Copyright © 1999 Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture
All rights reserved.
Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 6(2) (1999) 62-64
Reflections from the Postmodern Eye
Fort Lewis College
I just read that 1998 was the warmest year on
record. I think last year I read that 1997 was the
warmest year on record. I think I remember reading
that the 1990's was the warmest decade ever, but I
also remember reading that the 1980's was the warmest
decade ever - that is, before the 1990's. Oh well, I
guess it doesn't matter. I'm sure the first decade of
the new millennium will be the warmest decade ever.
People living in northern latitudes of the U.S. think
this is good because of the longer golf season, but
many island nations and coastal cities don't agree.
I read that the stock market is good. "They" say
investing in private prisons is a good bet, because
inmate populations keep increasing at roughly 50,000
to 80,000 people a year, even though violent crime
rates are dropping. Go figure. The prison rate
doubled from the 1970's to the 1980's and once again
the rate has doubled from the 1980's to the 1990's.
We have about 445 per 100,000 people in prison, or all
totaled we have around 1.8 million people behind bars.
The U.S. is number one with respect to the number of
people in prison; we are also number one with respect
to homicides, drug consumption, national debt,
managers per employees, CEO salaries and income
Too bad for Tennessee. All the tornadoes in
January. I heard that we just doubled the record for
the most tornadoes in the month of January. I
remember reading that 1998 was the record for the most
tornadoes ever recorded. Maybe 1999 will be even
better. "They" tell me it is nothing to worry about.
I read that each time someone's house is destroyed by
a hurricane or tornado our GNP grows. I also read our
economy improves with each new cancer patient. Each
time a tree is felled, oil or natural gas is pumped
out of the ground, minerals are mined, lands are
tilled, and waste is generated, our GNP goes up. We
are growing, and this is very good for our economy.
Bill Clinton told us in his State of the Union
address that we need more money for the military.
Things are really bad out there with Iraq and their
chemical weapons and everything. It seems we need
more money to keep bombing Iraq until someone new
comes along that needs some bombing. The situation
sounds a lot like an Orwell novel I once read.
I heard Bill Clinton say he was really concerned
about terrorism. I wonder why so many people would
want to hurt the U.S. My mother-in-law always says
with respect to our helping the rest of the world,
"damned if you do, damned if you don't." As one
Congressman said during the impeachment hearings,
"America is God's country." I wonder who owns the
other countries of the world? [End page 62]
I read that the Russians are burning furniture to
stay warm this winter, and apparently they are a
little short on food, too. I heard our leaders have
assured them that the "invisible hand" will work
things out just fine. I guess the same goes for
people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil. They have
to learn to have faith in the global economy; after
all, it works fine for "US" and our "post-colonial"
brothers. The 1998 U.N. Development Report stated
that the wealthiest 20 percent of the world's
population (1.2 billion) consume 86 percent of all the
goods and services produced in the world while the
bottom 20 percent share 1.7 percent of the worlds
goods and services. I'm glad I'm in the top 20
Worldwatch says that 11 percent of the earth's
4,400 species of mammals are in danger of extinction.
Two-thirds of the 9,600 species of birds are now in
decline, and I read that 11 percent are on the verge
of extinction. I also read that one-third of the
species of fish are on the brink of oblivion. Some
scientists assure us that this is perfectly natural
and others suggest alarmingly that we are undergoing
the greatest loss of plant and animal life in 65
million years. While the rest of life on this planet
may be dying off, humans are doing quite well. Did
you know that it took until the year 1900 for us to
reach 1.6 billion people and now at the end of the
20th century we have 6 billion of us, with some of us
doing quite well while many others are, I hear, a
Some people think Bill Clinton shouldn't lie
about his sexual escapades, and they want to impeach
him. I wonder if Thomas Jefferson would have lied
about having a child with one of his slaves? Do you
think Garfield would have lied about having an affair?
What about Franklin Roosevelt? Do you think he would
have lied to the public about having an affair with
Lucy Mercer Rutherford? What about Mrs. Roosevelt.
Do you think she would have confessed to having a
lesbian relationship with Loreana Hickok? I wonder
if JFK would have admitted to smoking pot with, and
making love to, Mary Pinchot Meyer in the White House?
I wonder if Nixon, while lying about Watergate, would
have dared to lie about his affair with Marianna Liu?
It seems appropriate that the Academy of Criminal
Justice Sciences' 36th Annual Convention should be
held in Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, a Disney
property named after that dauntless Spaniard who
searched vainly for the seven cities of gold that
Disney has been busily erecting ever since his
failure. Disneyland is a perfect spot for digging
into the squalor of economic disparity, racism and
violence. Disney is a great place for academic pawns
and practitioners to plan the future for the
economically disenfranchised through the development
of greater surveillance to marginalize even further
the obsolete lower class.
In a world where all claims to reality are on
equal footing, crime rates fall but prison populations
increase, people gorge while others starve, animals
and plants die while humans multiply, and issues of [End page 63]
criminal justice are discussed in utopian virtual-reality landscapes like Disney, I'm compelled to
recollect a Lou Reed song in which he cites the
trenchant insights of his painter friend Donald,
"stick a fork in their ass and turn'em over, they're
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