Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

fiction is so often based on fact

Here is a longish quote from the book I am currently reading, Heat Rises by Richard Castle.

"This is what my life has come to. Numbers. First they criticize my stats, telling me to step it up, pay my rent. Now they're sending me these." The Captain lifted the thick spreadsheet off his blotter and let it drop with unmasked contempt.  "Target numbers. Micromanaging me. Telling me how many Class C violations to write up this week for blocking sidewalks and littering. Class B summonses too. Let's see...." He ran his finger along a row. "They want eight seat belt violations and six cell phone tickets. Not five, not seven. Six. I don't make my numbers, they do a number on me. So what's my choice, fluff my books? Do I tell the uniforms not to take certain robbery or assault reports so the stats don't work against me? If it doesn't get written down, it never happened. What do you know, a crime drop in the twentieth."  

That explains quite a lot about why officers are out and about giving out senseless fines when so many more important crimes are seemingly being pushed aside.

And here's a nice bit of alliteration from the same book:

"How does a mundane metropolitan miscreant master menacing military manouvers? Mystifying."


  1. Does sound like real life doesn't it?

  2. Love the alliteration.
    And wince at the insistence on numbers. Too true for my comfort.

  3. Delores; now we know why so many policemen are out ticketing jaywalkers instead of chasing down burglars and murderers.

    Elephant's Child; I love alliteration. I think it's a crying shame when the general public has to suffer because somewhere numbers and targets must be met to please the bean counters.

  4. Maybe time to rob a bank, they are all out giving you fines nobody will notice and you would have cash to pay the fines.

  5. Merlesworld; are you volunteering to drive the getaway car?

  6. Magnificent alliteration!!
    The paragraph you quoted reminds me of the old saying:
    "There are three types of lies...lies, damned lies and then there are statistics" or something along those lines.
    That I guess is why we seldom believe what we are told in the newspaper or any other news service for that matter. We often respond with "Oh, yeah. Now pull the other one!"

  7. Sadly that's true over here as well. The crime figures for our town were recently released and everyone was really happy to read that traffic violations were down by a substantial figure. Have we all suddenly become good, law abiding, responsible drivers all of a sudden as the newspaper tried to claim? Nope. It's simply that there are no police here in town, so no fines can be issued.

    But hey, it's all about the spin, isn't it? Not that any of us are fooled.

  8. It does seem as if life is about stats and numbers much of the time. That is why I love to work in my garden and forget the rest of the world. My Evening Primrose knows it's supposed to bloom at night and my Sunflower turns it's head during the day by following the sun. There are no stats for them, they just DO.

  9. I work a little with the township police. The result of that paragraph has a name. They call it revenueing.

  10. Mimsie; statistics are the worst of the lies. I hardly read newspapers these days, I glance at headlines, read the comics, do the crossword and throw away the paper. In the recycling bin of course.

    Marie; no police in town? Who's on watch for burglaries etc?
    You're right, it is all about the spin.

    Manzanita; it's the main reason I avoid most newspapers and rarely watch the news. So many stories are skewed either to horrify us or make us too complacent.

    Joanne; yes, revenueing. It's the reason our traffic cops sit in their cars with speed cameras at the bottom of hills when cars would be expected to have picked up a little speed. Also behind bushes on roads where the speed limit has suddenly been lowered but no-one else knows yet.

  11. Ugh, so true. And this continues despite studies which have shown that using targets is actually counter-productive: it lowers morale of the workers trying to meet them, removes focus from work that matters, and encourages cheating.

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  13. I'm with you regarding newspapers. We only have Monday's West and the Sunday Times delivered and Phil buys the Weekend Ausralian. I read headlines, sometimes check the funnies but don't do the crosswords these days (should remedy that). The Sunday Times is a waste of space but I keep the TV mag which has more ads than TV news or programmes. I should cancel it and rely on the internet for daily checks of TV perhaps.

  14. Jackie K; all true.

    Mimsie; I buy the Saturday paper for the real estate pages, I like to look at fancy homes and see what they are like inside. Then I get the Sunday paper delivered for the TV guide, mostly useless the way TV stations change programming all the time.

  15. True? Not true? You can't tell! That's the beauty of good fiction.

  16. The Wicked Writer; crazy like the rest of bureaucracy.

    Happy Elf Christine; like I said, fiction based on fact.
    It would be different if it was a sci-fi or fantasy story.