JULY 6, 2011 3:00PM

Dead White Girl Syndrome

Rate: 47 Flag

Q: What do snuff porn and our news media have in common?

A: They both dwell lovingly on, and profit from, the violent deaths of young females.

To be fair, neither industry could exist without a demand for their products.  The average American - a demographic which avoids hard news as if it were the plague -  couldn't tell you what "debt ceiling" means or locate Afghanistan on a map, but millions of people can tell you how many pieces of duct tape were found on Caylee Anthony's decomposed body and what tattoo Casey had inked on herself after the child's death.  Many of these folk probably still remember where Natalee Holloway was last seen alive and could tell you the name of the man who falsely confessed to murdering JonBenet Ramsey.  

People focus on what interests them, and clearly the majority of people aren't as interested in what's happening to their country as they are in the disappearances or deaths of young white girls.  Nearly 2,000 people go missing each day in this country, but the only case which gained any notice during the relentless media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial was that of a pretty, blonde college girl in Indiana. There was much excitement the other day when a body was found, followed by a general shrug of disinterest when the body turned out not to belong to the attractive coed.

Damn it, no cadaver to paw over!

Or at least, no cadaver anyone gave a rat's ass about.

Why this obsession with dead white girls? 

Not being a psychologist I won't pretend to know all the reasons behind it.  Still, watching as media circuses like those surrounding Casey Anthony or Amanda Knox unfold - and the story of "Foxy Knoxy" was a double jackpot because there you had a pretty white girl who was possibly killed by a different pretty white girl - it's hard to escape the conclusion that simple ghoulishness, coupled with our culture's fixation on youth and beauty, are contributing factors.  In a voyeuristic society fascinated by violence and by semi-pornographic depictions of young women and girls, our collective delight - disguised as horror - in learning the grisly details when one of them is murdered makes a fair amount of sense.  When you couple that morbid prurience with a media which long ago decided it's easier and more profitable to supply tabloid content than to cover actual news, you get sick carnivals like the Anthony trial. 

Never mind that our economy has been ruined and that no one was held to account for it; we want to hear about Amanda Knox's dead room-mate's bra.  Forget about the possibility the U.S. may default on its debt as our political leaders sell their constituents down the river; we want to watch the expression on Casey's face as the verdict is read.

Sure, there's other news going on, but one must filter out what matters from what doesn't, and slobbering over the bones of dead white girls matters more than anything except... ooo, look, William and Katherine are in Canada!


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You have the main stream media in this country held in a stranglehold by very large corporate owners Nana. They all have an ax to grind.
They value what they want us to hear. And control it with an iron fist.
You don't hear much about the radiation coming from the nuclear meltdowns in Japan. And you don't hear much about the 2 flooded reactors over in the heartland at all.
But you damn sure see plenty of the news centering on gossip and spinning the gossip.
I call all TV media lame stream news. You have did well describing it here.
The media is part of it, but the public seems to prefer tabloid trash over hard news. To a certain extent we get the media we prefer.

Looks like Open is suffering the jim-jims today. Aren't the servers fixed yet?
Crap. I came here for lascivious details and enticing pictures...of the debt ceiling, of course.
It's not so much that the public gets what the public wants. Did you ever watch "Network"?

The problem began, in my mutant opinion, when corporations were allowed to own (in whole or in part) news stations and print media outlets. I think we've simply become accustomed to it, no more Walter Kronkites or Woodward and Bernsteins to tell us what we NEED to know.

Once they control the news, they control the public. In other countries it is called "propoganda" - here it's called "news".
Well said, and I don't disagree. But the fascination with "blood and circuses" is not new in the media biz, it's just a whole lot more pervasive with the advent of 24-hour "news." The obsession with these kind of murder trials is lesser in Canada and the UK since cameras are not allowed in courtrooms, and jurors are forbidden to talk to the media. But they still get a lot of attention.

As long as high-profile cases involving pretty white people still rake in megabucks, this will continue to happen. Nobody cares about minority deaths -- they're not "sexy" -- just as nobody wants to hear about massive radiation leaks, or the failure of what was once tourted as the "greatest country on earth." Nope, it's all about distraction -- the opiate of the masses.
Amen. On a scale of one to 10 my interest in the Casey Anthony case has been maybe a two, but it's been all over the fucking "news" media. Was Casey really guilty or not? In the big picture, what does it matter? It's sad that apparently the little girl was failed miserably by the adults in her life, but we have much, much, much bigger fish to fry. (Speaking of frying, how about that global warming???)
That should read "touted"
we're fascinated by death, how it happens, that people can kill *each other* (kinda of that 'with my own hands' thing), and the weirder or grislier the better. i don't think it's a white girl thing as much as it's a poor/rich thing. some kid gets shot in the barrio or the ghetto by a gangbanger, pffft. and you're right about the media frenzy and the lack of emphasis on real news - but the networks and cable companies do it because that's what the majority of the big demographics *want* to watch. and every time i see nancy grace for a nanosecond before i can change the channel, it makes me shudder to think that she's on because she has lots and lots of viewers.
Harry, I'm learning how to flare my nostrils like Nancy Grace. What would we do without her?

Quatto, that's true as far as it goes, but doesn't the market determine what products will sell? If the public was interested in actual information about things that affect their lives wouldn't the media outlets adjust accordingly? This isn't Stalinist Russia, so it seems we need to accept some of the blame ourselves. At least, that was the thought that crossed my mind yesterday as I watched the outrage over the Casey verdict. If our citizenry had demonstrated one tenth as much ire over the Citizen's United decision I'd agree with you wholly, but they didn't, and it's kind of hard to feel sorry for a populace that prioritizes things that way.

You're right Emma, bread and circuses are nothing new, though in our case there are a lot more circuses than bread. On a related topic, there was once a belief that the Internet would help create a more informed electorate, but instead the Internet has shown us that people are far more interested in videos of cats flushing toilets than in knowing what their political leaders are doing.

Robert, what happened to that little girl was a tragedy. Wouldn't it be great if the millions of children who suffer from poverty, neglect, and abuse everyday were given the same attention?
Ahhh nana, stop being so bitter, yeah, if you or I were murdered by a cute white girl, we MIGHT get our cases on the evening news, but otherwise, nope, we too sexy for them(that's how I like to look at it!!!)

