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Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

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Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by russiandoll on 24.02.13 0:20

by Deborah Orr.


Pistorius's case is an empty vessel into which all our prejudices may be poured

Media frenzies of this kind illuminate the motives of the media-consuming world far more than they do those of the suspects.

It
was inevitable, of course, from the moment the news first broke, that
the world would be fascinated by the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. This is
not least because the man who ended her life is the hugely admired,
world-famous athlete Oscar Pistorius. But that's not all there is to it.
A
crucial attraction of the story is its intense vulnerability to
speculation. It offers an irresistible invitation for all kinds of
people to project or act out their prejudices, ventilate their societal
critiques and animate their passionately held theories about the world,
safe in the knowledge that the motivation for events in Pistorius's
Pretoria home in the early hours of 14 February are never likely to be
independently and irrefutably established by a third party. The media,
of course, is only too happy to whip such excitement up yet further.
Such stories, when they happen along, attract readers in droves.
The most egregious of such "opportunities", in recent years, have been the Madeleine McCann abduction in Portugal and the Meredith Kercher
murder in Italy. In both of those cases, the truth – that it was a
crime of opportunity committed by a stranger – was rejected by many in
favour of the idea of intimate, domestic horror, carried out by people
so psychopathic, so quick-thinking and so coolly brilliant that they
could commit an outrageous crime, behave in a flamboyantly
self-publicising manner in its wake and yet, through sheer nerve, still
expect to escape justice. The fact that both crimes were being
investigated under criminal justice systems unfamiliar in detail to
British audiences, and beyond the reach of straightforward
considerations about contempt of court, made the manner in which they
could be reported all the more "creative".
In the case of the
McCanns, victim-blame was writ large. It was quickly decided that Kate
and Gerry McCann weren't behaving in a manner befitting people whose
child had been snatched from her bed to disappear without trace, as if
reaction to something so appalling and strange could ever be "just
right". In a widespread act of collective counter-prejudice, it was
decided that it was precisely because the couple were middle-class,
educated, respectable, and in vocational careers that one had to be
careful not to be influenced by such thumpingly giant signs of their
previous good character.
Even among people who refrained from the
wildest speculations there was a feeling that "ordinary" people would
have been charged with neglect. The McCanns and their friends had
managed to persuade themselves that dining in the grounds of a holiday
complex was like dining in their own garden. For this delusion of
complete safety, this complacent ease with, and security about, their
place in the world, they ought to be held to account.
In the
Kercher case, similar prejudices were brought to bear. There was a
reluctance to "fall for" the idea that middle-class US college students
just didn't tend to be involved in acts of group sexual torture and
murder. Further, Amanda Knox was a beautiful young woman. Contrary to
evidence across the globe, and in virtually all walks of life, there is a
perception that beautiful young women are to be feared and despised,
because they are used to getting everything their own way.
Both
the McCanns and Knox were accused of behaving oddly in the aftermath of
the crimes, part of their "bizarre behaviour" being the exercise of
their bodies, which was rejected as an understandable resort these
people undertook in an attempt to still the manic, runaway exercise that
had taken over their minds, and viewed instead as solipsism. Actually,
their inability to comport themselves in a manner that would seem
appropriate to the eyes they knew were watching them was far more likely
to be an expression of guileless innocence than of calculated bluff.
But the ability of humans to interpret matters to fit their prejudicial
worldview is quite impressively well developed.
These sorts of
lurid media frenzy illuminate the motives and thought processes of the
media-consuming world far more than they do those of the suspects in the
spotlight. In a crucial sense, the Pistorius case is even more perfect
as an empty vessel into which constructed motivation can be poured,
because the perpetrator of the act is not in question. Pistorius doesn't
claim a third party entered his home, only that he became overwhelmed
by a fear that this had happened, a fear that had unspeakably tragic
results. Reluctance to take his story at face value is driven not by
dispassionate examination of the evidence, but by more general views
about the vulnerability of women to violence from their partners. If,
like Pistorius, those partners are middle class, successful, heroic,
disabled, there's a strong feeling that societal prejudice in their favour is something to be scrupulously countermanded.
The fact that Steenkamp died on the day designated by campaign group One Billion Rising
for "the biggest mass global action to end violence against girls and
women in the history of humankind" offers a powerful reminder that
suspicion of individual men does not happen in a vacuum. Certainly,
whether people were consciously aware of it or not, the news was
presented in a context of socio-cultural prejudice right away, which in
turn inspired immediate efforts to counter it. The dead woman was not
just the glamour girl she was being described as in the media, people
were at pains to point out. She was a law graduate and campaigner
against domestic violence as well. She was a fully realised person in
her own right, not just a trophy, a sporting WAG.
Yet, legitimate
and understandable as the focus on Steenkamp's intellectual
achievements was, the subtext was abject. If Steenkamp had been entirely
without accomplishment, just a pretty, empty blonde head on a
beautiful, vainly pampered body, she would have deserved not one iota
more to be shot dead at the age of 29. The people most keen to rescue
Steenkamp from posthumous objectification were inadvertently
legitimising the objectification of women who more accurately fitted the
description "model and girlfriend of … "
That's why
objectification is so pernicious. Valuing any women only or primarily
for the way they look risks implying that at least some aspects of
all women are not unique and irreplaceable, but archetypal and
expendable. That's why the Sun's front-page story showing Steenkamp
modeling a bikini horrified so many people.
It presented her not as a woman who had been violently robbed of her
life, but as a "model and girlfriend of … ", a fantasy image, a glorious
yet merely physical being whose personal reality, dead or alive, wasn't
the important thing.
Whatever the outcome for Pistorius,
individual views about his guilt or innocence will depend on whether the
holder believes him to be a man who understands the absolute integrity
of women as fully realised people, equal in the value of their life
to men, or whether they believe him to be a man who absorbed the age-old
cultural message that women should be passive, like objects. The
ongoing tragedy, however, is that as long as that latter propaganda
continues to be perpetrated, men will be distrusted by women and women
will be in mortal danger from men.


