Was ‘Messin’ With Cops’ an exercise in activism or self-absorbtion?

WARNING: Language

This is Kendra Dulac and her vehicle. They are featured in what was to be a low budget documentary style film called Messin’ With Cops. According to this blog entry—in which Director Jason Sherman refers to himself in the third person—the movie is a mix of Jackass, Punk’d and Cops. They failed to raise the proposed budget for the project, so it is unclear as to whether or not this production ever actually happened.

Here is the trailer (which is pretty obviously not safe for work):

I spotted the pictured vehicle swerving somewhere around the Limington/Standish line on Rt. 25, and, perplexed and amused by it, I took a picture and posted to Facebook. My friend Katie captured the above image while Dulac was filling her tank in Portland earlier today.

In the trailer Dulac explains, “I want to get people to realize that there is a lot of stuff cops can’t do,” and so it is arguable that she maintains the trace of a desire to creatively challenge authority, which is an important form of activism and awareness-raising. Ugly or not, agitation is an important action. So while I find this form of engagement ugly and self-obsessed, there is arguably a kernel of engagement, which is exponentially prettier than those who take pride in having no idea what is going on.

I guess.

[A somewhat relevant aside: I should note that on the drag of road I saw the vehicle on, I have been erroneously pulled over what seems like dozens of times in the past 10 years. I should also note that I have also been rightfully bagged for speeding at least a half-dozen times.]

All of that said, this kind of challenge has been presented so much more interestingly, admirably, and concertedly (think Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, The Doors, the New Left, almost any punk rock) than she and Sherman appear to be doing. Further, that one line about her intention is sandwiched between a great deal of sloppy editing, Sherman doing little to avoid looking like a self-infatuated douchebag (particularly here, here, and here), and Dulac getting high as a means of provocative antagonization. And as someone else remarked, challenging individual police officers is more self-indulgent than it is provocative or effective. On one hand, who am I—a blogger and social media junkie—to attack anyone for projecting their self-obsession? On the other hand, this thing is a mess and these people come off like assholes.

In short, if Dulac was accomplishing anything interesting or worthy or note by way of her efforts before this video was made, it has been overshadowed by the disappointing exploits detailed above.

Again, when I was behind the vehicle (aside from it being hers, I have no idea if Dulac was driving), it was swerving. Someone else pointed out via Facebook that, “Having been aggressively tail-gated by Kendra before, I can attest that she definitely makes [driving] mistakes,” and so it would appear that this vehicle does more than to ask for police attention than by way of its decals.

Someone else commented, “This strikes me more as someone who has too much time and too little affection in their life.” In the end I feel the same way. That said, if at the end of the day Dulac is in the market for attention more than she is affecting and sort of change, she is doing decent job. Between two pictures of her vehicle on my Facebook page, 60 comments were generated, and here I am writing a blog entry about her. As one of the commentators pointed out:

She’s pretty brilliant (though perhaps by accident) seeing how we’re 30 comments deep in two threads… Guess her pitch is working!

What’s your take on Dulac’s action?


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Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.