I haven't even turned on the news at all after seeing the verdict, I know right now, there's a media circus over this Casey lady --- yes, I'd do her, but that's not saying much, I'd do the Insurance Commerical lady too -- the one that keeps bitching that her hubby bought a falcon!! God she makes me want to turn straight!!! --- I'm not really interested in it.

2008, I was forced by the people who controlled the TV remote in the employee dining room, Nancy Grace back then made me want to turn straight too....and I got WAY more than enough of her and the others.

Give me a porn media star feeding the homeless in Duluth anyday!!
The tabloid moguls have found out that two headed alien abductions, zombie starlets getting liposuction, and Ted Williams cryogenically frozen head saying he wasn't the guy with the velvet voice standing on the off ramp, just cannot compare to the lurid details of this kind of story.
What's a decent rag writer to do?
Candace, yeah, murders in the ghetto get barely a mention. What happens to poor and/or nonwhite people just doesn't sell advertising space.

Tink, that insurance commercial lady is hawt! You're right though; if there were more porn stars being fed in soup kitchens there'd be nonstop coverage of their plight. But that family who's living in their car, or that dude who hangs out by the dumpster and smells kinda bad, who cares about 'em?

AKA, it's always safest to lead with a story about how Melissa Gilbert is carrying Bigfoot's love child.
People get the news coverage they deserve and crave.
Government and Media think the American public are thick (stupid) and pitch themselves to gain exposure and create advertising profit from what it is perceived the Prols want.

How about Politician Snuff Movies ?
It'd sell in the UK and we could use French politicians ?

"Yes FRed(tm) I'm joking as g,g,google will send the Men in White Coats to get me."
I haven't followed any of these stories, I'm deeply saddened that a child is dead as I am every day realizing how many children are killed everywhere. It's no surprise to me that people love to follow news like that because it requires no action on their part except interest and horror, it's all a spectator sport. The last letter I wrote my representative was July 4th weekend last year, and now no one bothers to respond with even a form letter. My thoughts as an Idaho voter are irrelevant to them.

News has become a giant football game and people just want to know about touchdowns and injuries. Just for you I went to the Idaho Statesman site and clicked on the "most read" and these are the top ten stories that came up just now.

Meridian police: Arizona woman arrested after putting 11-year-old boy in choke hold at bowling alley
Plans revived for Meridian Town Center development
Boise man arrested after Meridian police say he engaged in lewd conduct with two children
Ex-coach Boise State coach Amy Christoffersen receives $40,000 payment
Boise State football adds another recruit to 2012 commitments
McGee won't provide records after concussion claim
DNA testing delays cases in assaults on Texas girl
It's official: Nordstrom Rack will open this winter at Boise Towne Square
Nampa Classical Academy hopes to be reborn after founders seek bankruptcy protection
50-year-old Boise man who died in ATV accident near Arrowrock Reservoir identified

See? It's not only bad that people want to read, the good news is The Rack is coming to the mall!
You may be onto something, Creeky. Politician caged death matches would likely draw a big audience; I can see John Boehner and Obama going at it with Tasers and meat cleavers over whether the fix for our budget dilemma involves tax increases or not
ya know, i thought of something else. humans are so curious, hence all the crime dramas and mystery fiction, etc. so you add that it's fascinating for us to want to know *how* something happened with the whole rush-to-watch-the-train-wreck thing plus horrible detail about all the blood and guts - and it makes perfect sense.

even in a political sense, kinda. most people are far more interested in Who's Ahead when it comes to elections (and even the day to day political news - who scored one against the other guys this morning) than they are in the actual issues. it promotes mindless rhetoric and lying in campaigns. look at how george bush got elected, after all.

off the soapbox. for now. :)
Bleue, that is fantastic news! (what is a Nordstrom Rack? it sounds like a move one of the contestants might use in a caged-politician-death-match)

RW; I disagree, but we're all entitled to our take on such matters.

Candace, we're definitely hardwired for curiosity, and I'm guessing the same is true of gawking at scenes of bloodshed and mayhem. It's unfortunate that, as others have mentioned here, the 24-hour news cycle interascts with those traits to give us really poor coverage of anything except for on a superficial level. Our media does a good job at covering the who, when, and where of things but fails abysmally at addressing "why."
Attractive white girls only, please. I mean who'd be interested if some chub disappeared, and as far as minorities- well neither we- nor apparently the news media- will go there.
The hundreds of girls/young woman who have been murdered over the past few years in the Juarez-El Paso area rarely rate a blip on the radar screen. Lots of kids die at the hands of mommy, baby daddy or boyfriend, and usually no one outside the family notices.

But hell- knowing about Casey Anthony's tattoo is WAY more important than boring stuff like the upcoming elections, and the economy. Which is just how the PTB like it- keep the mindless morons distracted with shiny things and they won't notice the country self destructing, their standard of living dropping and their rights disappearing.
Sounds like we're on the same page, Ian. Politics and the economy are just so boring, never mind that they affect our lives far more directly than Casey's guilt or innocence.
Rated, but, I also have to say that I hadn't heard anything about the missing Indiana woman UNTIL the body was found and there was speculation whether it could be her. It will be interesting to see how much it stays in the news now that the body is "likely" that of a black woman and not a white woman.
Yeah, smelling bad is a big turn off for the media, unless you're cute, then, well, clothes pins anyone??

Banita Jacks murdered her four daughters in DC a few years ago. She was charged with four counts of felony murder, and four counts of 1st degree child cruelty. The girls, ages 5-16 had been decomposing in their mother's house for months before anyone noticed they were missing.
This is one of the most horrifying, heartbreaking and grisly stories I've ever heard. But I bet if you didn't live in DC, you never heard about it. The family was *not* white and lived in one of the poorest areas of the city. I hear you.~r
So this Amanda Know is hot?
Or should I say was?
hell yeah, this is exactly what I've been thinking. Only, I have to admit that I don't care about hard news either. I just want to walk into the lounge and turn the damn thing off for a change. (though if i did that i'd be promptly tarred and feathered by the residents)
I am so tired of hearing the shrewish yelling news. It used to be a time of at least semi modulated voices among the drama of the soaps and the shrieking of reality tv. Now it's about the same tone :/
My question is : Is the news reality? Or are the soap operas?


~wanders off~ Nap time for kitty!!!
"Sure, there's other news going on, but one must filter out what matters from what doesn't, and slobbering over the bones of dead white girls matters more than anything except..."