____________________



             The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate,
contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and
unrealistic.
~John F. Kennedy

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by rainbow-fairy on 24.02.13 1:15

Hmmmmm - so the McCann and Kercher cases were 'crime by stranger' were they? Where is this info from? Who are the strangers found guilty in both cases???
Its funny because I'm certain the McCann case was archived under something completely different..... yes

Truly appalling article!

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Miraflores on 24.02.13 8:40

From what I remember of the Kircher case - there was a trial and a prison sentence, but if she has now been freed, that is the judgement of the court. Not so with the McCanns.

I suspect though, that this is a damage limitation exercise. The Guardian printed the standard piece about retired solicitor gets suspended jail sentence on Friday. My husband read it, so I was able to put him in the picture, but there must have been loads of people who didn't know much about the case, read it and thought "What's all this about?" and started to ask questions. This gives me the impression that the judge's decision wasn't quite the victory the McCanns wanted.
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by aquila on 24.02.13 8:50

@rainbow-fairy wrote:Hmmmmm - so the McCann and Kercher cases were 'crime by stranger' were they? Where is this info from? Who are the strangers found guilty in both cases???
Its funny because I'm certain the McCann case was archived under something completely different.....

Truly appalling article!

In the Kercher and Pistorius cases there are murdered bodies. Bloody strange to include McCanns in this article. I did read it but couldn't see the point of including the McCanns other than to intimate middle class professionals can be misunderstood. What a truly odd piece of journalistic tripe.

Just my opinion.
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by plebgate on 24.02.13 9:46

I am amazed yet again this morning - maybe this journo doesn't know that even TMs own solicitor had to admit in a court of law recently that she did not know whether or not Maddie had been abducted. Lazy journalism indeed.

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by mydadsanastronaut on 24.02.13 9:50

@plebgate wrote:I am amazed yet again this morning - maybe this journo doesn't know that even TMs own solicitor had to admit in a court of law recently that she did not know whether or not Maddie had been abducted. Lazy journalism indeed.

It's the equivalent of downloading a stock essay from the Internet. Needs naff all research and allows person who isn't really that interested to get it out of the way.

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by plebgate on 24.02.13 10:03

you're right there mydad and also make a good few bob in the process. At the very beginning somebody said that this case would be a "cash cow" for many and indeed those words have come true.

