On Keystone Cops

| February 22, 2012

On the difficulty of seeing the object of desire.

There is a fascinating article over at The New Inquiry, on the figure of the cop in comedy. Fascinating not the least because I feel compelled to start my own work on education with jokes. (The funny thing about education jokes is that they are not funny.)

The potential irrelevance of this inquiry remains to be determined…. It’s a deadly serious way in.  Yes, it is one which sports a frozen death’s head grin as a way to go on…. But it is also one which also takes laughter seriously enough, as we always should, to find a lot of this scattered material genuinely, shatteringly,  funny and to find that laughter as simultaneously a camouflage and a point of entrance into some of the aspects of the police which remain hardest to detect and grasp.
A.C.A.K.K: All Cops are Keystone Kops

This is particularly interesting, having just read it on the heels of this article, which despite being informative, manages to evade answering its own question: Why the Media Love the Violence of Protesters and not of Banks. Could it be that the very elusiveness of this is part of the answer, the difficulty of looking directly at a cop?

Perhaps we should take the title of Evan Calder Williams’ column, “The Noonday Shadow,”—in which this essay on cops shows itself—as something more than cleverness, a kind of obscure joke. It above all reflects a challenge of seeing, and particularly when things appear fully lit. The slight variation that plagued Plato, for example; the tendency of the sun to never achieve full height but droop in its trajectory. The winding down, the minimal gap, the persistent shadow, that education or a demiurge (or a cop?!) is called to close or reset. To spin up the top again. To reset the tipping point.

A matter of balance.