Let’s get this out of the way shall we? Jeremy Meeks, the 30-year-old from Stockton, CA, who was one of four men taken into custody during Operating Ceasefire, a multi-agency mission to curb an increase of shootings and robberies in the Weston Ranch area, is incredibly good-looking. He’s like the best of what National Geographic predicted would be the sexy super-blended mega-race by 2050.
After his picture was posted on the Internet by police it quickly attracted 30,000 “likes” on Facebook and nearly 10,000 comments. And go ahead and search #FCF (Felon Crush Friday) on Instagram.
What’s not attractive are the six felony counts of street terrorism and weapons charges Meeks has under the belt women, and some men, on the Internet are imagining taking off. According to Stockton Police Department spokesman Joseph Silva, the smooth-faced criminal is “one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area.” In this instance, he was arrested on five weapons charges and one gang charge. In 2002 he was charged with robbery and corporal injury to a child.
So what’s wrong with this picture? Maybe it’s the teardrop tattoo? It surely can’t be his cheekbones or baby-blues.
Well, actually, yes. It could be.
In general, in America, we like to add a layer of glamour to everything. This layer idealizes things that are not ideal, and allows us the ability distance ourselves from the reality. It’s the same concept as “ruin porn,” i.e. architectural photographs of ruined cities that people love to like and say are “beautiful,” but only because they’re mediated through an image.
The images gives us distance. And the image takes the real- here, the fact that Jeremy Meeks is a felon– and makes it unreal, by focusing on the fact that Jeremy Meeks is beautiful. The reality is mediated, edited, and we can pretend like nothing outside his physicality matters. So much so that a GoFundMe page set up (by his mother) to raise money for Meeks is receiving donations.
In Meeks’ case, the attention paid to his looks also glosses over the gritty reality of the broken U.S. prison system, that it’s overcrowded, understaffed, and does nothing to rehabilitate the prisoners. It also whitewashes Meeks’ suspected gang involvement and the socioeconomic inequities in Stockton. Stockton is broke, filed for bankruptcy broke, and as such has cut back dramatically on policing, compounding the city’s longstanding problems with violence. Enter Meeks.
And the women who want to be pounded by him– because that’s what matters, right?
Meeks is current being held in lieu of $900,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.