Blood and circuses

Now that football season and the baseball playoffs are upon us, I am watching much more television than I normally do … which is close to none at all. People often find it odd that I am able to resist the siren call of the TV; I frequently hear “you mean you’ve never seen (name of show)? Not even once?” I watched my share as a child and teenager-ah, the many beautiful summer afternoons of my adolescence spent in a dark air-conditioned room watching five hours’ worth of ABC soaps-but today television annoys me more than it entertains me. I went a lot of years without owning a TV, mainly because I couldn’t afford one, and I think that broke me of the habit. Having the Internet finished it. It’s not snobbery, but the relentless sell-sell-sell, the endless talking about nothing that makes my screen black. Lately one of my colleagues in the Real World Job has been pissing me off due to her incessant chatter about the Caylee Anthony case. For those who don’t know (and I wish I was among their number), Caylee is a photogenic white toddler from Florida who went missing earlier this summer. Suspicion was immediately focused on her 22-year-old mother Casey, who apparently went for about four or five weeks before telling people the kid was missing. Naturally FOX and CNN swooped on the story like vultures after so much rotting meat, and every day the coworker reads FOX’s website and breathlessly reports the latest update, usually something that Casey’s ex-best friend’s mother’s boyfriend or someone of that ilk pulls out of his/her ass.

Yes, missing and murdered children are horrible things to consider. It’s just as horrible that the vast majority of them are done in by their own parents or other family members.   But what’s really horrible is that in the effort to fill broadcast space for the hundreds of 24/7 channels the media fastens upon these pretty white kids, the poster child of this phenomenon being JonBenet Ramsey, and makes them “news.” People have made careers out of pretending to care about the latest poor innocent Pretty White Kid. A couple of years ago Nancy Grace, a former (and reportedly shitty) Atlanta prosecutor turned CNN screaming head allegedly drove a young woman named Miranda Duckett to suicide after Duckett’s pretty white toddler son went missing and in Grace’s view Duckett did not have good answers. The really disgusting part about it is that Grace aired the interview AFTER the suicide, her eyes practically glittering in glee as she attempted gravity and said “I do not feel that our show is to blame for what happened to Melinda Duckett. The truth is not always nice or polite or easy to go down. Sometimes it’s harsh, and it hurts.” My husband had the TV on to Headline News and when I realized what she was doing I used a word I almost never use, telling him to “get that cunt off my TV.”

There are laws for a reason. There is a justice system for a reason. Missing and murdered children, unfortunately, are pretty commonplace. I just hate it when they’re offered up as entertainment.

And a final note-would we have heard about the recent murders of a black woman and a black man and the disappearance of a black child on Chicago’s South Side had they not been related to a famous singer/actress?  Yeah, I didn’t think so either.