By Frank Gormlie
By Jim Miller
In Mike Davis’s seminal discussion of noir in City of Quartz he defines the genre as “a fantastic convergence of American ‘tough-guy’ realism, Weimar expressionism, and existentialized Marxism—all focused on unmasking a ‘bright, guilty place.’”
Born in the minds of the “Depression-crazed middle classes” of southern California, the “nightmare anti-myth of noir” trafficked in alienation and a distrust of the morality of capitalism. More specifically, Davis notes how “noir everywhere insinuated contempt for a depraved business culture while it simultaneously searched for a critical mode of writing or filmmaking within it.”
Thus in the “through-the-glass-darkly” novels of this new genre, early noir writers created “a regional fiction obsessively concerned with puncturing the bloated image of Southern California as the golden land of opportunity and the fresh start.” In so doing, they transformed “each charming ingredient of the booster’s arcadia into a sinister equivalent.”
Though not widely discussed, the presence of a new security force in Ocean Beach has some OBceans alarmed.
National Public Safety has been retained by the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association to “keep Ocean Beach family-friendly by enhancing public safety in specific geographical locations” … this after the OBMA dumped Elite Services USA (the red shirts) for general ineffectiveness.
As a security force, neither outfit has much leeway to effect actual change in terms of cleaning up the streets. Security guards in California are private citizens, and have no powers of arrest beyond that of any other private citizen and they’ve no power to temporarily detain anyone [editor: although they can make “citizen’s arrest” and detain someone until police arrive – much like super-market security can do].
Help us take a pulse of both the village of Ocean Beach and its visitors on the issue of the police surveillance cameras that are planned along OB’s waterfront over the next several weeks.
Take our poll.
Here’s our poll on the cameras – actually there are two polls – one for OB citizens – its residents, property owners and businesspeople, and the second for visitors to OB.
The Four Problems With Public Video Surveillance
Video cameras, or closed-circuit television (CCTV), are becoming a more and more widespread feature of American life. Fears of terrorism and the availability of ever-cheaper cameras have accelerated the trend even more. The use of sophisticated systems by police and other public security officials is particularly troubling in a democratic society.
In lower Manhattan, for example, the police are planning to set up a centralized surveillance center where officers can view thousands of video cameras around the downtown – and police-operated cameras have proliferated in many other cities across America in just the past several years.
We have no objection to cameras at specific, high-profile public places that are potential terrorist targets, such as the U.S. Capitol, But the impulse to blanket our public spaces and streets with video surveillance is a bad idea. Here are four reasons why:
1. Video Surveillance Has Not Been Proven Effective
The implicit justification for the recent push to increase video surveillance is the threat of terrorist attacks. But suicide attackers are clearly not deterred by video cameras –