a bird and a bottle

What’s the Opposite of Pro-Death Penalty?
March 12, 2007, 12:19 pm
Filed under: activism, civil rights, criminal justice, law, media

Well, according to America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), it’s pro-life-sentences.

Say what?

Silja Talvi at WIMN’s Voices reports that in last week’s episode of ANTM, the theme of the photoshoot was political hot potatoes:

The models were instructed that they were about to appear in a fashion shoot in which they would have to assume ‘political’ stances with which they might or might not agree.


So, out came the outfits and sets for pro-gay marriage and pro-straight marriage; pro-gun and anti-gun; pro-vegan and pro-meat; pro-war and anti-war … and, get this: pro-death penalty or pro-life-sentencing.

So let me get this right: The debate about the death penalty is so stagnant that the only two options we see are capital punishment or life imprisonment? What about indeterminate sentencing? Or prison abolition? Should we take this as a wake-up call that abolishing the death penalty is not even on the table in this country, despite all of the potential constitutional and human rights issues associated with its current incarnation.

If ANTM is a benchmark, death penalty abolition not even an option in today’s political climate…but at least models can look good while ignoring it, and Tyra can poke fun at the potential mental health effects of long term incarceration without actually broaching anything resembling a political conversation:

[O]ne model posed as a grim reaper/executioner, complete with a noose hanging right next to her. (What, lethal injection isn’t sexy?) The uber-skinny model made a fierce face wearing dominatrix-style attire. Yup.

The other model was handcuffed to a cage door/mock jail cell, and told to look desperate and sexy, or some such thing. Instead, she went for a high-fashion look of boredom, making the whole shoot even weirder still.

Time for judging: the grip (sic.) reaper actually won because she apparently looked so convincing as a killer, but the life-sentenced woman was told that she didn’t convey one of the two possibilities for how a person doing time was supposed to act.

And how might that be? According to Tyra, there are the prisoners “that are all sad” or the ones who are all crazy and “everyone’s all scared of them.” At which point Ms. Banks started up a bizarre imitation of the latter, snapping her head around, trying to look crazy, and declaring, “Whatchu going to do, give me life?!”

In Tyra’s rendition, life imprisonment might be worse — and less attractive/fashionable — than the death penalty. Changing the real world requires imagining a very different one.


5 Comments so far
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[…] think, A bird in a bottle, is the most underrated blog on the internet. …A recent post on an America’s Next Top Model is something at least my mom and my sister shoud check out. Maybe then when they ignore my radio […]

Pingback by Liberal Debutante » Blog Archive » Monday Love: Midterm writing machine

In Texas, the death penalty capital of the world, life imprisonment was not an option until 2005. Prosecutors fought against the bill, on grounds that it would make jurors less likely to give the death penalty if a life sentence was an option.

So it may be that the choices we have boil down to death vs. life in prison. In any case, I’m pretty sure that there will be little support to abolishing incarceration for murderers as an alternative to the death penalty.

Comment by gordo

damn! I missed it. I have been so behind on my tv watching lately. Tyra Banks is so ass-backwards. One day she’s on ANTM and the next she’s on her show defending fat people. Ridiculous.

Comment by milbydaniel

[…] Sure, there was the whole pro-death penalty vs. pro-life-sentencing thing (to which I objected). […]

Pingback by a bird and a bottle

The vast majority of those that pretend the repeal of the death penalty -in some way- are involved in the crime.
They have committed and commit murder -in the sense of the psychoanalytic concept- of incestuous nature and repeatedly.

Comment by Carlos Norberto Mugrabi

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