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Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (8)

To the $1 million settlement in the UC Davis pepper-spray lawsuit add the $1,116,135 in actual monies paid out to manage this crisis, plus $1 million for other internal expenses and $1 million for diminished reputation. And let’s not forget the $240K Pike cost the university as settlement in a 2008 racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit resulting from his alleged homophobic slurs directed at an openly gay Asian-American fellow officer. Grand total so far: $4,356,135. That’s one pricey hire. […]

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 (2)

Without the videos and still photographs of Lt. John Pike, the campus policeman at UC Davis who was documented on Friday, November 18, pepper-spraying peacefully seated Occupy-movement protesters, we’d have had none of the international uproar that ensued, nor the pandemic photocollage response to his act. So lens-derived imagery has played a crucial dual role here: first by providing undeniable evidence of an event, and then by enabling spiraling critical commentary on that event and its instigator, plus satire thereof. […]