NMM(-TV)SNBCNNBS: The Cops of Fox x Globo’s BOPE

NMM(-TV)SNBCNNBS: Fox x BOPE | Google Video: I subtitle for you, and submit for your Twilight Zone consideration, a ride-along in the “Big Skull” armored vehicle used by the “trooper elite” of the military police in Rio de Janeiro — an object of concern by various bleeding-heart human rights groups for years.

The program is the Globo network’s aptly named Sunday evening magazine show, Fantástico.

The “trooper elite,” of course — a former Rio police chief who now lives in France still refers to Rio PMs, in an interview with Zero Hora, as the bando podre — pisses on human rights groups. And on the treaties that Brazil has signed to bring its governance of police forces into line with international standards.

See Sampa: The Broom vs. the Brushcut, for example.

On the distinctly Brazilian genre of rabid “law and order” journalism — “I am a personal friend of the Colonel’s! Anyone who criticizes the trooper elite is a Communist!” — that Globo’s Sunday evening magazine show is aping here, with a few refinements, see NMM(-TV)SNBCNNBS: TV Record on the Incident at Vila Joazina.

It’s interesting, I find, to compare this gabbling nonsense — gunfire in the dark, with mood music, and a camera mounted to emulate the point of view of a first-person shooter video game — with shows like COPS on the FOX Network.

An episode of which I was just watching here in Brooklyn.

On COPS, for example, officers are identified by name; procedures, techniques, equipment and operational parameters are explained; events in the unfolding action are time-stamped; suspects are shown telling their — often pathetic, lying-ass — stories; and a supervisor might even stop by to declare the whole operation a righteous bust.

“You’re not dead, he’s not dead., you got the evidence. Good work. BBQ Sunday?”

The story is documented fully from beginning to end — in strict compliance with the Aristotelian unities.

Compare “No One Dead is Innocent,” on the confrontation at Catumbi, near downtown Rio, just recently.

COPS, you have to admit, is actually fairly informative.

Educational, even. After all, the more information you have about how cops do what they do, and why, the better prepared you are to be arrested without getting the snot beaten out of you.

And the less likely you are to panic if you see them tazing your crazy crack-smoking uncle. He’s going to feel that in the morning, but he’s not going to die. So chill. Go with the program. It’s going to be all right.

It may be FOX, in other words, but it’s actually relatively reality-based. It may contain an element of PR flackery for law enforcement — I have friends in law enforcement, mind you — but at the very least it is capable flackery for law enforcement.

Those guys are just doing their job. They do seem to care about whether they do it right or not. Wrestling drugged-out weirdos is not fun, or really all that funny. Not for $34,000 a year. Neither is shooting people.

This Globo segment, on the other hand, is basically packaged as a first-person shooter video game: All mood music and gunfire, no facts.

Note the standard Wolf Blitzer lead-in: “Fantástico starts strong this evening with an exclusive report …”

The report reports nothing.

Indeed, there is no reporter.

Globo has simply given the BOPE troopers a camera to do with as they see fit.

Why not let the PM press office edit the segment as well? In fact: Did you let the PM press office edit the segment?

The “Big Skull” makes ostensive rounds of some of the more notorious drug ghettos — Beira-Mar, for example, native stomping grounds of Fernandinho Beira-Mar.

Shots are fired.

By whom?


No one is arrested.

Beginnings are murky. There are no endings.

It’s like riding Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

So what are we to make of a police unit — a “trooper elite” — that, thinking it may have shot somebody during an action, is shown returning hours later to sniff around the bloodstains on the corner?

Where’s CSI Miami, with the rubber gloves and the paper booties?

Where’s the yellow tape and the crusty sergeant warning you not to fuck up his crime scene or he will have your badge?

Where’s Columbo?

Where’s that tabloid-TV murdered-kid cold-case guy, doing his stand-up nearby?

So I guess there’s useful hackneyed television and then there’s putrid hackneyed television, isn’t there?

See the difference?

“Fighting the nation with their guns & ammunition”

And these people want you to believe that the “trooper elite” would never fire randomly on full automatic, full metal jacket, into densely inhabited areas? (Rio: Federal Prosecutor Will Look Into Cop Conduct)

Their fan club puts snuff videos on the Internet of them doing exactly that, with a”funk” (rap) soundtrack — lyrics like

Hey, man in black?
What is your mission?
I go to the favela
And leave corpses on the ground.

Yes, I do take this personally.

You wanna make something of it?

My wife was in a São Paulo bank while it was being robbed last year.

She was in the ATM area and was able to slip out before the PMs arrived — and, predictably, started blasting.

I happen to enjoy my wife’s company.

In fact — on the bum here in the Brooklyn springtime while she’s back in São Paulo for another few weeks, I find that I am a little lost without the crazy broad.

Go figure.


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