Channel 19 in Akron, Ohio was disappointed that it wouldn’t be allowed to take cameras into the corruption trial of Jimmy Dimora, a former county commissioner. But when life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla: they bring the courtroom proceeding to their viewers’ TV sets by re-enacting them with puppets.
It is an interesting moment when real life is understood through fantasy. Situationists would call this detournement — to turn the medium around against itself. To corrode the ideas of those who continue to think about this idea. I bet a lot of people in Akron who talk about the corruption trial wind up including themselves in the ridiculous puppet world.
Even more powerfully, the puppets get replicated through the Interwebs, spreading the awareness of this trial far and wide. It is a brilliant response to court censorship.
I also think it’s worth mentioning the racist stereotype of Suzanne, the sex worker whose puppet pigment and willingness to take money make her a true prop in the story.
See. Even though I’m right, that sounds foolish. That is the power of detournement.