Nana, in your case you chose to post about this subject, too. Your post today could have been on a totally different topic such as the President answering questions submitted to him via Twitter today.
Like you say there is a salivating audience for dead white girls. A deadly obsession. Okay, well you didn't exactly say that. This blog is the only thing I've read either current subject including Kate & William, that is. Well, okay I glanced quickly at the TV to see how many citizens, ie: taxpayers, went to Parliament Hill in Ottawa not to protest but to admire - while footing the bill to entertain - the smiling couple.

I'm increasingly of the same mind as Amr. journalist Christopher Hedges. Yes, it would seem the North American populace is amusing itself to death. "Here were now, entertain us." By the way, I can find Afghanistan on map ... Christ, I can even find Where's Waldo when I'm in the mood. :-}
Catnmus, I first heard of the missing Indiana woman last week, but you're right, the coverage didn't take on the fully breathless, voyeuristic tone 'til they thought her body had been found, said tone being followed immediately by a big Who Cares as soon as it was determined to be a "lesser" victim.

Joan; exactly. It's not that cases like Caylee Anthony's get covered that bothers me; it's that they get covered to the near-exclusion of other cases equally horrific.

Yeah Trig, I've heard the news people refer to her as "Foxy Knoxy" but she isn't the dead one; that would be her room-mate. It was an even better feeding frenzy than usual because both the victim and one of her possible murderers were hot white girls.

Julie, I've long since given up watching TV "news" to gain information, but I'm a news junkie so I still find myself flipping through CNN, MSNBC, etc., and then tearing my hair out at the futility of it.

Tink, each seem equally "real" to me, but neither is as real as watching re-runs of Firefly.

Good point Designanator; rather than discussing why our media have abdicated their job of supplying information that is actually relevant to our lives I could have been covering the president's self-serving responses to questions posed to him on Twitter! On the other hand, it seems a little much to expect me to read answers which could be as long as 140 characters.

Scarlett, didn't William and Kate receive a diamond polar bear broach (for her) and matching diamond polar bear cufflinks (for him)? See, even with my elitist take on dead white girl stories I still know what the real news is!
Ya, it seems so. I agree with Julie, I am tired of all the shrill vaudeville and the obvious obsession with the wealthy, the "right" victims, etc. How did we get reduced to being an audience for buffoons? Advertising, corporate manipulation, right down to what is news...
"Never mind that our economy has been ruined and that no one was held to account for it; we want to hear about Amanda Knox's dead room-mate's bra."

You are right on, man. There is something really wrong there. Thank you for saying it so bluntly. I wish this post could go into the mainstream media right now. r
Sheila; true dat!
Maureen, there are things wrong on several levels about the fixation on cases of this nature. The preference by both our media and our public for tabloid reporting is one part of it, but there also seems to be a disturbing element of fascination with stories that involve predation on females, as long as said females are young, white, and goodlooking.
I'm not talking to you because a) I sent you a PM and you didn't respond, b) I'm a nice gurl and you're one of the meanies, and c) it's Tuesday.

Oh, wait, it's Wednesday. You should still look at my PM. It's about a subject dear to your heart and unrelated to anything happening here.

The NY Times magazine recently had a big piece on the murder of a non-white college student by her nonwhite roommate. Out here, our most newsworthy death in recent years was the murder of a middle-aged man by his son, who chopped him up and put him in a bucket of concrete. Fortunately, we haven't lost any cute toddlers, but I'm glad we still have that particular gag reflex.
Dude - there ARE people interested in the truth, there just aren't any truthsayers anymore. Other than NPR, name me ONE news outlet that actually gives a damn about getting the story straight. They're all interested in scooping everyone else even if it means getting the story WRONG.

But for me, the worst transgression is that back in 50s and 60s (and even the 70s fer Christ's sake) news reporters could go to a war zone and actually REPORT ON WHAT WAS HAPPENING. Can't do that anymore, can't show the 'Murkin public any of OUR boys lying dead. That would cause a public outcry to bring 'em HOME. And hell, war is good business.

Which brings me to my last point (which is really my FIRST point, if you accept that this is now a corporatocracy and NOT a democracy) - if it's good for BUSINESS, then business will PUSH IT.
Hi High! (you can smack me if you want but I will never tire of saying that)

A message? I'll check my spam folder; OS often sends legit messages there these days. Regarding the NY Times Magazine article, the print media does a better job at covering a full spectrum of news than television does. Unfortunately, I could fit the people who still read print media in the back of my Hyundai.
You own a Hyundai?

You anti-American bastard you.

I comparison-shopped the Hyundai Santa Fe against the Ford Escape (used of course), and it turns out the Santa Fe is built around a light-truck chassis; the Escape, not so much. At that point all I needed to do was roll with my innate anti-American tendencies. Point taken that "if it's good for BUSINESS, then business will PUSH IT" and further, the separation here between business and government grows thinner with each passing year. There is still some good war reporting going on, but very little of it makes its way into the national discourse because war is all, like, gross and stuff.
Yep! We must learn to discern. If your favorite cable channel is wall-to-wall BS, shop around. Most likely the BBC, or PBS will be covering some real news. Better yet, pick up a newspaper. I get all twisted when I try to assign blame for the circus. The media gives what the public wants, okay. But the more they see the more they want. Would they keep wanting it if they couldn't get it? The dope fiend wants dope too.
Speaking of dead white gals, they sure made a fuss
over that prince's pretty mom.
Actually, they also kinda, sorta,
caused her death by chasing her
& the rich guy & the drunken

A fascinating, funny (even though the subject= macabre)
piece, nana.
We linger on these matters because of a very very twisted reason,
I think. I admit I followed the TOT MOM trial a bit.
For, ah, literary reasons, you know....

I am glad i am not a pretty white girl.
Pretty white females are still holiest of holies.
Often we want to destroy beauty, go in the temple
and commit monstrous acts,
for this is only human...
then we see someone
really did it...
we are hooked...
I always found it interesting that most of the American cars I've owned were made in Canada according to the stickers in the door.

But then again, I've had a mix of American and foreign imports. So far, the imports haven't fared too badly and the American vehicles didn't last as long as I had hoped they would.

