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Portraying the police in a story

14 Jun 2022 00:34 - 14 Jun 2022 00:34 #74644 by Thefirstone
Portraying the police in a story was created by Thefirstone
With the movement to defund the police in the last few years, does the fact that supervillains are a common problem in the world a story takes place in justify the police being fairly heavily armed and this not necessarily being portrayed as a bad thing?  And if there are alternatives to the police that are proven to reduce the rates of at least some crimes, why would supervillains be a common problem at all?  
Last edit: 14 Jun 2022 00:34 by Thefirstone.

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14 Jun 2022 00:42 #74645 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Portraying the police in a story

With the movement to defund the police in the last few years, does the fact that supervillains are a common problem in the world a story takes place in justify the police being fairly heavily armed and this not necessarily being portrayed as a bad thing?  And if there are alternatives to the police that are proven to reduce the rates of at least some crimes, why would supervillains be a common problem at all?  

From a story sense, it would only make sense that police armament would match the threat. If they have to deal with policing violent supervillains, they'd be armed appropriately. Presumably that would be various kinds of super weapons.

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14 Jun 2022 01:29 - 14 Jun 2022 07:26 #74648 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic Portraying the police in a story
After the female police officers had undergone vigorous training at their boot camp, a lucky few ladies aged in their early twenties would be selected to join the SuPolice Cadet Force. Their relatively young ages would reflect a long expected career in front for the chosen few. 
In order to combat supervillians, they would be imbued with indestructabilities and powers far beyond any average police cadet.
They would only need to answer to Charlie, their desk sergeant. Charlie's Angels indeed...

 

"Ok gentlemen, I will also have to issue you with a speeding ticket now. I have just caught you doing eighty in a fifty zone after running past and overtaking you. These improved legs of mine are capable of so much more velocity than your little car here."
"​​The girls and I thwarted your bank raid...and, yes, this one hand pushing, now resting on your getaway vehicle's bonnet is all it has taken to serve justice. You won't be going anywhere fast now, gents"

A clck on her radio... "Hi Charlie, yes, it's Superintendent Angel Six here...Yes, I've caught them both and I'm bringing them in"

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Last edit: 14 Jun 2022 07:26 by Monty.

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14 Jun 2022 03:02 - 14 Jun 2022 03:06 #74651 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Portraying the police in a story
Like any trend in society, it's something you as the writer can use however you like.

Who is behind the trend? What do they want?
Are there multiple groups with conflicting visions of the ideal world?
Are there groups that agree on the ends, but they disagree about the means to get there?
Are there temporary allies because they can push the same means for now, but then they intend to throw each other under the bus later?
Personally, do you feel it's a good or bad thing?
What about your characters? Do they see it as you do, or differently?
Will they get away with what they want? Why or why not? Is that a triumph for them? For society?

It's this kind of thinking that makes a story have themes and characters that people find engaging.

So, let's apply this specifically to "defund the police."
Some people want to have police, but less of them, and less militarized than now.
Some people want to have more social services and psychological counseling for the distressed, rather than criminalize those problems.
Some people want to get away with hurting others, with no consequences.
Some people want to burn down society, because they imagine a wonderful new world will arise from the ashes.
Some people want to burn it all down, so they can rule over the ruins.
A "defund the police" rally could include ALL of these people.

Across the street is the counter-rally which includes
Good cops who just want to help people.
Bad cops who want to use the badge as an excuse to be bullies.
Twisted cops who go to far.
Authoritarians who want society to be a powerful pyramid, with them on top.
Crime victims scared of repeats.
The prison warden's union afraid of losing their jobs.
The police union leaders afraid of losing their political power.
Politicians catering to the scared.
Politicians who really want to protect the oppressed.
The Prison-Industrial Complex who like to get rich off tax money for public safety.

These people might not like or trust each other enough to want to share a pizza. But they will share a rally to keep the police fully funded.

Remember that only some villians see themselves as villians.
Some see themselves as the ultimate philanthropists. Just look at all the trouble theyr'e going to, to wipe out the current systems and remake the world for their vision.

There are enough ways to look at this for a "supervillians defund the police" anthology to include dozens of stories. With every story giving a different point of view on what society SHOULD have, when it comes to forceful protectors.

WHY would they do that? is a great question for an author to raise, and then to answer. I tried to do that with the last part of Zukenov, to explain WHY the Emperor was so driven on conquest. And in the first part of Genesis, to explain WHY the scientists did their research project.

"Defund the police" is not one story theme. It's a gateway to any exploration of power and authority and society, any examples of how that might work that you'd like to create.

This is why one line about a story might not be much use.
"It's the one where some people meet the aliens" describes E.T., Close Encounters, Mission to Mars, Indiana Jones 4, Aliens and Prometheus, and Avatar. The one-liner doesn't tell you a damn thing about whether the story is great, only its premise. A dumb little premise can make a great movie. How about: A kid, sad about the childhood innocence ripped from him, becomes a controlling asshole who nobody really understands? I'm thinking of one of the greatest movies of all time. Are you?
Last edit: 14 Jun 2022 03:06 by AUphoric. Reason: fixed typos
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14 Jun 2022 05:54 #74653 by Thefirstone
Replied by Thefirstone on topic Portraying the police in a story
Now that I think about it, this kind of thing could be a big part of the reason for superheroes endeavoring not to kill their enemies.  Combine that with the fact that early superheroes, including the initial version of Batman, weren’t averse to it, and the attitude towards police killings having been a lot more forgiving in the 30s and 40s…
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14 Jun 2022 13:23 #74655 by Sarge395
Replied by Sarge395 on topic Portraying the police in a story
AUphoric you really hammered away at a lot of topics in a short span. A lot of excellent thought and opinions.

