CSI: Cyber. A Tale of Two Episodes.

I loved the original CSI, aka CSI: Las Vegas. Didn’t really follow the other two. Now that the first show had concluded I decided to give a try to the latest one. While the original show made science cool before The Big Gang Bang Theory, specifically forensic  science, it didn’t really offer a whole lot of commentary on social issues. The new spin-off CSI: Cyber is clearly taking a different stance. However, it seems they haven’t made up their mind on which side they want to take a stand. Or perhaps they are deliberately playing both sides. We shall see.

I loved the third episode of the second season, Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes. It was a breath of fresh air – a take on Black Lives Matter movement that I thought couldn’t possibly appear on mainstream television. Then I decided to check out on the internet what the other people think of this episode. Big mistake. Turns out, if I liked this episode, it has to be because I am racist. There is no other explanation. But first, let me digress and refresh on some necessary background facts.

You must’ve heard of Ferguson, Missouri. And you probably heard of Michael Brown. And you might’ve even heard of Department of Justice report on the Ferguson, MO Police Department. But have you read the report? Don’t be ashamed, most people haven’t. They went with the convenient sound-bite summary provided for them by their favorite media outlet. It’s a lot of reading material. There were actually two reports, one on the Police Department and one specifically on the death of Michael Brown, released, not coincidently, on the same day – March 4, 2015. If I had to sum it up in two sentences, it would be this:

  • There is plenty of evidence of systematic racism and abuse of authority in the Ferguson Police Department.
  • There is no adequate evidence that the death of Michael Brown is a good example of the point one above.

I think it was Jon Stewart who put it thusly: there is something in these reports for everyone, allowing both sides to claim victory. The liberal and the conservative media each took half of that message and ran with it in opposite directions.

Now that you’ve been thoroughly prepped, you might understand why I enjoyed the BLM-themed episode of CSI. Despite the histrionics from the perpetually aggrieved, I loved it because it is accurate.

The episode centers on social unrest and racial tension in Ashdale, Pennsylvania. A police body cam video is released on social media, demonstrating a cold-blooded murder of a defenseless black man by a police officer. The activists are demanding justice and, more importantly, swift justice. The thing is swift justice often ends up being an oxymoron. Investigations take time. And, as it turns out (SPOILER ALERT) while the video is showing a real assault, the gun shot is edited in later. The cop in the video is clearly a racist asshole, on the job as well as off duty. His relationship with his brother soured over the disapproval of brother’s interracial marriage. (On a side note, the woman was gorgeous. How could anyone disapprove of marrying her?) There is little love lost between me and corrupt cops, but even I think death sentence might be a little excessive here. His brother marks him for death by making the fake video, doxing him and even planting a tracker on him (END SPOILER ALERT).

The episode has all the clichés of a difficult conversation on race: the good, the bad and the ugly. There is the white guy awkwardly trying to say he can relate to race issues, because he was profiled too – well, fat shamed. There are the protesters determined to see all police violence as police brutality, even the cleanest possible case of reasonable self-defence. There is the police force determined to protect one of their own at all costs, seeing external investigation as a threat and FBI agents as the enemy. And there is the black guy forced to choose between being seen as an Angry Black Man™ or an Uncle Tom.

But the most dramatic is the final scene of the episode, (THAT SPOILER AGAIN) where the supposedly murdered man shows up alive and well. He tries to attract attention, but in vain. The protesters are busy demanding justice, too busy to pay attention to the people on whose behalf they purport to speak. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you don’t know what SJW stands for.

Of course this episode would anger some people. But some people are quick to find offense and it would not be wise to walk on eggshells for them. It is in fact an accurate retelling of the Ferguson story: a group of protesters with a legitimate cause, but who get carried away with a victim cause celebre beyond what the facts warrant. I was deeply moved and pleasantly surprised by this episode. Did the show take a markedly new tone? Will it stick for long? I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Next up: same season, episode 9.

The iWitness episode covers a rape on college campus. Of course, being a fictional show the specifics are all made up. But they make no secret of the fact that it is a fictionalized account based on what they consider real stories of the documentary film The Hunting Ground. In fact, the main character even described the campus as ‘the hunting ground’, just in case you missed the more subtle clues. The only problem is, this documentary is about as authoritative as Reefer Madness or, perhaps even more appropriately, Der Ewige Jude (Yes, fuck Godwin’s law).

The episode does an admirable job regurgitating all the classics of the rape culture hysteria.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted in college – a terrifying number, if true. Which it isn’t. The studies that show that horrific figure have huge methodological flaws and even some researchers involved in the studies do not support the way their conclusions are used.

Then the schools are portrayed as complicit in the cover up, to protect their reputation. Again, a bold claim unsupported by evidence. In fact, by ‘cover up’ the rape hysteria activists mean investigating the allegations, instead of immediate expulsions on the woman’s say-so. And the assaulted student is discouraged from going to the police and even threatened with having scholarship revoked for making false accusation. What are the real world examples this fictional story alludes to? I can’t think of one that is not thoroughly discredited.

And my personal favorite – the assertion that less than 10% of the rape allegations are false, which, even if true, is a terrible argument for getting rid of protections for the accused. Notice how the script writers couldn’t commit to a specific number, seeing how even feminist friendly sources cite anything between two and eight percent. I do not know what percentage is really false, but a brief course in Logic101 would indicate that the number of actually false allegations is probably higher than the number that is provably false. Between the rape allegations that end in a conviction for the accused and rape allegations that end in a false allegation conviction for the accuser, there is a giant gulf of “I don’t fucking know”. Feminists are comfortable claiming for themselves the entirety of the grey zone, between the small percentages of black and white cases. I don’t want to stoop to their level.

It boggles my mind how CSI could release in one season two episodes so drastically different. One is a giant snub to the SJWs (and by a snub I simply mean a realistic retelling of the events). The other is a complete sellout to the SJW rape hysteria narrative. Of course, the simplest explanation is that the episodes were written and directed by different people. But even when somebody else does the writing grunt work, ultimately it had to be the same people who give the final stamp of approval. A conspiracy theorist could believe that they are playing both sides, to see which gets better response. But I think the simplest explanation is that they simply have to treat police differently. Running a show like that requires some good will and co-operation from police and even occasional help from the police consultants. When allegations of police misconduct surface, CSI producers have no choice but to include the police side of the story. They do not feel similarly compelled to provide both sides of the story on the allegations against university administrators and students.

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