Dear Diary:
Droit de Seigneur


This will be very brief, because a brief is precisely what it is not going to be.

It took a while for the toxicity of last week’s now infamous Gates-Crowley encounter to hit me. The poison, for me, has nothing to do with race — but I didn’t see that for a day or so. President Obama’s suggestion that Officer Crowley might have acted “stupidly” reassured me, but what I wrote about it in the Daily Office last Friday shows whither my thoughts were listing. “Police forces also need a re-think,” I said, and I said it from personal experience with police officers, not from a background of racial prejudice. My experience with policemen has not been extensive, but in almost every instance it has stunk of the sour mutual dislike of the good-natured jock and the high-strung intellectual. Imagine two men who dance very well — gifted ballroom dancers — each an assertive natural leader in his own way. One excels at the tango, the other at the waltz. Now imagine them trying to dance together. Who’s the lady?

Don’t make the mistake of imagining that the high-strung intellectual is any better than the good-natured jock at packing away his testosterone. Consider, rather, that the high-strung intellectual regards himself as the one who doesn’t need a gun. He’s the one with the brain!

A constabulary worthy of the Information Age, staffed with a few low-strung but insightful intellectuals as handy with a keyboard as with a weapon, would go a long way toward bridging the rather abyssal divide between the men who imagine better societies and the men who protect them. I’m not suggesting that clever people are above the law. I’m just wishing that more clever people were the law.

One Response to “Dear Diary:
Droit de Seigneur

  1. Mike Foley says:

    Self-control is called for when dealing with the police (I have some experience here from my drinking days.) Indulging an urge to be witty is not much different than indulging an instinct to fight. Both are losing strategies.