Friday’s episode of Le Petit Journal was a Spécial Baltimore. In it, Martin Weil holds the microphone to a black teenager who shouts ‘Nique la police !’ A comical and cringeworthy moment : his dreadful accent, the absolute superfluousness of his translation (What insurmontable linguistic barrier is there in ‘Fuck the police!’?). His subsequent (English) explication: ‘Fuck the police, when you see them over there (chez vous en France), fuck the police. Fuck them, fuck them all. They’re racist bastards.’ He commits the logically fallacy of taking a particular and assuming its universality, of the synecdoche. And here we come to the proximity of the comic opening onto the tragic. Why, why does he commit this fallacy? As with all fallacies, out of ignorance: his impossibility of imagining the police could ever be otherwise than how they are in the US: American provincialism.This is what prevents the American people from ever effecting humane change.

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