Test-drove a Kia a few years back and was unimpressed - too much road noise came through and it handled like it was put together with bobby pins and chewing gum. But hey - you get what you pay for, right?
Of course what happened to Caylee Anthony is a horrible tragedy. It’s hard for me to even think about. And the media attention isn’t hard to understand; as you point out, it’s easier and more profitable to supply tabloid content than relevant news. However I don’t understand the obsessive way so many people have been following this trial. The opinions, the discussions, the analyses, on a daily basis, as if Casey Anthony were a neighbor.

I suppose a large part of it is the way it contradicts a certain notion about motherhood, at least white, middle-class motherhood: mothers don’t kill their offspring, especially when they’re as cute as Caylee Anthony.

And maybe if it raises awareness about something – the stress and difficulties associated with being a single parent, what drives a woman to kill her children (because more than 200 females kill their kids every year), warning signs to look for in women who may be at risk of harming their children, mental illness, better ways to protect kids – something good may come out of all the attention.

But I doubt it. I haven’t paid it much attention but I have the feeling the Anthony trial satisfied its audience in the same way as a drive-thru meal: devoured quickly and just as quickly forgotten. Then on to the next big thing.
"The dope fiend wants dope too."

I'm not so sure that's it, though. I think we've been convinced that it's a big, bad, scary ole world out there and hey - here's some stuff to make you forget about that!

The media is being used to pacify the public by feeding them what the powers that be WANT them to consume. If all you're fed is oatmeal day in and day out, pretty soon you forget what steak tastes like and you EXPECT oatmeal.
Nana, you have put in writing what a lot of minority people I know are saying privately. If Casey had been black, for instance, nobody would know about the crime and she would have been convicted without anybody knowing about either. Frustrating, but true, I'm afraid.

I think what bothers me about this obsession is that it isn't taken to it's extreme. we don't want child porn or dead children but we don't do anything about it either, do we? we have child prostitutes in this country and there is a statistic that suggests most street walkers start in their very early teens, and yet, we not only do not care, we'll lock them up because the paperwork is easier.

so really...we don't give a rats ass about children. we don't fight for funding to feed them or educate them or protect them from crazy adults in their lives.

we just like to watch them strut around wearing short shorts with HOT written on their asses in pink rhinestones.
Bluestocking Babe, you're right; whether the media push tabloid trash because people prefer it or the other way around becomes a "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" kind of question. Both parties are culpable, I think, though as some in this thread have pointed out there are other factors contributing to it.

James; pretty much. As I mentioned to Maureen there's something very dark underlying our collective fascination with predation on innocence. To put it bluntly, there is never any shortage of people who get off on the thought (or the doing) of such things.

Quatto, Kias truly are garbage. So are Hyundais, but they're a slightly higher grade of garbage.

Marjie, I wish I had said that, but then that's what you're here for. May some good from the way this story is covered, but like you I doubt much will.

Quatto, speaking of feeding us what the powers that be want us to consume, there's a new and important story making the rounds which qualifies on all levels; it seems terrorists are gwine to surgically implant explosives in their bodies and BLOW US ALL UP!

Lezlie, Dave Chappelle addresses your point in one of his stand-up routines. What's great about Dave is that, aside from being hilarious, he addresses important social issues without going all preachy about it.

Ms. (Never Foolish) Monkey, you say:

we don't give a rats ass about children. we don't fight for funding to feed them or educate them or protect them from crazy adults in their lives. we just like to watch them strut around wearing short shorts with HOT written on their asses in pink rhinestones.

There seems to be a disconnect, doesn't there, between our actions and what we profess to be our values? Another part of that disconnect is that so many of us make being "pro-life" a huge part of our worldview, but that "pro-lifeness" seems to disappear as soon as the baby exits the womb. After that we don't seem to care a hang about them - unless they're pretty and, of course, white.
finally an interesting and relevant and timely discussion about *important* stuff. whew.

what sort of event does one wear polar bear cufflinks to? [and, yes, i realize i'm pitching a softball to one of you comedic types here]
I've never worn cufflinks; they look tacky on checked flannel or leather. However, I'll hazard that Kate's diamond polar bear broach will look smashing during her upcoming Jell-O wrasslin' match with the Grand Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein.
You have no idea how bad it really is, I got so angry I had to stop watching the local news. That's the website of our one big newspaper, the Idaho version of the NY Times. The last conversations I had with someone interested and informed was over 2 years ago with a 22 year old co-worker at my last job. She's now working as barrista and in college as an art major. I have a large variety of friends in many circles and none of them has a clue or any interest except for the few who go into tax rants but have no interest in anything else. They give no rational reason for their tirades if I question them, they firmly parrot what they've been told.

If I bring up Fukushima and the rise in infant mortality in this area mothers look at me with carp faces then tell me that rocks give off radiation and I shouldn't worry. War, the environment, poverty, child or animal abuse, nothing matters much. These aren't stupid people, most are successful so I'm at a loss to explain it other than laziness or indifference, pretending to care is "good enough." They're all content to ignore reality even as they themselves go under. If I don't laugh about it I'm going to explode from frustration. The Rack is Nordstrom's overflow outlet, #8 in the most read stories when I looked earlier. It's all about looking good.
Thanks, Bleue, for clearing up the Nordstrom's thing.

"War, the environment, poverty, child or animal abuse, nothing matters much. These aren't stupid people, most are successful so I'm at a loss to explain it other than laziness or indifference"

Yes, when it's stupid people it's easier to understand, but many of these folk aren't stupid. To laziness and indifference I would add "complacent, selfish, shortsighted, and lacking in basic empathy or compassion." These traits often seem strongest in those who bray the loudest about the importance of "values" in our society.
Not to mention the radioactive water from Japan still pouring into the ocean....

But doesn't now-nearly-skeletal Catherine look fabulous in her Canadian designer duds!?

Thanks for writing about this, we are all so screwed up.
Good to see ya, Just Thinking. Now that you mention it, Kate's looking thinner all the time, isn't she? That's a story the media refrains (so far) from mentioning, though they do go on about her Canadian duds, and holy cow, the polar bear jewelry she and Bill received contained over 600 diamonds!
You speak truth here,..and last night I had the horror of discovering a gal by the name of Nancy Grace on TV...shrilly going on and on about this case. I should have turned the channcl much sooner than the 4 minutes or so I stayed there..and it was not about the news so much...but holy crap....Nancy is so damned OVER THE TOP!!
Haven't you always wanted diamond polar bear cufflinks!?
I saw all those Canadian diamonds, in a polar bear design, and so wished to be a fly on the wall when they talked alone about that gift....they can't exactly pawn them, or re-do the design without the bears...hopefully they love polar bears.
Kate is a stunning woman, but she's lost something (besides weight) getting so thin, in my humble opinion.
But I like curves on a girl.
(Says this happily straight woman : ))
Ah yes, JD, and then there's Nancy. Among the many repulsive talking heads these days on what pass for our "news" networks, I find few as repulsive as Nancy (ak.a. The Ghoul) Grace. Now that's entertainment, or so her millions of viewers apparently think.

