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From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

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From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 06.05.17 9:32

From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

        Hadley Freeman Saturday 6 May 2017 09.00 BST

This is a story about missing children, and what happens to those who are left behind. Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a story told so many times it has taken on the form of a litany: Praia da Luz, the tapas restaurant, the open window. Madeleine vanished, but she is ever-present in the public consciousness, whereas thousands of missing children are just that – wholly missing.

There has been much hand-wringing in the media over this disparity: was it because Kate and Gerry McCann are white and photogenic? Or because Madeleine was blond and cute? Or because she vanished in a country where journalists also take their cute kids on holiday? To which the answers are yes, obviously, but this is to miss the point; the argument should be not that the McCanns deserve less attention, but that other missing children should get more. In an interview last weekend, Kate McCann said she felt “guilty” and “embarrassed” about the £11m spent on the search for her daughter. The only people who should be embarrassed are those who sneer that there should be some kind of cap on the amount of sympathy, or a time limit placed on a parent’s hope. In recent weeks, the tabloids have been eagerly publishing spurious decades-old sightings of Madeleine, seen crying for her mother in the company of “suspicious men”. It is hard to see what any of this is supposed to achieve, beyond torturing the McCanns.

The common take on the McCann coverage is that middle-class newspaper readers related to them and so cared more about the story than, say, that of Ben Needham, the British toddler who vanished in Kos in 1991. And yet in both cases the parents were instantly vilified: Kerry Needham for being working class, Gerry and Kate McCann for being too self-possessed and attractive. The parents of missing children are often demonised by a public that need to reassure themselves that this could never happen to them. Those parents were feckless, foolish, bad – not like us, the good parents. If anything, the relatability of the McCanns made them even more terrifying, and thus more necessary to condemn.

When Nick Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur died in 2015, after falling off a cliff while on LSD, parts of the media were so keen to blame his father they became self-parodic. Much was made of the singer’s previous drug habit, as though no other parent on the planet had ever taken drugs, while the Times tutted that Cave had “an obsession with death” and watched “super-violent” films with his children. (The paper later removed the article from its website.)

In an extraordinary interview in American GQ, Cave recently said: “I don’t want to give too much oxygen to the matter of responsibility because it raises a point that only someone who knows nothing about parenting, drug-taking or bereavement would suggest.” Even so, he added: “You can find yourself indulging in all sorts of irrational and self-destructive thoughts – self-pity, self-blame – because they form a direct connection to the small but present part of you that just wants to die.”

I have written a lot about missing or dead children: Etan Patz, the six-year-old who vanished in New York in 1979, and whose face haunted American parents in the 80s; JonBenét Ramsey, the six-year-old beauty contestant found dead in her home in 1996; Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings. All very different stories, all connected by a vilification of the parents by a public so terrified of anything like that happening to them. A police officer once described it to me like this: “You know that moment when you lose sight of your child in a shopping mall? Imagine that feeling lasting for 30 years.” But there is no need for anyone to pull an Andrea “as a mother” Leadsom here; anyone can feel that fear, as if your arm has been ripped off your body and your heart pulled out after it.

The cynical take on Madeleine McCann is that she is gone for good: why are we still talking about this? “Her parents need to accept their share of the blame and let her go,” one notoriously bilious columnist wrote. There is a condescension towards parents of missing children and their magical thinking, their desperate hope that the family will one day be reunited. But it’s their critics who are engaging in the worst kind of magical thinking, believing that if they turn bereaved parents into the demonised Other, they will protect their own children. All they are doing, really, is revealing that they know the terrible truth: that this could happen to any of us, and we would never stop looking.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/06/nick-cave-to-kate-mccann-time-judged-parents-less
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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Sam S on 06.05.17 10:26

No Mr Cave this could not happen "to any one of us". My wife and i have never taken our children abroad and left them night after night, alone in an un-locked room so we could have some "us time", getting drunk with strangers. No matter where the case ends up i can never understand why a parent would endanger their children like that. Mind you, i am just a hard working family man with no higher education or "distinguished career", so , what do i know?
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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 06.05.17 10:33

At least the deluge of McCann propaganda is slowing down to a trickle now.

Crikey, we were all expecting a lot of articles and documentaries for the 10th Anniversary, but did any of us expect this much?

confused
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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Amy Dean on 06.05.17 11:40

Sam S, it's not Nick Cave who wrote this article but a ill-informed "journalist" called Hadley Freeman.
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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by suzyjohnson on 06.05.17 12:09

Hadley Freeman Saturday 6 May 2017 09.00 BST


' ....  I have written a lot about missing or dead children........'




Well, I think you should stop.


Write about home furnishings or something.

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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Phoebe on 06.05.17 14:21

" And yet in both cases the parents were instantly villified: Kerry Needham for being working class, Gerry and Kate McCann for being too self-possessed and attractive".

Wrong!! I think you' ll find the disdain for the McCanns sprang from their refusal to accept that leaving their kids alone in an open apartment on a public street, as they claimed, is not "like dining in your back garden" nor "within the bounds of reasonable parenting"; from their refusal to cop-operate with the police; from their courting of the media to the extent of paying half a million to the red-tops to keep them in the news; from the fact that they didn't even bother to search for their child; from their admission that they were able to slumber calmly a mere 5 days after they believed their child was being assaulted by Paedophiles; from their marketing of their child like a commodity to enhance their new-found celebrity status as "tragic parents"; from their cynical use of photo-opportunities, with particular attention to hair ribbons and ever-changing, snazzy earrings and parking their arses on every chat show they could; From their condescension and disdain toward, and undermining of, hard working police who were spending a fortune in money and effort to find the child they had been careless enough to endanger. Finally, from their spiteful persecution of the detective determined to bring those responsible for Madeleine's disappearance to justice.  Nothing whatsoever to do with their "attractiveness". That idea was put forward due to their own arrogance as Kate proudly highlighted her less than matronly bosom.
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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by sandancer on 06.05.17 14:42

For " self possessed " read " self obsessed " as shown many​ times by both of them in their​ continued defence of themselves and their actions , and the lack of concern about what happened to Madeleine and the " situation​ she​ found herself in " 

" Attractive​ " never​ , not in looks or personality .

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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by Cmaryholmes on 06.05.17 15:26

@Get'emGonçalo wrote:At least the deluge of McCann propaganda is slowing down to a trickle now.

Crikey, we were all expecting a lot of articles and documentaries for the 10th Anniversary, but did any of us expect this much?

confused
I was expecting someone with the international profile of Oprah Winfrey, instead we got Fiona Bruce, who obviously couldn't be bothered to her homework before 'interviewing ' them. Less an interview, more a vehicle to promote themselves in victim mode, as usual. Incidentally, thinking about it, maybe Oprah has figured it out. She is no one's fool.

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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by ChippyM on 06.05.17 15:40

How can Nick Cave's situation be compared to that of the McCanns? One was a nearly adult child who took drugs and had a tragic accident. Kids of that age can not be kept in and their every move watched....a 3 year old on the other hand needs constant monitoring.

  Nick Cave did not fail his child but the McCanns did (in one way or another) and never been held accountable, which is why people are so critical.

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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by nglfi on 06.05.17 15:56

They've tried for ten years but there's simply no way to dress it up as acceptable. There is no scenario where 3 under 4's can be left alone to fend for themselves, night after night for hours at a time.

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Re: From Nick Cave to Kate McCann, it’s time we judged parents a little less

Post by suespeaking on 06.05.17 17:11

Actually we need to judge parents a bit more especially those who will not take their  responsibility as parents seriously.  Leaving 3 babies alone is not responsible parenting it is neglect and that is why they are villified
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