Archive for September, 2010

Stupidity in the Newspaper

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Newspapers may feature composite drawings of suspects involved in local crimes, hoping to bring criminals to justice. Some such drawings appear frighteningly realistic. I’m amazed at this artist’s raw ability to capture the very essence of the deranged suspect. What talent! I’d be able to pick out that psychotic expression anywhere. But, there are also some composite drawings like this:

I swear. This very drawing (or actually, a reasonable likeness) appeared on the front page of my local newspaper last week. Granted, the expression does indicate a person of low moral standing (notice the one cocked brow, the insolent, lopsided grin and elfin nose). Shaved heads are in right now, so this is somewhat realistic, but where are the ears? I’m afraid this rendering was the result of an unartistic stuper (short for an incorrigibly stupid person). Possibly working for a very low budget or barter-type police station. The artist may have been paid with eggs or radishes rather rather cash.

The local paper, perhaps feeling sorry for the artist and attempting to be helpful, added these significant points:

The suspect is a white male in his mid to late twenties and between five feet and six feet tall.

Apparently, the writer of the piece was on the same page of stupidity as the artist. Or maybe they were one and the same. There is a big difference between five and six feet in height. Perhaps the witness to the crime was the stuper, and this was the best description he/she could provide. Hard to tell. As additional helpful information, the newspaper reader is told:

The man weighs about 200 pounds and there are no apparent tattoos.

The face in the drawing is clearly chubby, (did you take a good look at those jowls?), so I’m guessing the suspect could easily weigh in the 300 range. But the fact that he has no visible tattoos – is that really helpful?

Usually, I pause and glance at such depictions, to dutifully memorize the criminal’s features, just in case I run into him at the Eco-friendly Dry Cleaners or Nordstrom Shoe Department (it could happen). But when my eyes fell upon the front page of my local paper, I had to stop and peer long and hard at the drawing. And still, after fifteen minutes or so, I wasn’t sure I could ever ID this perpetrator. Terribly frustrating.

More theories popped into my head. Perhaps the suspect is related to the artist/writer/witness, who is bent on doing a darn good job of throwing everyone off the scent. Or perhaps the artist/writer/witness was on medication – you know, like Accutane, whose side effects include psychosis (seeing or hearing things that are not real) and an unexplained desire to draw portraits of stick figures. Or perhaps, as is most likely, this was just another case of stupidity.

Keep thinking.