It’s a known fact that the 1989 classic, Road House with the late Patrick Swayze is the manliest thing ever put to celluloid in the history of modern civilization. Women and young children have been known to grow hair on their chests and develop deep voices after a single viewing, due to incidental microwaves of testosterone emitted by the film. Yet, it seems that the New York Police Department, in light of the incident which claimed the life of Eric Garner, are using a scene from Road House as a training tool to teach officers more effective ways of dealing with irate people.
According to a report from The New York Post, the NYPD has instituted a $35 million, mandatory 3-day training program designed to teach its 22,000 participants that, as an instructor states, "You have to have a thick skin." The scene that was apparently utilized in the NYPD course depicted Swayze’s "professional cooler," Dalton, giving a room full of clueless bouncers in a Missouri bar a lesson about the 3 simple rules stating when etiquette begins and ass-kicking commences.
The showing of the scene (provided above) reportedly elicited laughter from a less-than-receptive audience of police officers. According to one of the program's participants at a Police Academy,
It’s just ridiculous, the stuff they’re showing us. It’s crazy. They’re showing us something from a movie and they want us to act like that in real life. It’s not realistic — it’s Hollywood.
While, it is, indeed, Hollywood fiction, it would hardly be the first instance when a training course decided to take one day to phone things in with a movie, carting in a heavily-strapped-down, too-small TV running off an old VHS. The fact remains, fiction can be useful in a demonstrative capacity. Of course, what figure in fictional history can better teach people how to have a thicker skin than the smooth, mysterious stranger simply known as Dalton? He's a deceivingly calm, sophisticated, karate-trained New York bouncer who heads to the Midwest to beat rowdy, inebriated inbreds to a pulp and rip out a man’s throat with his bare hands. (The guy had it coming, though.)
Yet, the idea that the NYPD training program uses Road House, when said out of context, sounds pretty absurd; especially since the course comes at a $35 million price tag. It almost seems akin to some feckless company’s panicking HR department throwing the entire office into a sexual harassment seminar after somebody’s butt got accidentally grabbed, where they are forced to watch some badly produced video insultingly demonstrating what NOT to do in the office. (Although, news footage of Mel Gibson might suffice in that scenario.)
While it may be the case that New York mayor Bill de Blasio has thrown quite a lot of taxpayer money into what’s looking to be simply an expensive assurance made in the name of public relations, we can at least concede that Road House has plenty of teachable tidbits. Most noteworthy among it, is the time-tested mantra stating that "It’s a job. It’s nothing personal."