring glee that the tables have been permanently turned, but that retributive justice scheme is mostly a degrading spectacle for all concerned.  No one looks good in jail, no one feels society’s problems being cleansed.

Let’s say we sentence the makers of this year’s execrable Peter Pan GEICO commercial to prison for polluting the culture in horrible ways, committing an extortionate fraud – what could be the sentence, time served for all the man, woman, and child hours lost to this waste of humanity’s purpose – that sentence would be in the thousands of years, given the 1.3 million times the commercial will have been aired by the time its sinister reign is finally expunged by the network powers-that-be.  Those ad felons, like the ad felons of Google, and Harper’s and Nation magazines with their American Spirit cigarette cancer death promotions, simply cannot give the time back behind bars proportionate to the crimes they have committed.  There will never be symmetry between punishment and crime, so we had better start working on managing the social conditions beforehand to deter monsters like Brin and Page from infecting the peoples’  culture with unavoidable trash of Big Data addiction-feeders of targeted advertising.

Again, thank you, O 100th viewer, for not daring to comment upon this fun social nihilism. This is meant to be the last word, the first word, and the only word on the topic, and to comment would be to break that necessary fourth wall between the creative originator and the faceless, masticated adoring non-person public.  Does any audience member dare “comment” during Shostakovich’s Brandenbrug Concerto recital? Did anyone comment to Michelangelo’s face during the painting of the Sisphyean Chapel? Did anyone make a “comment” to Heidegger during his hiding of the eggs performance on the grounds of the Oktoberfest  in Schwarzwald?

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