When the late Gil Scott-Heron said that "the revolution would not be televised," he spoke too soon. There was no way that the performance poet could conceive of the era of the viral video or know that it was just around the corner.In the event you haven't heard it, here's what Tony was writing about:
And when he wrote:
Last Friday, a cop at the University of California, Davis forgot the cardinal rule every officer should have internalized since the Rodney King debacle -- if there's a camera around, then police brutality will be televised. There are too many witnesses and too many cameras in the environment to ever give another officer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to violence on civilians. We know from painful experience that there are too many liars wearing badges to pretend otherwise.This is what he was writing about:
(If it looks familiar to you, it's because the OPJ posted the video yesterday)
But UCDavis ain't the only place the pepper's been sprayed. 84 year old Dorli Rainey was sprayed in Seattle:
And that's just two.
And so when Tony wrote:
Much has been said about the militarization of the police in this country and how the "war on drugs" mentality has trickled down into society and college policing.I'd always wondered whether the phrase "The revolution will not be televised" had any deeper meaning. With the lyrics that open with:
It also doesn't help that the Bush administration considered torture and sadism legitimate tools of coercion and social control. The cops at the bottom always take their cues from the cops at the top. When administration and military officials are amoral, then it is too much to expect men and women many levels below their pay grade to respect the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens.
The police claim that they're not choosing sides in the dispute but are simply enforcing the law. Former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a great response to such moral evasiveness: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
You will not be able to stay home, brother.It points to a revolution that will not be a media event. But Scott-Heron points to something deeper:
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
The first change takes place in your mind, he said. He said that it'll be something that can't be captured on film you'll just realize one day you're on the wrong page - that the change has already taken place everywhere around you.
The revolution will be live.