My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is "Crash" Realistic?

It might have won Best Picture, but is it realistic? Larry Elder has a look.
Actor Matt Dillon plays an immoral cop who pulls over a black couple and proceeds to fondle the wife right in front of the husband. Just before the couple pulled over, they laughed at the idea of getting stopped — after all, they'd done nothing. But, no, Officer Dillon shatters their naivete, showing why the "black community" refuses to trust the police.

But does this square with reality?

The U.S. Justice Department, in 1998, undertook a nationwide survey. They asked the following question: Are you satisfied with your local police? The results surprised local "civil rights leaders." In Los Angeles, the site of the movie "Crash," 86 percent of all respondents said yes, they were satisfied with the police in their neighborhood. Eighty-nine percent of whites agreed, but what about blacks? Despite the 1992 riots, despite the horrific videotaped beating of Rodney King in 1991, 82 percent of black Angelenos approved of their local police in their own neighborhood.

William Bratton, a white man, runs the Los Angeles Police Department. But Los Angeles' first black police chief, Willie Williams, followed by up-from-the-ranks black chief Bernard Parks, served as Bratton's immediate predecessors. Yes, many blacks complain about race mistreatment and being pulled over for DWB — Driving While Black — but take a look at the numbers. The LAPD logs almost 1 million encounters with the public every year, from 9-1-1 responses to warnings for traffic stops. If casual interactions are included — when the cop on the beat just stops to chat with a civilian, for instance — LAPD estimates the number of "encounters" would double or triple. In 2004, 4,907 public complaints were filed, of which — to date — 4,760 have been closed. Only 164 of the closed complaints were sustained. Even if the 138 complaints with a determination still pending are included with the 164 sustained complaints, that's a small fraction of a percent of all the interactions police have with the public.


Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Now, I liked Crash, so I'm biased here, but I for one am a little sick of people slamming movies and T.V. shows for not being "realistic".


A lot of people keep talking about how Crash was, "unrealistic" and "contrived", or about the coincidences in the movie straining credulity. Well, I say, so what? IT'S A MOVIE!!! Is it trying to make some points? Sure. Do the points related to the real world? Of course. That doesn't mean the movie has to be "realistic". In fact, I for one would say that Crash effectively demonstrates the complexity of the points it's trying to make BY it's very unrealistic nature. If all the characters were "real", and all the circumstances "realistic", I don't think the movie could have tackled some of the issues it tried to tackle at all. Not in the way it tries to demonstrate the complexities of modern life, and of our interactions with our fellow citizens.

One of my favourite movies of all time is about a police officer who roams the streets of Los Angeles tracking down technological replicants of humans and destroying them. It wasn't "realistic" or "plausable" in many aspects at all. But that didn't stop Ridley Scott from exploring some fascinating aspects of human nature, and what it means to be human.

Anyway, others could make a much better defence of Crash than me, I just felt a need to comment because I'm so sick of people attacking art for not being "real" enough. I think they're missing the point by so much, I'm not sure anyone could even explain the point to them if they tried.

Crash was not a documentary about life in Los Angeles. It's not even a fictional movie about life in Los Angeles. And people who don't get that are never going to understand it, or like it.

4:58 PM  

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