Sunday, October 4, 2009
Missing White Chick of the Week
Where have you gone Nancy Grace? You used to have a 24 hour news channel devoted to chasing the "Tot Mom," now it feels like if I want some good fear-porn I have to wade through Glen Beck's Da-Vinci-Code-esque conspiracy theories.
The media shapes our perceptions of who we are and who they are. Music, sitcoms and especially news shape our perceptions of who we are and what they want to do to us. We construct ourselves through the media, but we also come to know and fear the Otherlings through grainy mugshots.
There is an enduring theme that runs through the choices the media makes as to what constitutes news. A serial killer is the sexiest thing ever, but only if he's one of those middle aged white men leaving elaborate clues like peanut butter smeared playing cards at the scenes of his crimes, a'la TV's Dexter. A serial killer defending drug selling turf in the inner city, or American interests around the world...? If it bleeds, it doesn't necessarily lead. The new maxim: If she's white, and she's in fright, that shit'll be on tv tonight.
A serial killer story only sells Ipods and car insurance advertising rights if he's operating outside of an institutional, structural context. Ironically, this is the type of killing we could do the most to reform. But killing as the outcome of market transactions and serious, complicated policy trade-offs? How can they be coming to get us in our sleep, if we're all complicit in the big crime?
So there is virtual reality that none of us can truly step outside of. Private Jessica Lynch is center stage while 100,000 dead Iraqis find namelessness in numbers. Natalie Holloway's dissapearance is big news, while the daily dead Otherling pulled out of a dumpster in Newark isn't tabloid fodder because she (or he) is one of society's undesirables. From welfare queens to poverty pimps, the war on poverty has been poisoned by racism. The media and our glorious White wing have created an undeserving, uncontrollable underclass.
Oh, those poor "missing white chicks" of the week". They didn't deserve any of this.