Just Thinking; curves are what make a woman. Of course, going off that criteria I'm a damned sexy woman myself, though I prefer to think I'm just Rubinesque. :P
eloquently written. one cant excoriate the MSM enough.
ps your av makes you look like a zombie haha... is something exploding in the background or what? :p
VZN, you and I disagree on a thing or two, but we're on the same page about the MSM. Thank you for noticing my zombie-esque avatar; that's actually the one I used when I first joined OS and for a long time afterward. It's a pic of me superimposed over a photo of some shit blowing up in Iraq. Speaking of which, there's been a noticeable uptick of shit blowing up in Iraq hasn't there? Mission accomplished? I suppose if we want to say so no one will notice (aside from anyone who's been paying attention).
Can't disagree with you here nana. I first cottoned on to how the identities of the victims influenced the interest in the crime at the time of the murders at Kent State and then Jackson State. Similar events within 10 days but Jackson State was a predominantly black college and guess which one I had to google to see if my memory served.
Call me a sick bastard, but I prefer live girls as oposed to dead ones, whether they black or white!
Abra; Kent State is viewed as a cultural/historical watershed, yet we (myself included) must Google Jackson State. That says quite a bit doesn't it?

Johnny! You've reminded me of all those "LIVE GIRLS!" signs outside strip joints. Live girls are just more... lively.
Yeah, I saw that on the evening neus. Pretty soon, dude, you will be required to show up two hours before your flight with your own jar of vaseline.

Can ya say "cavity search"?

Yeah, I know - they're talking about surgically inserted plastique. But I've been saying for years now, all the bullshit theater that the TSA puts on doesn't make anyone one bit safer.

If some terrorist asshole wants to take down a plane, they don't have to be ON IT.

Reinforcing the cockpit door was the BEST improvement. Now all they have to do is admit that passenger profiling is the ONLY way to really prevent terrorists from getting on a plane and we'll be golden.
That seems harsh, Quatto; I've been the target of profiling myself and it don't seem fair. One time I was at Logan Field in Boston, the same airport some of the 9/11 jets departed from, with no ID and a satchelful of edged weapons that made the x-ray scanners go "WHOOPWHOOPWHOOP" and looking in many respects exactly as a terrorist is expected to look, and they wouldn't let me on the plane. The funny part is that after I explained who I was(!) and showed them my expired fishing license they actually let me go ahead and board my flight, though sadly sans edged weapons except for a small throwing knife hidden in the seam of the satchel. And you say the system doesn't work!

I should do a post about that episode. As I was sitting there being interrogated by every security person within a quarter mile, I phoned my cousin who'd dropped me off at the airport and he said "It's only a 3-hour flight from Logan to Gitmo." Good times!
i think part of the fascination is that even though we may not admit to it, in fact it might not even be a conscious thought, we always compare ourselves...our lives.. to the ones in these stories.

i think its a matter of "my life might be sucky, but at least i aint them" sort of thing.

i think that as the average person's life spins a bit downward given the present state of joblessness, the planet, or whatever other current state of affairs you can think of , the more attractive these negative and salacious stories become.
Loriannnnnne! I agree there may be some of that "there but for the grace of god" thing involved, but there remains the vexing question of why these circuses so often revolve around pretty, middle-class white girls.
I just heard about the Anthony case a couple of days ago. I was mildly shocked to find out how many were following the case and embarrased that I didn't know about it. The reason? I don't watch mainstream news simply because most of it is sensationalism, incomplete, banal, and unimportant. You have to go to the internet to find the real news.....or have a spouse that likes to talk about what's going on in the world. Excellent post!
nananananananana! because "pretty, middle-class white girls" are the icon for middle america...'specially if theyre blonde.
Holy moly! A while ago I went out on the front porch and there was Chloe sitting next to a young and rather disreputable-looking possum. Luckily she's been spayed. Or neutered. Whatever it is that renders cat/possum hybrids unlikely.

Patricia, it speaks well of you that you only recently heard of the Anthony case. I wish I could say the same!

Loriannnnnnne, you're probably right. I suppose it's the same reason hot blondies are so often the favored victims in slasher movies, though I find this particular cable news obsession more disturbing than all the Friday the 13th films put together.
Thank you for addressing a topic that has long been a source of concern for me. I have been noticing this trend from as far back as 1995, when I first moved here from Jamaica. However, my observations indicate that media fascination is not just with dead white girls -- it's missing white girls, mugged white girls, accused white girls, convicted white girls (see the trend here) and that there’s heightened interest if she's blonde.
The same is true of popular media culture -- it appears that most television or cable network female anchor or movie/sitcom star must not only be white, she must be blonde. I find myself regularly contemplating what it must be like for the 70 or so percent of brunettes, redheads and black-haired white females not generally portrayed in popular media as beautiful & sexy. Though, to their credit, they are generally classified as "brainy."
But, being a black female in America, I didn't want to touch it for fear of being misunderstood. Besides, I have my own triple threat classifications - angry/sensitive/ugly black woman. Even Michelle Obama has not been shielded from this! And, if I'm really honest about it...for the most part, invisible.
This, unfortunately, is not just a media trend. It permeates law enforcement, the business culture, etc. I experienced this firsthand while a law student and later as a prosecutor here in NYC. In the spring through summer of 1998 there were a series of muggings of young women in NYC. I unfortunately was one of them. That year, every white woman mugged in NYC made the news for days as an "aspiring model/actress” and was accorded special attention by NYC officials and the police. Me, on the other hand, a black law student interning with the NASD, mugged in broad daylight on a bright August day on a busy NYC street was treated with suspicion by the police from the onset. I was never able to speak with the assigned detective who apparently believed that the mugger, being black, was in some way connected to me and could not even get a case number from him. As for the media, what interest should it have in the mugging of a young black woman?
Blindfolded Justice; welcome to Open Salon. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your personal experiences here. I remember in the wake of Barack Obama's election there was speculation from some quarters that we had become a "post-racial" society, but unfortunately such speculation was and is way premature. If one assesses our current reality with a little honesty it's plain to see that the prejudices permeating this nation since its founding run as deep and as virulent as ever.
I'm finding it hard to reconcile all this with your distaste for J. Assange.
I don't know how you feel about Christopher Hitchens or John Pilger - the Afghanistan post had disappeared while I was collecting my thoughts.
There are people, obviously working hard to bring broader issues to our attention, but others like Rupert find that the lowest common denominator pays more - who can argue with that ?
I suscribe to the fear factor alive and thriving in our news reporting. There seems to be a greet thrust towards making us afraid. What more than a pretty innocent blonde coed maimed or killed to keep us fearing for our lives. I am curious with the percentage of these killings per capita if there is an increase or just a pervading "be afraid, be very afraid" message that keeps us wanting to protect ourselves against the 'other' . Interesting topic.
Well said. Very well said.
"I've been the target of profiling myself and it don't seem fair."

