(1/2) A week into my reporting on Skid Row, a libe…

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(1/2) A week into my reporting on Skid Row, a libe…


Jeff Sharlet








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(1/2) A week into my reporting on Skid Row, a liberal colleague sent me an article about the policing of the poor from a publication called The European. It was by Slavoj Zizek, “one of the most distinguished thinkers of our time,â€ù according to the bio at the bottom of the short essay. I knew about Zizek; he's the first name white intellectuals invoke when it comes to the question of speaking truth to power. So I was surprised when, in his second sentence, he referred to the six bullets Officer Darren Wilson put in Michael Brown as an “accident.â€ù Sure, one bullet, maybe two; everybody slips, right? But six? With a .40 caliber Sig Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol, the gun Officer Wilson carried? Which is semi-automatic, as in not-automatic, as in each bullet requires a trigger pull with 6.5 pounds of pressure? // But I digress; semantics. Zizek's a big picture man; a theorist. Here's his theory for Ferguson and, he says, for all the black rage in response to the killings that make the news, Garner and Rice and the unarmed men shot down in Atlanta and Wisconsin and Colorado, which might just as well be a theory with which to account for a self-described “trans hookerâ€ù named Paige I met one night near the ground on which police held down Charly “Africaâ€ù Keunang and shot him six times; Paige, who wishes she could strap a suicide vest around the bosom for which she has worked, she says, so goddamned hard, and walk into LAPD Central Division; "boom, motherfuckers." What this is, Zizek explains, is "'abstract negativity," aka "raw, aimless violence." // I haven't had a chance to run this by Paige yet, but I can imagine her response: " 'Aimless'? Honey, I know right where Central Division is at." Corner of 6th and Wall, two blocks south of the tree under which three officers aimed their guns at the body pinned to the sidewalk and exerted something close to a combined 40 pounds of pressure to put six bullets into said body... (Continued) #cantkillafrica #blacklivesmatter #skidrow #charlykeunang #africa_theinvisibleman





Jeff Sharlet, “(1/2) A week into my reporting on Skid Row, a libe…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed June 20, 2019, http://instaessayarchive.org/items/show/3309.