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

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


(wind whooshing) (dramatic music) – [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
this video is sponsored by NordVPN, who you
should really check out if you’re looking for an
affordable and reliable service for online personal security. Did you know they were the only VPN to get a perfect score from “PC Mag”? I also personally use
them and they are good. I’m going to be mentioning
them a couple of times in this video but for this
one I’d like to experiment and see if shorter mentions are just as effective as longer ones. So if you want to keep them shorter, sign up for discounted
membership down below with the offer code jacksaint. I don’t make the codes. Once again that’s nordvpn.com/jacksaint And don’t forget to like and share the video if
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
since I mentioned NordVPN. I’m gonna do that real quick. Did you click the link in the description for a 75% off discount? You know, you get a free month
bonus if you use my link. I actually paid full price for mine and I honestly still consider it a totally worthwhile investment for the level of reliable
security it provides. Just use nordvpn.com/jacksaint
to try it out today. They offer 24-hour support and
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 Replies to “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!

    This video has been automatically demonetized, something you probably could have predicted based on the subject matter. Since it'll take at least a few days to get a manual review, that's a significant chunk of revenue lost on this video I've spent several weeks on – If you like what you see, please consider throwing me a few bucks on Patreon or Ko-Fi (Linked below), or at the very least giving this a share on Reddit, Twitter, Discord, etc. In any case, thank you all so much for watching, and have a great week!

    EDIT: DISCLAIMER THAT SOME ANDROID PHONES ARE GETTING NO AUDIO ON THE OPENING CLIP. It is only an issue for that specific clip, and nowhere else in the video. I have no idea what has caused this but am aware of the issue, very sorry to all affected – consider re-watching on desktop for full audio.

    PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/jacksaint

    KOFI: https://ko-fi.com/lackingsaint

    TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LackingSaint

    TWITCH: https://www.twitch.tv/lacksaint

    COMMUNITY: https://discord.gg/BttSM9j

  2. You should talk about Hot Fuzz, one of the most accurate portrayals of the police. It’s a movie where the police never kill anyone, and they seem to go around things in the right manner, and I’d love to see intelligent discussion about that film on its portrayal of the police.

  3. Conservatives: "We want less government control and involvement in our lives."
    Also conservatives: "Yes, please daddy Dirty Harry, step on my nuts some more, gimme more of that authoritarian, cop lovin'"

  4. better to ask why media glorifies bad cops and convinces morons that lawbreaking and cruelty by cops serve valid police purposes and indeed that the job would be impossible without them. "in the land of the free"

  5. The audio in the Andy Griffiths Show clips is missing, I'm not sure why more comments aren't mentioning this.

  6. Talking about horror movies demonizing the mentally ill, and no Annie Wilkes pic? boooo(seriously, especially in the book, Stephen King explicitly writes her with some clinical symptoms of various mental illnesses, including catatonic schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even binge eating disorder.)

  7. The Thermian Argument is a logical fallacy created by a simpering manchild for the sole purpose of demonizing fiction which offends him. Anyone who ever invokes it deserves to be mocked and ridiculed.

    That being said, criticism of a work of fiction for its political message is a fair thing to do, but not using this idiotic, made-up term.

  8. Having grown up watching Dirty Harry films, and looking back on them now, their place in culture and cinema is interesting, in that they were generally amazingly popular for their time, even by groups that you wouldn't think would be fans.

    Thing is that DH was probably a lot better at doing what it was doing and lot more subtly than many of it's imitators; although television has probably made the Harry archetype more popular than ever.

  9. Your editings boned bud, in at least the first two examples of dialogue from the show there’s not any sound

  10. Speaking of Harry-like characters, I advise you to take a look at italian movies inspired by Bullit and Dirty Harry, such as pretty much all movies with Maurizio Merli and La Polizia Ringrazzia with Enrico Maria Salerno.

  11. Glad it's being addressed. Movies like that have made fascism a very acceptable mode of thinking for the average American.

  12. You can drop the parenthetical part of your title. All cops want to be good, and want to believe they're good. But if they're part of a system that defends a bad cop and could speak against it but don't, they're no longer good. One bad apple is all it takes. The thing is, there are far more good apples than bad ones. But the corruption and the taint spreads over time, and power corrupts. All it takes is one bad apple in a position of power to spread his corruption to all those who would be good, even if that just means forcing them to be silent because they fear for their livelihoods. You can argue all day long that this is how all jobs operate, there is always some form of corruption and covering of it, but policing should be different. They have the power to change lives forever, through violence or jail time, and that must be taken with the utmost seriousness and in a perfect world with the utmost sense of morality.