Ah, not what I was talking about though. See, you look like a redneck, and everyone KNOWS rednecks like to carry weapons. But rednecks don't carry weapons to take down an aircraft (unless said aircraft just interfered with their trying to shoot a duck).

(Do I even NEED to put the whole "/begin sarcasm/end sarcasm/" thing here or is everyone adult enough to know a little humor when they see it?)

No, what I mean when I say "passenger profiling" is this:
if you FIT the framework for a potential terrorist (I.E. Middle Eastern descent, spent time in countries known to train and/or harbor terrorists, appear nervous, paid cash for your ticket, minimal baggage - you get where I'm going with this) then you get the full security screen. It's how the Israelis do it, by passing the passengers through multiple layers of security and asking the kinds of questions that will either elicit answers that trigger alarm bells or help to rule out a threat.

And yeah, I know all about guys like Timothy McVeigh. The psych screening (which is the questioning done at each security checkpoint) would catch those guys even if their appearance and passport wouldn't set off alarms. Tell me the last time anyone managed to smuggle explosives on a plane to Israel, or the last time someone actually hijacked an Israeli plane.

It can be done here and it can be done effectively here - anybody who says it won't scale to American air traffic is nuts, because it is designed to scale to the AIRPORT level. I'll bet Ben Gurion Airport gets as many travelers per day as any major metro hub here.

The DOWNSIDE to that is it would put the TSA out of business because it needs to be done by PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE ACTUALLY TRAINED. Something the TSA seems more than a little inclined to do.
"Something the TSA seems more than a little inclined to do."

Argh. Damn stubby little arms and fingers.

Something the TSA seems LESS than a little inclined to do.
Isn't it amazing that the number of "news" outlets has proliferated while the number of prominent stories keeps shrinking. I want to "blame" someone or something but I scarcely know where to start: the corporations that control the mainstream media, the new and social media, unencumbered by corporate responsibility, that exhibits its own sort of pandering for market share by promoting the same stories, the editors who favor "breaking" news even if it's been broken over and over again, or we the people, endless Googling the same damn topics, thus "proving" to both corporate news and the eager beaver bloggers that we all want to read about the same three things.

Sorry I am late to this party I saw it last night but there was to much going on.

Cmon Nana don’t try to feign that you are immune to the titillation of sex and death. I can tell by the way you write that you are a virile human being with a hyperactive sex drive and I am speaking honestly here as someone who has been there. Death and orgasm are linked somewhere in the darkest recess’s of the human soul. That is why we have serial killers, some are unable to restrain those demons. These are not amateurs we are dealing with here they are professional alchemists able to synthetize the purest extractions of sexual titillation then bring to bare all the power of their commandeered media apparatus's in order to see to it that their potion is distributed upon its intended users, even into their children's beds. The object of the game is distraction, Nana. The victim is so much more compliant when they do not even know they are the victim.

Fort Calhoun is half underwater and according to Russia, Obama has ordered a “complete media blackout” on the situation there, which was already up to a “level 4” last week. Forrest fires threatened to consume the los Alamos Reactors last week yet Americans aroused themselves with whispered speculations as to how many pieces of “duct tape were found on Caylee Anthony's decomposed body”. According to Michio Kaku, the worlds most renowned physicist, Fukushima has already marked millions for premature demise and continues unabated spewing its slow death poisons into the atmosphere. All over the world the ramifications of environmental rape are manifesting themselves in an environmental apocalypse. Dubya’s murderous imperialist policy's are ever expanded through Bush surrogate Obama and Goldman Sachs and Barclays are now speculating on the worlds food supply using their time proven method of "index investing",a euphemism for the very same derivatives that crashed the economy in 2008.

So go on and drink deep droughts of sexual koolaid. It starts with tongue kissing Aladdin's and sensuous Disney characters. It progress’s to vampires and prime time corpses sprawled naked on the floor. What better way to die than death by sex?
Kim, I'm not sure how this post conflicts with my distaste for Assange, and Pilger I don't know as much about as I should, though Hitchens is someone I've always respected. The Afghan post I deleted because the more I read and re-read it the more it seemed like a rewording of a post I wrote last year on the same topic; i.e., we've chosen defeat in Afghanistan though the war will continue to drag on futilely at great expense in blood and treasure. The course taken by the Obama administration has been one of political expediency at the expense of sound geopolitical strategy, and no rhetoric from him or his people as things fall apart and the Pashtun vs. Tajik/Uzbek civil war resumes will be able to mask that fact.

And absolutely, pandering to the lowest common denominator does indeed pay. Speaking of Murdoch, have you heard about The News of the World closing down? What they did there took journalism to depths of vomitous behavior rarely seen in Western media.

Rita, I'm not so sure they're trying to induce fear as much as trying to keep people distracted with juicy but irrelevant tabloid stories, the goal being to keep us from asking "What's that man doing behind the curtain?"

Linnnn, you're makin' me blush!

Lonnie! It's very good to see you. You should post more often; OS needs you like Frank needed Suzy Creamcheese, and I don't say that lightly.

Quatto; I was being facetious, though my anecdote was 100% true and will soon be featured in an OS post which will not only make cover but will likely garner me a Pulitzer as well. It was a heartrendering experience!