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by russiandoll on 24.02.13 10:12

The piece said that comments were free......I could not find any but would like to say quite a few things about this shoddy journalism.
Were I not familiar with the McCann case details, and had only read the archiving report, it is apparent that it is not an established fact [the truth] that a stranger snatched Maddie from her bed. No police force has decided that this is a fact.
As for the restaurant being in the grounds of the holiday complex, the journalist, if she had taken a look at a map, would have seen that unlike a garden there is no perimeter wall enclosing the apartment and the pool area, and would ahve seen the route/s Maddie would have needed to negotiate in the dark to find her parents while drowsy and probably afraid.
The Guardian used to be a great newspaper, I stopped reading it a couple of years ago. This is poor journalism and the McCanns were brought into it because Ms Orr is writing about the press, which played a leading role in the Maddie story as it unfolded.
I will comment if I am able to, that the press did not influence my opinion on the Maddie case at all. I was on a foreign holiday when the story broke, did not read a paper for 2 weeks, returned to my father shortly afterwards becoming suddenly very ill and he was in hospital for the best part of 2 months. He died early hours 6th September, I was at the hospital for 18 hours and when he was lucid he talked about Maddie....he had heard about the arguido issue, nurses talking as they worked I think.

He said to me " they are never going to find that little girl alive "

I was too busy with the coroner, the funeral and a hospital investigation to read about Maddie. I was overwhelmed with grief once I had come off auto-pilot. I bought a laptop to help me write things for the investigation which lasted 2 years and did not use my laptop for anything else until late 2010. I was amazed by the internet and the amount of information. I do not recall how I came across the Maddie case, but I saw a link to the police files and read, and read some more. Recalled my sense of something not adding up for me from the start, from the little I had read and heard about, borrowed Kate's book and found it raised more than a few red flags. Work absence due to illness, a lot of time on my hands and was determined to read more from the files.

Everything I have an opinion on about this case, Ms Orr , is as a result of the tapas group's words. Kate's in particular, her book was the catalyst for my interest, not the media.

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contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and
unrealistic.
~John F. Kennedy

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Miraflores on 24.02.13 11:22

I have just posted this on the Guardian website:
Why does Ms Orr need to bring Madeleine McCann into a murder trial?
She
states categorically that Madeleine was abducted, whereas the McCann's
own solicitor wasn't able to say that on oath in a courtroom, but had to
say that she was just repeating what the McCanns had told her.
If
Ms Orr has new information why doesn't she report it to the Portuguese
police? Or is this article just a piece of sloppy journalism?
A couple of posts above there is this:
Deborah Orr says that in the McCann's case 'the truth' is
that it was an 'opportunistic crime committed by a stranger'. Funny that
wasn't the conclusion of the Portuguese Police when they archived the
case.
In the McCanns case, the then Chief Constable of Leicester
Police said (in response to the McCann;s request to see evidence held by
Leicester Police) "While one of both of them may be innocent , there is
no clear evidence which eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine's
disappearance'.


I didn't think the case had been solved. Deborah Orr
presumably knows better than the Police, or perhaps it's just lazy
journalism?


The Kercher and the Steenkamp cases each involve a dead body. Are you
suggesting that the McCanns case does ? If so, Carter-Ruck may want to
speak to you.
Was this last one you, PeterMac?


Wonder when they will get whoosed?
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by PeterMac on 24.02.13 11:42

Yes, it was. Copying from this thread, for which many thanks and appropriate acknowledgements.

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by sallypelt on 24.02.13 12:00

[quote="russiandoll"]by Deborah Orr.


Pistorius's case is an empty vessel into which all our prejudices may be poured

Media frenzies of this kind illuminate the motives of the media-consuming world far more than they do those of the suspects.

Hold those above thoughts until the trial, then I'll believe that the journalist will be eating his/her words. People didn't jump on Pistorius's, just because he was a celeb. People looked at the facts. Of course, at this moment in time we can only speculate ON THOSE FACTS, and from what we know so far, things just don't add up. NOW we are told that the cricket bat WAS used on Reeva, and she suffered severe head injuries. BUT, we will have to wait for the trial before justice is served. We can be grateful for this particular case that it WILL go to trial, unlike some.
I can't see this posted anywhere, so I'll post it here. As you can see, it is in relation to Pistorious's brother:
http://news.sky.com/story/1056214/pistorius-brother-to-stand-trial-over-death

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Guest on 24.02.13 12:11

[quote="sallypelt"]
@russiandoll wrote:by Deborah Orr.


