The Dramatic Arc of a Manhattan Murder

Now that we know the shootings last week in Manhattan near the Empire State Building were a curious mix of both murder and bystander-gone-wrong, I’d like to take a moment to deconstruct the dramatic unfolding of events that happened that morning over a 2.5 hour arc to demonstrate how the social news spread first, as a terrorist attack on the Empire State Building, and ultimately became the truth of a revelatory revenge murder.

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Rihanna Gets a Gun and Shoots Herself in the Breast

We have been big supporters of Rihanna — but the tastelessness of her new “Man Down” video where she assassinates a man before the song even begins — is just too much tacky for our type.  We are also plainly aware that the core mistakes of the Man Down video are identical to the errors made in the video for “Love the Way You Lie.” We see a pattern here and we don’t like the mosaic.

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Strengthening the Binding Between Virtual Violence and Real Aggressiveness

On May 12, 2008, I wrote — Violent Imagination Shaping Brain Reality — and the argument for that article was that we are formed and influenced by every experience, be it real or virtual, and that is why we must not seek out violence in our entertainment and pastime memes because the aftereffects are too dwelling in our real lives:

One can no longer argue gory movies, neighborhood killings and violent video games do not re-shape the brain in bad and terrifying ways.

One need not kill in order to perceive the effects of murder on the body by the brain — and that is a harsh and bitter reality for us to accept when so willfully immerse our children in a culture of violence and celebrated bad behavior.

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Sarah Palin at the Core of Crosshairs

The unraveling of the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona over the weekend warns us against inciting the threat of metaphorical violence in politics to achieve literal ends.  Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Reload” Palin placed herself in the center of the assassin’s intention with her despicable — and clearly terroristic — weaponized “map” of targeted Democrats, that included Gabby Giffords, placed in gun scope crosshairs on her Facebook page.  In the wake of the shooting, the map has been removed.

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Incarcerating the Innocent

Let’s say you were accused of a serious crime you did not commit.  You have no witnesses for your alibi, but the police have several eyewitnesses against you.  You vow to fight the charges in court even though you have no money and will have to rely on a public defender.  The day before you are to head to trial and face a possible 10-year conviction, the prosecution offers you a deal.  Plead to a lesser charge and you’ll be out of prison in 6 months with good time credit and parole.  You’ll be a convicted felon, but you’ll be incarcerated for less than a year.  Do you take the deal and plead to a crime you did not commit?  Or do you risk losing it all in a jury trial and facing a mandatory decade stretch in the can if you lose?

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Do the Imprisoned Benefit from Celebrity Support?

Celebrities often seem to get behind people they perceive as being wrongfully imprisoned. Take, for example, the West Memphis Three. They were accused in 1993 of murder and have been in prison since then — their case is now being re-opened due to new DNA evidence but for years, celebrities such as Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp have stood behind them and proclaimed their innocence.

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The Bullet and the Body: Bam Bam Bam in Binghamton

This Urban Semiotic blog has been dedicated — for the last five years or so — to digging up and discovering the signs, images and visual imprints that coerce the city core.  After writing over 2,000 articles for you here, I can confidently share with you the American Urban Center is governed by, and dug into, two unflayable, and perpetually un-learnable, lessons in dueling images:  The Bullet and The Body.

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