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Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (12)

Were it not for all that still and video documentation, in the late afternoon of November 18, 2011 we’d have found ourselves in a protesters’-word-vs.-police-officers’-word situation, with the cops’ version most likely prevailing in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary. And, since the protesters would probably not have the ability to differentiate between MK-4 and MK-9, Pike and his “troops,” as he liked to militarize them semantically, would only have had to rustle up a few cans of authorized MK-4 while hiding the MK-9 in order to appear to have followed the rules. I doubt that it would have lasted more than two news cycles. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (11)

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has become the last woman standing, so to speak, in the school’s pepper-spray scandal. Everyone else in any position of authority in the hierarchy either resigned or got the heave-ho. Within a year or so all the students Lt. John Pike sprayed will have graduated or left. In less than a year Katehi will become vested in the UC retirement plan. That should take some of the sting out of the fact that her eventual obit will surely replay her November 19, 2011 televised “walk of shame” along a path lined with the students whose trust she’d betrayed. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (7)

“Waddling like a cocksure duck,” as one commentator at the Dangerous Minds site put it, Pike with his blithe disregard for the multiple still and video cameras trained on him all but ensured that his actions, and his attitude in performing them, would go viral. What resulted was not only Pike’s transformation into a memetic icon but, much more importantly, an object lesson in the potency of citizen journalism as enabled by the internet. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (6)

I’ve tracked the “pepper-spray copy” story here at Photocritic International because it’s as vivid and immediate an example of the potency of citizen journalism via the lens media as a commentator on lens culture like myself could want. I’ve said, from the beginning, that without Lt. John Pike’s bring-it-on turning of this situation into a police-brutality photo op in front of a crowd of amateur paparazzi, heads would not have started to roll at UC Davis and he would not have become an international symbol of uniformed thuggery. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (4)

The behavior of the administrators untimately responsible in this situation, no matter how reprehensible or questionable, did not manifest itself visually in a resonant way. Pike, lowest man on this totem pole, has outdone them all in that regard, rising overnight to global celebrity by becoming an internet meme, the instantly recognizable symbol of the callous, doughnut-heavy, authority-abusing white cop. The proliferation of Pike collages cheers me considerably, demonstrating as it does that the pillory — as a function that empowers the citizenry to mock and shame those who violate the social contract — endures. […]