Thursday, June 16, 2011

When Art Imitates Life, Or Is It The Other Way Around? 'Rookie Blue' Edition...

This sh*t fascinates me.

In the season premiere of Rookie Blue the use of technology that these young kids, these rookies on the force, brought to their job, is really revolutionary. In this word of using social media and new media only for personal, petty, superfluous gain, they are turning the tide and showing its real worth. And these kids are not only about fresh eyes, after all: their generation truly is the technological generation, as the majority of them grew up not knowing what it was like to be from a time when computers weren’t in every home. But that fresh perspective is just another way the ABC drama is showcasing a unique look at an age-old story.

How many police procedurals are on television today? At least a dozen across cable and major networks combined. And yet none of them are really showcasing technology in the way the Rookie Blue season two premiere is. In investigating a shooting outside of a concert venue, the uniform officers go through the crowd's cell phones, Facebook pages, Flickr accounts, and Tweets to find photos they unceremoniously snapped of their wait in line, posing with friends, and just general boredom/ways to kill time. They are hoping to catch a glimpse of the shooter, or at least find someone who seemed out of place, uncomfortable, or otherwise suspicious. Brilliant, right?

After all, that's just what kids today do: they're on their phones and their social media every second they can be-- and it's not just the youth who are so invested in staying in constant communication, even with virtual strangers. So why not put it to good use and create something beneficial out of what appears to be complete gratuity? Civilians are so often brought in as eyewitnesses to look at mug shots or line-ups, anyway, but nowadays everyone is armed with a camera phone, and everyone’s life is instantaneously uploaded online. We don’t need the formal Big Brother to step in; we know some stranger will have inadvertently caught our actions on camera whether we like it or not-- whether we realize it or not.

How has no one else thought of this? Well, luckily it turns out others have-- others that have the ability to make a much more real world impact than any television show (no disrespect to Rookie Blue intended; you all know how much we love television!).

“They’re doing exactly the same thing in Vancouver now with the riots after the hockey game,” Rookie Blue series star Ben Bass said. “Law enforcement in Vancouver is saying ‘If anybody has that kind of digital media, send it in. If you recognize anybody, please come forward.’ Here we have life imitating art in that kind of classic way."

“It’s an interesting story in terms of the technology and all that and how the circumstance of the shooting-- the people who witnessed it can be used. It’s amazing, the modern technology that’s available now to try to prevent or solve crime,” Bass continued, discussing how his own show has utilized it.

Amazing really is the best way to describe how our world is changing and how art, the media, and life are all mixing, mingling, and overlapping these days. We certainly hope the LAPD pick up on these techniques and get on the ball with new media (if they haven’t already). With the discussion about removing red light cameras ongoing, civilian cameras are certainly the next best thing. Eyewitness testimony can be misleading, and oftentimes fuzzy due to memory and perception, but photos and videos? They never lie.

This is a real teaching moment, don’t you think?

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