"Who Got the Camera?"

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A: So let me get this straight.
B: Okay, sure. Take all the time you need, sir.
A: You want me to dress up like a police officer and run after some musicians?
B: Yes. They're a rap group called N.W.A.
A: What does that stand for?
B: It doesn't stand for anything. Are you interested in the gig? It's pretty easy work, you have to admit. It's part of a bit they're doing.
A: A bit?
B: Like a scenario.
A: Okay. So I'm supposed to dress up like a cop and chase them down the stairs, until they get to the stage?
B: Yes, and then they'll do their song.
A: What if someone in the audience thinks I'm actually a cop? What if someone trips me? I don't want to get hurt.
B: They'll all know it's a gag.
A: Why would the police run after this N.W.A.?
B: It's a reference to something that is really happening to them. It's not important. It's just part of the bit. You're barely going to be on camera.
A: So they actually have problems with the police?
B: Yes. But it's different. Everyone will know the difference.
A: Is this some kind of statement? I'm just an extra. I don't want to be part of a statement.
B: Don't worry about it. Once the music starts everyone will know. Really, you're overthinking this.
A: Okay.
B: So is everything cool? We just need you to sign some release forms.
A: I suppose everything sounds fine.
B: Great. Hey, you'll get to meet Arsenio. You like Arsenio?
A: I've already met Mr. Hall before.
B: Okay.
A: I'd like to meet the group though, just to go over this chase.
B: Yes, they're backstage somewhere. One of them is wearing a hockey mask.
A: A hockey mask?
B: It's part of the bit.

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Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.
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