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Bratton's 'knucklehead' mantra becomes pop art

Knuckle The term "knucklehead" is enjoying a popular comeback of sorts thanks to Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton.

Bratton has repeatedly used the word as an all-encompassing description of unruly celebrants of the Lakers' NBA title who started fires, looted stores, pelted police officers with objects and generally tried to spoil the fun for everyone else.

Now, local artist Rudy Martinez has created artwork with his own take on Bratton's new favorite word.

The silkscreen work, left, has Bratton in  a definite tough-guy stance.

It's too soon to say whether the chief has created a knucklehead renaissance or knucklehead chic. But it's far from the first time the outspoken chief's language has created waves.

He likes words like "characters" and "idiots" to describe those he considers bad actors.

Five years ago, Bratton famously referred to community activist Najee Ali on a CNN television interview as "one of the biggest nitwits in Los Angeles" and to gang members as "tribal," "thugs" and "terrorists."

-- Andrew Blankstein

Art: Rudy Martinez

Comments () | Archives (10)

I really like Bratton. He seems like a common sense, decent, and honest guy. I remember very well the days of the LAPD being nothing but white cops who hated hippies and everyone else who wasn't a white guy! Thank goodness those days are long gone. Diversity has made a huge difference and I applaud the LAPD for their hard work and huge challenges. And criminals are knuckleheads, thugs and terrorists!

"Knuckehead" is putting it nicely. I've used the term for years to describe what I consider to be "misanthropic misfits." Bratton is being courteous in using terms/words like thug, terrorist, tribal, etc. to describe these uncivil "cretins." As far as Martinez' poster art...bor-ing!

This. Is. Awesome.

For anyone who remembers(or even cares), the term 'knucklehead' originated and/or was popularized by The Three Stooges' Moe Howard when he called his brother Curly Joe by that term. Curly was chubby and bald, and his head looked like a 'knuckle'...just like many of the Laker 'gangsta' fans. 'Bonehead' is another word for it. Bratton calls it as he sees it...thumbs up Chief!!

agreed Pam, Bratton is awesome. crime is down to historic lows, has decreased for 7 years and counting, and LA City could have less than 250 murders this year with a little luck. Wish we could get rid of term limits and hire him for a third term.

Indeed, any problems I might have with Bratton pale in comparison with the downright criminal behavior of previous LA police chiefs.

KUDOS to Chief Bratton!!
His choice of words are right on the money...I would have used not so pleasant words to describes those IDIOTS!


yeah, i'd agree it's too soon to tell if there's going to be an onslaught of "knuckhead" name-calling now, but i just heard my boss use it in an everyday sentence...so what does that tell ya?

Chief Bratton = trendsetter!

I'm glad to hear Police Chief Bratten's comments. If only the 'knuckleheads' would hear and understand the what and whys of that message. These people don't care. Not about you or anything else, except ball games. They have demonstrated their mentality before and this is why Bratten refers to them as knuckleheads, they don't learn. My fear is that the number of knuckleheads is growing and they vote.

Be afraid be very afraid.

Oh, I like the poster Mr. Dean. I'll bet you couldn't do anything like that. If so, where is it?

Is knucklehead worse than any other name he could call them? Is Bad Actor okay but Knucklehead, Thug, etc. are off limits? I don't get the controversy. The poster is cool looking but I don't get the point. Is it Bratton saying watch out knuckleheads, a general exclamation from Bratton of "Knuckleheads" or is it turned around calling the police knuckleheads. It can't be calling Bratton knuckleheads because Bratton's one guy and Knuckleheads is plural. Or is it all depending on your point of view. I guess that would make it art. But seriously, Knuckleheads is so mild as a pejorative it's cute.


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