Anyway, as un-PC as it is to say, the Israeli approach is a good approach for the simple reason that it works. That is, it will work until the terrorists begin zombifying dead Westerners then making their undead slaves smuggle C-4 aboard jetliners in the lower intestinal region, thus rendering futile all our best efforts to avert the downfall of global civilization and especially Starbucks.

Nikki; "gack" sums up my position exactly.

Jack, my friend, you ain't just whistlin' Dixie!
Thanks for your response nan.
A relevant Pilger piece is here :


What I was trying to get at is that Assange, while arguably a pompous ass is also part of the larger contingent of journos world-wide who I think would agree with every word you've written.

The problem is blindsided ignorance, and whatever your thoughts on his alleged misdemeanors in Sweden or the fall-out from Bradley Manning's disclosures it seems to me Assange has done more than his fair share in trying to bring the bigger picture to our attention.

Your post, as I read it, is about the micro - the selective, salacious formula. Yes, Rupert has just laid off another 200 Brits by closing down News of the World, the largest selling English language paper - in order to save his bid for the rest of BSkyB, which will be infinitely more profitable a venture than NotW ever was.
He made his fortune on "Page 3" girls - he trained his 10 million readers well. Too bad ...

It's the aim of Assange & co. to destroy that mindset and the industry it built - I guess I never really understood your problem with Wikileaks. You might say, what about those Afghanis who were named as a result of Manning's initial leak ?
I have no idea, and nor does anyone else - but I have a feeling that "Collateral Murder" will impact on that war the way My Lai did, back in 1968, but with over 400 fewer casualties.
I'm with you now Kim; was thinking that might be what you meant. I'll try to explain my distaste for Assange:

Firstly, for anyone who's been paying attention during the past decade or so, there were absolutely no new or noteworthy revelations about US policies and tactics and so forth in Iraq and Afghanistan. The WikiLeak dumps were in that regard emphatically NOT the Pentagon Papers. What the dumps did bring to the public discussion was a comprehensive level of detail about ongoing operations in Central Asia which directly endangered and very likely cost the lives of some of our Afghan allies and/or their families. I barely heard any acknowledgment of that fact from Assange's supporters, let alone any admission that it might not be such a good thing to do. Instead, when the topic was addressed at all, I heard variations on the theme of "You must break some eggs to make an omelet." These are people's lives we're talking about here though, not eggs, and the issue I had and still have with the way the Wiki details were released and then defended is that Assange and his fans portray themselves as people wanting to put a stop to the killing, yet they apparently condone killing to do so. I dislike hypocrisy whether it emanates from the left or the right, but many of my liberal friends are willing and eager to make excuses for it as long as it comes from "our" side and as long as the ends justify the means. Well, ends do NOT justify means, and if that's true of the US government or whatever set of wrongdoers you care to name, then it's equally true of Assange. Further, I've so far seen no evidence of ""Collateral Murder" having any effect anywhere that resembles My Lai. By the time it was released the war in Iraq was for all intents and purposes over, and while it's perhaps enlightening to watch what Apache gunships can do to people, the video, and more importantly the Afghan allies of ISAF who may have been sacrificed in other leaks to further Assange's self-professed and bombasticly stated desire to "take down bastards," have done nothing that I've noticed to affect the schedule or the tempo of operations in Afghanistan. The war will drag on to a pointless, bloody, futile conclusion for the US and its allies, at which point the civil war that we interrupted in 2001 will resume but in a more widespread bloody fashion than ever, and nothing I've seen from WikiLeaks has changed that in the least. All of that aside, what I see when I watch interviews with Assange is a narcissist who seems quite unconcerned with the prices paid by others for his time in the limelight. Such people sicken me whichever part of the political spectrum they're from and regardless of what their stated goals are.
Loud & clear.

"What the dumps did bring to the public discussion was a comprehensive level of detail about ongoing operations in Central Asia which directly endangered and very likely cost the lives of some of our Afghan allies and/or their families."
We still don't know that, about the very likely cost of lives - though remember, it was Manning, not Assange, who released the information.

" ... while it's perhaps enlightening to watch what Apache gunships can do to people, the video, and more importantly the Afghan allies of ISAF who may have been sacrificed in other leaks to further Assange's self-professed and bombasticly stated desire to "take down bastards," have done nothing that I've noticed to affect the schedule or the tempo of operations in Afghanistan."

It took another five years, between My Lai & the bombing of Hanoi.
I'm saying My Lai was the first any of us knew about the atrocities committed in our name for this war. It takes people of a certain integrity ( like Manning, & like dare-I-say-it Assange ) to bring them to our attention, over and above the regrettable deaths of young white females in our community.

It might take a while, and it might rob Rupert of a few bucks in the meantime, but eventually transparency & freedom of information will prevail, now. Now that there are Bradley Mannings & Assanges.

Call him a narcissist, bombastic, sickening or a hypocrite. Call him what you like - he is better at what he does than Rupert Murdoch, who calls himself and his organisation "informative."
I'll say this: Rupert Murdoch works to obscure the truth and to spin it into propaganda to promote the goals of oligarchs and warmongers, while Assange, whatever I think of him as a person or of some of the leaks which I believe should have been better edited before releasing 'em, has done a lot to get useful information out there which otherwise would have remained secret. On that much we're in agreement. Fox News by itself, only one of Murdoch's operations, has done as much to weaken democracy in my country as the Koch Brothers, and the Kochs ain't no pikers.
But still; I dislike Murdoch a lot more than I like Assange, if that makes any sense.
I'm still googling Koch Brothers.
It seems you people are in more trouble than I thought.
Australians look like light relief - another shrimp ( aus. prawn, on the bar b anyone ? )
Yeah, things aren't going that well here. There's a lot of good material about the Kochs on Alternet, and other places too I'm sure. It shames me to admit they're headquartered in Kansas.

And definitely, Aussies are great at light relief. I doubt I'd have survived the '80s without Yahoo Serious.
Apologies for my flippant remark about Aussies and light humor. I should know better by now, given the way Natalie always gets a little frosty whenever I mention Paul Hogan or "A dingo ate my byeby!"
Wars are all, like, gross and stuff anyway.
Dingo? Fark!
Yeah, apparently most 'Stralians have lost loved ones to dingo attacks, so they don't see the humor in it.
I read this piece when you first posted it, pardner. It is powerful. I refrained from commenting then because . . . well . . . I am trying to stay away from this stuff. I regret not rating it right away in any event. But you got plenty of quick ratings without mine. I am rectifying all that now with this comment.

