Whore Next Door: From Superbad to Worse

“What's it like having a gun?”a young Christopher Charles Mintz-Plasse, as McLovin, asks the cringe-inducing cops played by screenwriter Seth Rogen and Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader.

“It's like having two dicks, if one of them could kill someone,” Hader replies, without the slightest flicker of irony.

I recently re-watched Superbad, the 2009 teen stoner comedy that I believe took dick jokes and bromance to the next level. But the storyline featuring the two cop characters just isn't quite as funny or comfortable to a 2016 audience.

Rogen and Hader take nerdy Mintz-Plasse under their wing for the night and show him how awesome it is to be a cop. They run red lights, do target practice with their guns, and ultimately destroy their own squad car, placing the blame on an imagined “crackhead,” and thus avoiding any negative consequences from their superiors.

The reality of corrupt cops isn't and never has been funny, but now that police misconduct is finally front and center in the national conversation, the ironic glorification of these two characters feels insufficiently satirical to avoid squirming in one's seat — especially lately, after the epidemic of police violence reached its breaking point locally.

The Bay Area's reputation as a bubble of liberalism, sex positivity, and innovation is crumbling. A string of killings of black and brown San Franciscans at the hands of the police has led to comparisons to Ferguson, Mo., and laid bare real divisions between police and the communities they are meant to serve.

Additionally, the discovery of racist text messages exchanged between city cops led to a 200-person protest outside Mission Station on April 26, along with a 17-day hunger strike led by a rapper, a preschool teacher, and three others (now known forever as the “Frisco 5”).

When news of the killing of an unarmed black woman in Bayview at the hands of two SFPD officers surfaced the morning of May 20, Mayor Ed Lee finally announced the resignation of police chief Greg Suhr, who the public — and four San Francisco supervisors — had previously asked to resign after the deaths of two other citizens by police in the past year.

Also this month, just across the bridge, the Oakland Police Department is currently embroiled in a scandal taken directly from the pages of a script for Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Celeste Guap, now just over 18, recently posted on Facebook that she had sex with potentially dozens of police officers, from when she was 16. Among them was Officer Brendan O'Brien, who committed suicide last September following his wife's eerily similar suicide — using the officer's own gun — the year before. To make the story that much more disturbing, Guap's mother works as a dispatcher for OPD, and at least one of the officers admitted to knowing she was underage when he had sex with her, painting a picture of a police force turned trafficking ring.

Meanwhile, advocates of anti-trafficking legislation insist that involving law enforcement is an effective tool to fight exploitation within the sex industry.

Between 2004 and 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded grants to create six regional task forces in California to combat human trafficking. This task force includes the Oakland Police Department, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office H.E.A.T. (Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit), and the San Francisco Police Department.

The officers who allegedly had sex with Guap while she was underage have been placed on administrative leave, but as of yet, no officers involved in the OPD misconduct or the SFPD killings have been prosecuted.

Mayor Ed Lee continues to call for police reform, proposing $17.5 million to train officers in de-escalation tactics. When law-enforcement agencies are simply rewarded with grants and tax dollars despite continuing to abuse their power, how can true reform ever be a reality?

“It's systemic police problems that have to stop,” rapper and hunger-strike leader Ilyich Sato told Mother Jones last month.

The U.S. Justice Department is now conducting a complete review of the SFPD, and the city's district attorney is now reassessing 3,000 criminal cases for potential bias. But it may all be too little, too late.

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