Law and Order SVU: a primer
To add to the faux-weighty, ostentatiously self-important irony of SVU “tackling the tough questions” — in the instance Darleen notes, the tough questions being: are famous, southern white female celebrity chefs all at once fearful of / intrigued by the savage Mandingos that roam northeastern cities even if said Mandingos are but figments of the white paranoiacs’ innate racist imaginations, no doubt brought on by an upbringing steeped in race hatred, and not the kindly black youths who are holding down jobs (in Obama’s America? Talk about fiction!) and working their way through school to become, say, veterinarians, or physicists? Are all hoodie wearing youth deserving of racial profiling, even if only blacks (or Muslims) are ever used as examples of such profiling, and even then, without any kind of fair and proper contextualization of the “issues” supposedly being examined (narratives are always skewed such that they push a particular point of view; and this is often especially the case when the writers strive to showcase their own objectivity, which, while ironic, is nevertheless the case, and is the mark of the well-paid TV hack) — I’d like to point out the following SVU “formula,” which is, in nearly every way, a complete mapping of the left’s political and social worldview.
On the show, the detectives, led by that one chick with the inflated lips and the tendency toward serial moralizing, are consistently making snap judgments about potential suspects — who nearly always turn out to be red herrings in the end, and so are on offer to (supposedly) add intrigue and complexity to the plot mystery, but who are in fact merely political cutouts for the message of social justice and state-permitted acceptable thought — as they are sneeringly berated for their debased morality, be it their capitalistic avarice or their un-PC worldviews. These are the individuals, who because they pursue their own trajectories and don’t play well with others, are motif villains. Their failure to join the right-thinking community marks them as undesirables, fringe scum, though not always the perpetrators of the specific crime under investigation. But one day they will mess us, and the detectives will be there to bring them down for their thought crimes. This is implied. Constantly.
Next, some sort of “rule” always prevents one of these detective saviors — it is their morality pitted against the cold harsh reality of the corporate-like structure of the politicized police higher ups and district attorneys (who only take cases they can win) — from saving someone who might otherwise have been saved, provided the show’s later rationale for those same detectives having to struggle with their own commitment to the rules of the job, vs “doing the right thing.”
And the right thing, of course, nearly always involves breaking the rules in order to accomplish the goal of saving the victim — the clear message being the ends justify the means.
They are then scolded for doing so, but we are left to understand — as is the political scolder who nevertheless understands why they did what they did — that the ends justify the means, and that when good and righteous cops on the side of the victim class have to choose between following rules and affecting positive social change, and bringing about at least one instance of social justice in world that protects the lesser morality of those who think differently than they (which is what accounts for determining lesser morality in the first place), they are willing to do so and live with the consequences.
Of which there are of course none, generally speaking. Unless you count the scolding, that unfolds something like this: “I know why you did what you did. But we can’t have you out there acting on your own. We have procedures for a reason. And if everyone simply ignored them, the system would break down — and you’d be no better than the criminals you pursue.”
– And which is followed by a bit of contrition married to a poignant, resigned rejoinder: “I understand captain. But sometimes saving a woman who would otherwise be crushed by the avarice, violence, and greed of the patriarchy / racialists / pornographer, supersedes the rules. And maybe one day, in a more just society, we’ll come to figure that out.”
The message of SVU has been, for some years now, the message of the left. In fact, it puts on display their anti-foundationalist self righteousness and their kernel assumption that by their doing something they believe in, they are (it naturally follows) doing something good. And though that means they may run afoul of political and societal norms, they are doing good because they, themselves, are good. And goodness is defined by doing good, creating a perfect circle of self-rationalizing and moral aggrandizement. QED!
I hope somebody DVRs the thing and sends it to me. Because I’m happy to add a commentary track.
And I bet it will be fucking epic, too.