Tuesday, February 05, 2008

no criminal standing before me

When I was young, I Ioved Fisher-Price play sets. I really liked the town, with its gas station, post office, dentist office and so on. Oddly this utopia of smiling armless people had a jail. When my sister and I felt bad about putting the figures in jail, we used wooden blocks--I believe we would have chosen stubby green rectangle and purple cylindrical wooden ones--for our criminals. At one level that was nice, but at another, troubling, because we chose to still have criminality in our town, and chose to take our criminals from the ranks of the foreign and absolutely non-personal (non-humanlike). Why insist that criminality exist, as if it were an entertaining or community necessity? I once heard an essay on public radio about how crime (or was it poverty? No matter--I think the same sorry logic was discussed) is economically beneficial and therefore encouraged to the degree that people make a legitimate living dealing with criminal elements--or something like that--which to me seemed a jarring idea . . . Until I remember the toy town I played with.

If only it had come with a Fisher Price monastery with a Zossima figure, I could have worked things out.


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