What is a Man? It’s Kelso.

In the case, “A Marriage Made in Heaven” we meet Phelp’s nemesis, Kelso. Jack Kelso is not a bad guy. Nope, no antagonist he (when I write late at night, my grammar tends to be “yodaesque”). He is a “real” American hero because he resists authority that deserves to be resisted.

Kelso being a war hero. Granted, this is from later in the game, but there are Tumblr pages (where I got this GIF) dedicated to Kelso, so yeah, he is a pretty popular guy.

In this flashback, which looks like it is filmed through a fish-eye lens, we enter a barracks in the midst of inspection by a lieutenant, who tells Kelso that he has done a good job of cleaning his rifle.

Kelso looking incredulously at bad leadership

Then a sargeant enters the barracks with a sycophantic Phelps behind him. He tells Kelso that the gun is not cleaned properly. Wait…what? So now we know that the sarge has it in for Kelso who resists this clear abuse of authority. Phelps, on the other hand, advises another soldier who tries to protest that “forget him [Kelso], Hank, he doesn’t have what it takes.”  As a result of Kelso’s unwillingness to be brow-beaten, he (and the rest of the company) lose furlough privileges. Kelso also decides to drop out of the officer training program and join with the rifle company, where, as he puts it ‘the real heroes are.’ The seeds have been planted for the battle between Phelps and Kelso.

Can’t wait to play as Kelso

But what is this “it” that Phelps is so sure that Kelso ain’t got? Is “it” the mysterious aura of successful white American masculinity? I think so and this form of ideal masculinity is actually bisected into two distinct types: the Jeffersonian man who appreciates building a society through civic duty, justice and fairness (for white folk and the “right” kind of people of course) and the Jacksonian man-on-the-make, who will do what needs to be done to get ahead (fyi, yes, these two types of men are categorized by famous U.S. presidents). Kelso is the former and Phelps is the latter.

The flashback was the most interesting part of this case. The actual murder involved yet another destroyed marriage and home – more destruction of American values by greed and lust. However, Phelps and Bekowsky make it right by apprehending the bad guy – Leroy Sabo. The victim, Lester Pattison, wasn’t such a nice guy either since he was “a fan of the love tap,” according to Bekowsky. And so let the violence against women start – from here on out, it only gets worse. It’s not literal, of course, but represents the destruction of the iconic American woman as the guarantor of cultural and racial superiority. Phelps (and probably Kelso) aren’t about to let that happen without some retribution.

I also went on a number of dispatch calls on this case, which occur when the main character (you) drives from one P.O.I. (person of interest) or crime scene to the next. In one case, there was a gang shoot-out and the gangs were clearly Latino. Great. So here is yet another connection to Red Dead Redemption – more mass and extreme violence against Latinos in a video game. I think it’s only going to get worse.

I wrap up Traffic in the next case and then on to Homocide!


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