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Question

July 19, 2006

What did you think the first time you saw the Rodney King beatdown video?

Did you think, “M***** F*****! Look at that abuse of power by the police!”

Or, did you think, “Hmmm, wonder what he did to deserve it?”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2006 1:16 pm

    Not to show my age, but by the time I learned about Rodney King (via Channel One news shown in middle school), we were already being told how to feel before we had a chance to form our own opinions.

    Revisiting the reports today, though, I think the police went a little too far. In answer to your question, can I say both?

  2. July 19, 2006 1:27 pm

    Chuck Goodwin does an interesting analysis of, well, the analysis of the Rodney King video in court and professional vision in a paper called Practices of Seeing:
    Visual Analysis: An Ethnomethodological Approach”
    [link is a pdf]. One thing he does is show how different people are able to highlight different features as salient in the video, thus making one argument or another. In that sense I’d think that a person’s first reaction to the video pretty much betrays what they’re coming to it with. That being said, I can’t remember my first reaction. Most likely I was young enough that I believed whatever it was that the media was telling me.

  3. July 19, 2006 1:51 pm

    I thought “Jesus, does it take that many cops to take down one dude? Wow! They much be a bunch of pussies.”

  4. July 19, 2006 2:08 pm

    Jesus you all make me feel old. 🙂

  5. July 19, 2006 4:17 pm

    I thought, “I wonder what happened before this guy started filming this?”

  6. anon permalink
    July 19, 2006 10:26 pm

    “Holy shit…the guy with the video camera better get the hell out of there….” (I’m the same way about combat photographers. I identify far more with the person behind the camera than the terrorized subject.)

    It was on the next viewing that I focused on the insanely brutal mass-beating aspect.

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