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May it please the court, the case of Conspiracy vs. Reality. For the defence, Incognito Montoya, who argues that justice is a fiction. Present your evidence in whatever order you will.
Thank you, Your Honour.
EXHIBIT A! The real-life superhero!
Sometimes, ordinary law-enforcement is not enough to bring villains to justice. Sometimes, people just want to be Batman. In any case, the ‘real-life superhero’ movement takes place all over the globe (shout out to Christchurch’s ‘Flat Man’), but most originate from the Mecca of the superhero, the USA. The most famous being Phoenix Jones, who for a time actually did deal out mixed martial arts and pepper-spray-flavoured justice on the criminals of Seattle, until he was arrested in October 2011. The police called him a “deeply troubled individual” (code for “misunderstood guy, too cool to live”) and claimed he and the characters he inspires had to be removed for obstructing justice and interfering with police investigation (code for “down with tights, up with badges”). Justice is a power fantasy, whether in uniform or tights.
EXHIBIT B! The CSI effect!
No, this isn’t the ‘YEEEEEEEEEEEAH!’ that occurs when you put on sunglasses after making a pun. The reason behind CSI’s immense popularity was that the notion that science could be used to solve crimes was a relatively unexplored concept, and audiences ate it up, to the point of indigestion. Subsequent juries were disappointed that their court days were not like the show, full of swabs and carpet-fibre matches and DNA evidence (all of which are more difficult to procure in real life). Consequently, criminals were believed to have grown more careful after the show’s inception, believing that one stray hair, fingerprint or scuffed rug would send them straight to jail. Justice is science: it aims at truth, but falls short.
EXHIBIT C! Journalism, the doing of justice to real-life events, is fiction.
Justice is considered synonymous with objectivity; Hunter S. Thompson (to whom this
column owes a great deal of inspiration) once attested that the reason that politics is able to remain corrupt is because the news outlets insist on being objective. Thus, journalism has become a sort of fiction. News conceals: it doesn’t reveal, it doesn’t hold up the travesties and triumphs of the world as something of note but as something that ‘happened’, and doesn’t encourage the public to think critically about them. It is written by robots for robots. When news does have a ‘side’, it is used to prop-up politicians. News gets to us quicker thanks to the internet, but it is not mulled over: just discarded in time for a new story to hit. News becomes a product and not a service.
Justice is whatever you think. Justice is whatever you need. Justice is whatever you want it to be.