Watching Les Watchmen

Paint stain on the shield of a riot police officer during a demonstration against a bill that would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer’s face in Nantes, France, November 27, 2020. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)
France struggles with mob-ocracy and police accountability.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he best science fiction — and some of the most terrifying science fiction — has a short literary shelf life, because it does not stay fiction for long. In the much-admired HBO series Watchmen, which is set not in a dystopian future but in a reimagined present, the police have begun wearing masks in order to conceal their identities in response to a coordinated massacre of law-enforcement officers carried out by a white-supremacist group. In the real world, the French parliament has just proposed — and withdrawn — a bill that would have criminalized sharing photographs or video of police