fimmtudagur, október 27, 2005


Walking through the court district, I noted three bail bond companies.

One had an unmemorable name, but used as a logo an image of Yosemite Sam holding aloft a birdcage containing Tweety. This I thought remarkable chiefly for its insistence on cuteness, not a quality I associate with either the criminal justice system in general or the situation of needing a bail bond in particular. Upon further reflection the choice of cartoon birds is very odd. Figuring the individual behind bars as a canary is dicey at best. Only an actual stoolpigeon would be worse.

Another company called itself Aladdin Bail Bonds and displayed a picture of the iconic lamp, complete with a tasteful curl of smoke emerging from the spout. It took me a few minutes to realize what was so clever about this name. It casts the accused in the role of the unwilling thief of the magic lamp. He is at once a pawn in a larger game in which all the other players are more powerful and the lucky protagonist of folktale: he has our sympathies, and he will of course prevail in the end. Even better, the lucky protagonist has the aid of a puissant donor figure---I suppose this would be the bond man. Just by getting a bond from a company with the Aladdin name, the hapless accused becomes the innocent folk hero, and the inexorable narrative logic of fable starts rolling towards miraculous escapes, riches, a fortunate match, freedom.

The third called itself Bad Boys Bail Bonds, notable up front for both alliteration and the accompanying motto: Because your mamma wants you home. The logo was an angular line drawing of a square-headed fellow busting through something, possibly a door. I was impressed with the uncompromisingness of this name. It gives nothing whatever up to The Man or to any authority figure, the Freudian Father. It posits bail bonds as something that one needs periodically in the course of normal business, perhaps in the normal course of masculinity. The accused is bad, is a boy, but even the baddest boy loves his mother, and there will be no shame in posting bail as a favor to her.

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