Great job. Give 'em hell every chance you get.
When my Grandparents were eaten by dingoes back in '62, there was a short paragraph on p. 5 of the Border Morning Mail about it.

When Azaria Chamberlain disappeared and they locked up her mom, we all thought it was hilarious.

I've since lost my dog, my parents, my kids, and nearly all of my friends to dingoes. The funny side wears off, after a while, nan.
Especially when they can't even be bothered to send out a half-sober camera crew to ask how we feel. Those days are gone. Long gone.
Thanks, Brassawe. Twelve readers or not you do pretty well yourself. :P

Kim, that's exactly why I avoid dingo humor these days unless I'm talking to other Yanks. At least those of you eaten alive by wild dogs are now in a better place, God's will be done and He does work in mysterious ways, amen.
My sister was eaten by a bandicoot last week. Not that anyone noticed. That's ok. It isn't important or anything.
bandicoots are not nearly as cute as their name implies... in fact, theyre like the ugly step-sister of the mostly adorable marsupial family.
The media is no longer aninformation machine but an entertainment package. They seem to be run by the Jeff probst people.
I always pictured a bandicoot as a koala with fangs. What an ugly way to die.

Dianne, exactly; the line between news and entertainment has been pretty much erased during the last decade or so.
From Penelope's pov ( her husband was "at the game") it probably couldn't have been worse, but did FOX care ? There were no pictures, no crime scene ( so no reporters ) ... nothing but a wheelchair, in the middle of a kitchen. Who wants to look at footage of marsupial droppings ? No advertiser I've ever heard of.
Worse, lorianne, this thing is a rodent ( like the kangaroo ... don't get me started on what kangaroos did to my cousins - no camera crew there, either, incidentally ... "how strange," ... ) - I'd like to tie Rupert to a mast and let the numbats have at him.
Numbats and goannas.
ok that was a bit extreme, but you try answering the question How does it feel, having your sister eaten by a bandicoot ?
It was God's will, Kim, no more and no less. Probably it's a mercy Penelope was wheelchair-bound; it's the struggling to escape that most infuriates a bandicoot.
I once saw a special on Discovery Channel about numbats - they're smaller, arboreal cousins of the billabong. Oddly enough, they use red-back spider silk as a sort of bolo to ensnare their victims.
There's this weird religious vibe I'm getting.
Have you gone "over," or are you still wrestling with that urge ?
I accepted Jesus as my personal savior in third grade during a summer Bible camp that my best friend Ralph's Baptist parents talked me into attending, so it's not a matter so much of going over as just letting God do with my urges as He will.

Speaking of goannas, a friend of mine caught Chagas Disease last year from a kissing bug while camping in the Absarokas. They're not supposed to occur that far north, but Basque shepherds were in the area so who knows.
Sometimes conversations with other people are weirder than ones I have with myself - you ever felt that ?
" Speaking of goannas ..." doesn't crop up that often even here, you know ?
goannas remind me of my uncle rupert. he was jowly like that and wore his plaid pants up high under his armpits. not that a goanna would be caught dead wearing plaid pants...
I get what you mean. OS is sometimes like multiple internal dialogues weaving and looping in and out of each other at random intervals. It's one of the reasons I love the place.

Since my previous comment I've been reading up on Chagas Disease and kissing bugs and horrifying the shit out of myself. It seems the kissing bug get its name 'cause it "kisses" or more accurately, bites, sleeping people on the lips to suck their blood. But that's not how you get Chagas Disease, oh no. After biting you on the lips the little monstrosity deposits feces on you which contain the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, which you might then rub into the bite wound and catch Chagas. Think about that. In areas of Central and South America where the disease is common they say the best way to control it is to not sleep in the same room as chickens and pigs, though for my money I'd not sleep within a hundred miles of any fucking place that kissing bugs might possibly be. I lived in San Diego for a while and during that period I went to Tijuana on a regular basis to eat fish tacos and buy cheap mezcal; thank God I never spent the night there.
Loriannnnnnne! I think goannas are more partial to argyle. You live in the Southwest don't you? How do you sleep at night knowing you're in range of kissing bugs? They suck blood from your lips then deposit flagellate-infested poo on your face!
nanananananana! - well, i used to lose sleep worrying over the scorpions i sometimes see in my yard. now i have a brand spankin' new nightmare...so thanks bunches for that!
Lose sleep over scorpions? Get out! One of the coolest things about Southern Cali is the scorpions and, of course, the tarantulas. And really, kissing bugs shouldn't be a problem if you're proactive. The main thing is to keep chickens and pigs out of your sleeping quarters and, if that fails, just don't rub that flagellate-laden dookie into the bite wound.
yeahhhhh...um not a fan of any of the bug type critters so much... wolves, coyotes and even the occasional mountain lion...im ok with. bugs? not so much. but to live here? worth it
Omigosh, Nana, I love you! My computer died and I've been offline for a week. Just now read this after putting up my two cents on this. You said it much better than I did.
In your area it's easiest to find scorpions and tarantulas at night. Just go out in the desert or chaparral or your yard or wherever and shine a flashlight low along the ground. You'll see their little eyes reflecting the light back at you and from there it's pretty easy to catch 'em. I wish I lived down there again; with the exception of the wolf spider there are no arachnids in my area like y'all have. Well, except for a species of scorpion that's making its appearance around here due to global warming, but they're just littl'uns.
Snippy! If you and I ever said the same thing on a topic I seriously doubt I'd be able to say it better than you. I'll come have a look.
Yours is definitely better. Will just found a .pdf file online of Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, and I'm gonna reread it. That man was a prophet, and would agree with everything you've said here.
I've seen Amusing Ourselves to Death referenced in several books I've read recently; obviously I need to read it. I believe Postman was discussing television, but his points apply equally well to the Internet. There was once a belief that the Net would result in a better informed electorate, but that hasn't happnened at all. If anything, people nowadays are less inclined than ever to acquaint themselves with the readily available sources of information they have at their fingertips. Who wants to read about stuff like the Koch brothers and the ongoing subversion of American democracy when you can watch videos of cats flushing toilets?
The best stories are about good looking female psycho killers. Couldn't you write more about them? Too bad I'm not young and cute enough to shoot up some House Republicans and expect the press to notice. I did it for the debt ceiling.