  13. Are you planning on touching upon The Wire? Because it’s the only crime drama I can think of that doesn’t glorify cops.

  14. Whoa who whoa whoa wait. Spike Spiegel is mostly based on a character from Japanese television. He’s got a lot of other influences as well (most obviously Bruce Lee, and Lupin the 3rd), but his largest influence is this other character that few people outside of Japan know about.
    I don’t know who this character is. I’ve read the name multiple times, but I never hold onto it. What I do know is that his signature clothing items are a cowboy hat and a scarf, because in an interview, the character designer talked about considering drawing Spike with a cowboy hat and a scarf, but ultimately decided that was too on the nose. Also, I think he’s a detective, but I don’t know which decade he appeared on Japanese televisions.
    So, before you can make the claim that we wouldn’t have Spike Spiegel without Dirty Harry, you’ve got to hunt down this cowboy and scarf clad detective character and prove the HE is influenced by Dirty Harry. Or you could try making the case that Bruce Lee, or Lupin III was influenced by Dirty Harry—but good luck with that.

  15. Some of those comments at 21:13 Because when I think of "rich criminals" I immediately think of "hoods" and "gangsters"

  16. Just finished watching the video and went back to get a screenshot on my phone to find parts of the vid have been muted. Nice.

  17. In his own words…. What? There's just background music, I think your video got claimed and the audio cut out. Could you reupload it with subtitles maybe?

  18. It's funny, right before I watched this video today I was reflecting on how it's been difficult to accept ACAB because lots of my favorite characters in media that I consume had been cops. Especially Elisa Maza of Gargoyles, for instance. It's been the worst case of doublethink.

  19. The Naughty Ninjas episode from South Park always had me scratch my head, cause at the same time, cause at the same time Officer Barbrady's incompetence is shown to be enable by society cause they need him to enforce an unjust social order, at the same time they are like "Look he shot a kid, but we should bad FOR HIM"

  20. I hope you dig into the way cop shows (and detective shows like Midsomer Murders/Monk, even) like to frame stuff like "I want a lawyer" and "No you can't search my home" as suspicious, and in general try to convince us that the rights of the accused are a problem. Monk brings up Double Jeopardy negatively, like, every three episodes.

  21. I really like the show Frasier but having his cop dad being seen as funny and lil old fashion while talking about brutalizing perps is,..,,. really frustrating. But that’s recuperation babey! Thanks jack!

  22. Uh… the copyrighted version is basically unintelligible without the original audio…

    My advice is to turn on the captions.

  23. I totally agree w all of this but I also watch a ton of buddy-cop movies/t shows/etc and I cant help but be madly curious about what other fictional cops will be in this series lololol

  24. "And I think I know a couple more movie cops who can help us out in that regard."

    my dumb ass, with a gasp: PAUL BLART!!!!!!!

  25. I know everyone loves this show, but I don’t like Dr House for reasons that you touched on in this video. Dr House doesn’t give a shit about his patient’s rights or medical ethics or consent or anything like that. And he doesn’t have to, cause he’s the main character of a TV show, so he’s always right, and he always knows more than any of his peers, and his shitty behavior is always justified. I find it frustrating, and I’ve met people who wish that doctors were more like Dr House, which is wild to me.

  26. I think dirty hairy inspired the original CSI serial-killer arc (maybe the whole show, if I recall correctly) where they had the strange-but-endeering science cop guy go outside of the law to take out the biggest baddie.

  27. Yes. The mental health care system in the U.S. sucks. So, yes. Good possibility.
    Also, yes; good guy with gun stops bat-shit insane bad guy with gun. Do you have a better way? Every second counts. Remember, there's a hostage.
    Also, also, to those criticizing Conservatives for wanting less government and more police, I agree. That's a pretty contradictory stance. However, you can also criticize the Left for wanting more government and entrusting that same government and its police to protect us whilst stripping law-abiding citizens of their right to protect themselves from any kind of fascism. Also a contradictory stance, don't you think?

    Also, also, also, this entire video has made me realize one very important thing:

    Dirty Harry is a total Gary Sue.

    Sincerely,
    A hated Centrist for merely being a Centrist on the Internet. 😊🙏

  28. 17:32 I understand your point about the mentally ill, but I saw the silence of the lambs example. That was a good movie and didn't just play off the mental illness. Sorry, I just love that movie lol.

  29. After watching this I now realise that House M. D. was probably also inspired by Dirty Harry as well as Sherlock Holmes.

  30. I feel like it's inaccurate to say these portrayals of authority were started off in these films. much closer to the truth to say that they are simply examples of older recurring tropes. Like hardboiled detective fiction is older than dirty harry right

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *