Monday, January 10, 2011

Trapping Justice

Chapter 14 is about two different constructions/conceptions of justice. The one I'm focusing on, because I think it's more interesting is the idea of justice as purely procedural. This conception of it is something that makes justice seem less...divinely inspired.

Justice as a construct as best practices, constantly revised. Or in other words, improving by increments. We do not simply become more just by existing, we become more just by putting in place and keeping in place rules that reinforce justice, as we see it on the ground of 2011.

Justice becomes a kind of efficiency, unless equality is preferred. One part of justice becomes setting up a system and then trying to replicate the process. (Of course it can't work.) Justice not as an ideal, but a reflexive process. Maybe this is really basic stuff that I don't know because I never took a course on it, but the process as something evolving is new to me, when I'm forced to think about it.

There was a limited series comic called Cry For Justice. (It was terrible, and the rumor mill has it that DC editorial had their hands in it, contorting it, Twister-style.) The title gives off the idea that justice is something with a capital letter and that it's conferred upon something. And that's not quite right, according to what I believe the book to be saying.

Justice is what you make it. Maybe? Literally. If you make justice some cowboy western arithmetic, it's going to be cowboy western arithmetic. How much value that has is up to you. Justice is a product of the construction process. If you have more tools, it can be refined pretty far. Whether it's a good conception of justice or not, I don't know. But the idea sounds intriguing and feels fun to play around with. I think that's what this blog is for and it makes a pretty okay ending.

I saw Trap Them recently and they were wonderful. I describe them using a description from Greg Rucka's Private Wars. They're a IED slathered in rat poison. The rat poison is an anti-coagulant, which means that if someone is bleeding from the blast, the blood will not clot and they'll continue to bleed out. Trap Them sounds, on record, like that, with the anti-coagulant level of attention to detail.

They started off their set with Fucking Viva, which is a stellar opener. It's methodical and it builds in a way that lets you know there's so much nasty heavy coming. Fucking Viva opens the record it appears on with this line: So, in the rivers float your modern times and your alpha death decree. Ignore the alpha death decree part, for a moment since it makes explicit what's floating in the river.

What's important is that the record opens with the idea that modernity has a price and it's paid, brutally, in front of us. Modernity might be good for us in terms of justice, but Trap Them reminds us there's a price. Or: Think of Fucking Viva as the evil answer to We Will Rock You, which is another description that I got from somewhere else, but I can't remember where. Anyway. This is a metal band. Play loud and bang your head.

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