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Cameron Douglas…

There’s a story about this old prospector who came upon a younger one along the trail whose mule wouldn’t budge.  Asking for help from the seasoned veteran, the old guy took out a piece of 2-by-4 from his own mule’s pack, walked over to the younger man’s mule, hauled back, and smacked the stubborn mule right between the eyes.

Front: Cameron Douglas

Front: Cameron Douglas

“Whoa!  Hey!  Why’d you do that?” asked the younger man.

“Well,” said the old prospector, “in the first place, you gotta get his attention…”

Sometimes people coming into the system need that attention grabber.  The grandson of “Spartacus” falls into that category.  There are lots of these stubborn mules here in prison. 

At 31 years old, Cameron Douglas has racked up an impressive number of citations for DUIs, a hit and run, and coke, meth and heroin busts.  He tried his hand at a meth deal and got snitched out.  He involved his girlfriend—apparently another drug-zombie—in trying to smuggle him heroin while he was under home confinement.  And he dragged his family’s name into the gutter—again.

What have I missed?  Oh yeah, his “cooperation” earned him a 60-month sentence instead of 10 years.  Cameron, you give righteous criminals a sorry name.  Well, whatever.  You’re in here now.

You’ve already done 8 months in county, so, with 15% good-time, a year off for the 500-hour residency drug program (RDAP, if you take it), and some halfway-house time, you could be out as early as June-or-so of 2012.  If you can’t hack the wait, no problem; anything you can get out there you can get in here.  Except maybe Jennifer Love Hewitt and her “twin sisters,” Lorelei and Calliope.

I’ll make a few comments here, bearing in mind that normal con-etiquette frowns on prisoners lecturing other prisoners.  Many refer to it as “respect,” but that’s wrong.  It’s simple courtesy; respect is something you earn.  (Put that out on the street!)

Nor am I going to try to place myself in your shoes—ahh, actually your pharmaceutical garbage-can…  Your celebrity status will carry you a ways with population.  But, as you no doubt know, or should know, that isn’t about you…

You’ll soon fall into a routine like everyone else.  As for the prison staff, most will treat you like they treat the rest of us; inmates are dog shit on the bottom of their shoes.  Imagine listening to a never-ending lecture by a whole pack of struttin’ John Walsh clones…(and acting like you appreciate it…now, that’s real acting!).

They’ll tell you it’s for your rehabilitation.  Bullshit.  After 20 years and more than a dozen prisons, I’ll tell you:  It’s all about making their job easier.  One size fits all.  They got a list and they go from A-to-Z.  There are exceptions of course, and believe me, they even make all the difference.  But they’re only barely tolerated by the bureaucracy, and rarely promoted.

Most prisoners who leave prison “rehabilitated” came in that way.  Basically, you’re in a warehouse.  So, sit on the shelf with the least attention possible, and play their games.  To us, a lot of it is just pretty much meaningless, but to them?  It’s the JOB.  Nothing excites them more than to challenge their JOB and their LISTS.

Any discussion or explanation by you, other than a smile and a shuffle, is perceived as argumentative resistance and proof of further need for special “handling.”  If you act too intelligent, you’re perceived as being a “smart ass”; act dumb and you fulfill their expectations.  Basic 101 prison psych.

Be careful about eye-contact with staff.  In fact, they even make it an infraction called “eye-balling.”  But don’t play it down too much.  You ain’t in a minstrel show.  Being a white man, you’re going to get “augmented” anyways.

That means they’re going to assume you’re playing them.   That’s okay.  It makes life easier for them.  They like that. (Their racist preconceptions “discount” the behavior of blacks.  And black folks have long learned to use it to their advantage—but that’s a secret; don’t tell anyone…)

Don’t get too smug about any superiority over them.  That’s not what I’m saying.  You can line up most staff alongside you and your pals and I’d defy anyone to tell the difference.  Y’all are perfectly interchangeable—and often are.

Routine becomes your best ally in prison; time thus slips by effortlessly.  A break in routine tends to make your life more miserable.  The punishment they can exact includes just about everything.  Break their rules, and your dorm and bed assignment can be a punishment.  So can your prison job (and everyone has one, even if you’re a quadriplegic), commissary privileges, mail, visiting, phone, etc.  You name it; it’s a privilege they can manipulate for you or against you.

As a prisoner, you don’t have rights.  Even if you did, you don’t…  If you need proof, well, read the Constitution.  Go to the 13th Amendment…the one they teach students as the “abolition of slavery.”  You see, when it was passed in 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War,  a clause was added: “…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…

Now, that’s the basic prison skinny.  But after all the singing and dancing is over, Cameron, it all comes down to your choice.  And I don’t mean pie-in-the-sky wishes.  You got the “Spartacus” model, and you got the “Gordon Gekko” one.  Social consciousness versus individual greed.

Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo

Howard Fast, Dalton Trumbo and Oliver Stone weren’t just writing a movie for pure entertainment.  There’s a message and a reality there.  (Ironically, like with the Mob and The Godfather, reality often follows fiction.  Gekko would be a piker on today’s Wall Street.)

So far you’ve been running with the super individual paradigm of behavior.  Bush Junior can get away with it, you can’t.  Individual is what you were born with.  The focus on the self is a given—it’s an infantile response.  In our culture with much of the ideological focus on the individual, it can get pretty extreme—and might even seem to be normal.  It isn’t.

A final comment.  I can’t give you a blueprint on how to achieve social consciousness. Certainly not in a brief commentary here.  There are many roads to that level.  I just know that I’ve never known a single individual in my entire life who considered only themselves and ended up a worthy person.

Your choice: Spartacus or Gekko.  Tabula raza; the slate’s been wiped clean.   

                      Dr. Publico

Category: DouglasCameron
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2 Responses
  1. […] abiding lesson for the rest of us. The original article on this site re Cameron Douglas appeared on June 4th, 2010.  I was more generous on that […]

  2. jackin house says:

    Need a VIP DJ? Hire Aristotle!

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