From the Left




Marc Munroe Dion on

Movie scene: A car pulls to the curb on a downtown street. Four men wait inside the vehicle. They're white. All of them have slicked-back hair, pinkie rings, shiny suits and shirts with long collars that almost cover the knots in their ties.

A man walks down the street, not seeing the guys in the car.

(Because the director of the movie is artistic and wears a scarf even when it's warm out, the soundtrack is "Se Vuol Ballare" from "The Marriage of Figaro.")

Two of the men get out of the car. They take pistols from under their jackets and shoot the guy on the sidewalk, who dies in slow motion, arms flapping like a distressed pelican.

The men get back in the car, which roars off.

(Cars never "drive" off in these situations; they "roar." You can't kill anyone if you're driving an electric car.)


When the "film" comes out, some movie critic who hasn't been in a fistfight his whole life will say the death scene was "eerily poetic."

Words are important. The dead guy in the street has been "hit." He's been "clipped." He's been "whacked." 'Clipped" is eerily poetic. "Dead" is not.

Fifteen blocks from my house, a week ago. Four kids in a car. None of them white. No one is wearing a suit. None of them is older than 21. Another kid, also not white, walks down the sidewalk. Two of the kids in the car get out with pistols in their hands. There's no soundtrack, and if anything is playing on the car's sound system, it's got way more bass than "Se Vuol Ballare."

The kid doesn't fall in slow motion. He goes down so fast that, if you were on the other side of the street when he got shot, and you started to run, you couldn't get to him before the back of his head bounced off the concrete. The two guys get back in the car, which roars off.


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