If you have corrupt police that almost always stems from poor or corrupt leadership. But usually just corruption from the top down. Many a story has started out with a basic patrolman getting a hand out to look the other way either directly or from a higher up. The encounter starts there with the vigilante or superhero and moves up the food chain. Just like in a criminal organization. Some hurdles are the citizens themselves, conscience of the officer(s) changing, another hero involvement, etc.
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14 Jun 2022 16:09 #74660 by MisterK
Replied by MisterK on topic Portraying the police in a story
My superhero, Ms. Infinity, is extremely powerful, so she doesn't really use weapons. But the same issue stands. The question of force and its limits is an ongoing theme throughout the books. 

The police are not portrayed as altogether bad, but there are instances of overstepping. The second book has checkpoints being set up around NYC thanks to a Trump-like villain, with a tendency to stop people of darker skin. Ms. Infinity is olive-skinned herself, and she is harrased once in her secret identity. 

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14 Jun 2022 16:20 #74661 by The Highlander
Replied by The Highlander on topic Portraying the police in a story
Another thing to consider is what effect a heavily armed police would have outside of stopping supervillains. Where does the money for them come from, and what other programs (like homeless prevention or drug treatment) get cut? Also what happens when the police have to interact with lower level criminals, suspects or other members of the public? My understanding is that a lot of the reasons for the ‘defund the police’ movement are because social services are being starved of funds and the police have become too trigger happy.

Plenty of scope for a villain’s origin story to be losing everything because there was no-one there to help them when their life was going downhill or seeing someone they care about killed when having a mental breakdown. And how a hero would react to finding this out.

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14 Jun 2022 17:44 #74662 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Portraying the police in a story
There is a danger is trying to make something "too real" with regards to current affairs. This has been an ongoing problem with CW and its shows, and it often fails to make it more "real" or relatable. Fantasy isn't supposed to pass any reality tests other than to be consistent with the author's vision, or perhaps some pseudoscience the author creates that is loosely grounded on real science. 

Science Fiction has always sought to understand the experience of being human by introducing alien or superhuman elements that help illustrate a core aspect of being human, but without any distracting ties to anything in our RL. 

It's always safe to set stories on a future or alternate Earth or on some distant planet, or even an alternate past Earth. The closer you try to fit it to the News cycle, the fewer the people who can truly enjoy it.

For what its worth... 

Shadar

 
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14 Jun 2022 21:01 #74665 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Portraying the police in a story

My understanding is that a lot of the reasons for the ‘defund the police’ movement are because social services are being starved of funds and the police have become too trigger happy
 
Yes, a lot of the movement doesn't say there should be NO police force. But that there should not be as many government employees with a charter for protective force, instead moving a lot of that funding to programs that try to prevent people in society from getting that desparate in the first place. Or, if perpetrators are mentally unstable, seeking a medical solution first rather than just locking them up.
Exploring this in a story could take it to a VERY dark and bitter place if the author wanted to go there.

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14 Jun 2022 21:26 - 14 Jun 2022 21:28 #74666 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Portraying the police in a story

There is a danger is trying to make something "too real" with regards to current affairs.
Science Fiction has always sought to understand the experience of being human by introducing alien or superhuman elements that help illustrate a core aspect of being human, but without any distracting ties to anything in our RL.
It's always safe to set stories on a future or alternate Earth or on some distant planet, or even an alternate past Earth. The closer you try to fit it to the News cycle, the fewer the people who can truly enjoy it.

 
Yes. The original Star Trek was sold to the network as an alternate history of the week. Entertainment that affordably could re-use the existing backlot investment in sets and scenery, show the audience a new "what if" each week. The Starship was originally only the gimmick to get the consistent crew to the next alternate version of Earth, somewhere out in the galaxy.

Superhero stories can successfully include some serious social themes. A lot of Marvel comics and MCU movies do this well. But they don't go for "ripped from the headlines" urgent turnaround like a Cops & Lawyers show.

Storytelling can entertain a mass audience and also get them to think in some new ways. Dickens, Tolstoy, Hugo all very very successful in the BUSINESS of publishing, with stories that hit hard on Social Problems and passionate advocacy. But they first were well crafted stories with great complex characters, well designed plots, skillful use of words.

Many movies have nudged a mainstream audience out of some common fixed ideas and prejudices, opening the door to a bigger conversation. Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Chinatown, Godfather, Brokeback Mountain for just a few examples.

If Management and Creative Staff agree that Pushing The Right Way To Think About The Issues is the single most important thing, above the basics of characters, plots, craftsmanship, you wind up with the "Get Woke, Go Broke" CW network. Where EVERY week has a drop in the ratings and EVERY show loses half of its remaining audience every season.

I like that the AU is broad enough for some Heavy Issues And Themes stories, and also for some light fluffy fun where you can turn your brain off for a while and just enjoy the mighty gals doing their thing.
Last edit: 14 Jun 2022 21:28 by AUphoric.

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