Pistorius's case is an empty vessel into which all our prejudices may be poured

Media frenzies of this kind illuminate the motives of the media-consuming world far more than they do those of the suspects.

Hold those above thoughts until the trial, then I'll believe that the journalist will be eating his/her words. People didn't jump on Pistorius's, just because he was a celeb. People looked at the facts. Of course, at this moment in time we can only speculate ON THOSE FACTS, and from what we know so far, things just don't add up. NOW we are told that the cricket bat WAS used on Reeva, and she suffered severe head injuries. BUT, we will have to wait for the trial before justice is served. We can be grateful for this particular case that it WILL go to trial, unlike some.
I can't see this posted anywhere, so I'll post it here. As you can see, it is in relation to Pistorious's brother:
[url=http://news.sky.com/story/1056214/pistorius-brother-to-stand-trial-over-death
http://news.sky.com/story/1056214/pistorius-brother-to-stand-trial-over-death[/quote[/url]]



I posted it on the Oscar Pistorius thread in Crime and Conspiracy thread this morning sally.
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by russiandoll on 24.02.13 14:11

seems like the " comment is free " above the Orr article is the title of another piece of writing [silly me].
I still can't find a comments page for the Orr article where she brings the McCanns into the piece about OP. Am now on the website, can anyone advise where they posted?
thanks!

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by russiandoll on 24.02.13 14:29

interesting phrases from the Orr article :

all our prejudices

fascinated by

that's not all there is to it.
speculation
motivation for events

independently and irrefutably established
Such stories
egregious
the truth

opportunity

stranger

outrageous crime
self-publicising

escape justice.
"creative".
disappear without trace,

delusion

held to account.
guileless innocence

unspeakably tragic results.

face value

dispassionate examination of the evidence,

news was presented in a context of socio-cultural prejudice right away,

dead
acts of group

perception
aftermath of the crimes,
calculated

fully realised person in her own right,

objectification
unique and irreplaceable,

expendable.
robbed of her life
reality,
dead or alive,

the important thing.
guilt or innocence

believes him

integrity

ongoing tragedy,
propaganda continues to be perpetrated,
distrusted
mortal danger

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~John F. Kennedy

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by rainbow-fairy on 24.02.13 14:57

@aquila wrote:
@rainbow-fairy wrote:Hmmmmm - so the McCann and Kercher cases were 'crime by stranger' were they? Where is this info from? Who are the strangers found guilty in both cases???
Its funny because I'm certain the McCann case was archived under something completely different.....

Truly appalling article!

In the Kercher and Pistorius cases there are murdered bodies. Bloody strange to include McCanns in this article. I did read it but couldn't see the point of including the McCanns other than to intimate middle class professionals can be misunderstood. What a truly odd piece of journalistic tripe.

Just my opinion.

Not just your opinion aquila, was pretty much my exact thoughts! Like writing an essay about horses then going off about wolves...
Imo another attempt to brainwash the general public that Maddie was abducted by a stranger, the poor McCanns were exonerated (one peek at the AS shows us they weren't!)
Very poor research.
If I were teacher my comment would be "See me after class please Ms Orr" laughat

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Miraflores on 24.02.13 15:25

Here you go, Russiandoll. Scroll down to the end of the article for the comments

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/22/pistorius-case-empty-vessel-prejudices
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by rainbow-fairy on 24.02.13 18:01

@PeterMac wrote:Yes, it was. Copying from this thread, for which many thanks and appropriate acknowledgements.
Nice one PeterMac. To the point as always. Love it! clapping

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Hobs on 24.02.13 18:53

With regard to the Meredith Kercher case, the prosecution appealed the snd courts verdict, something both sides said they would do if the verdict went against them.

It is possible that one or both could be found guilty in the supreme court or both not guilty and the verdict upheld.

Statement analysis tells us that Knox was present at the murder even if she didn't strike the killing blow and the motive was sexual homicide.

It could be that knox is found guilty and sollecito not or vice versa, both could be found not guility or both found guilty.

If guilty is reinstated then the sentencing options are they could be resentenced to the original terms 25 for sollecito and 26 for knox (the extra year was for lying to cops and implicating another) they could be sentenced to new terms between time served up to life which means they would have to return to prison (goos luck trying to extradite knox back) or they could be sentenced to time served and allowed to remain free,

Should the verdict stay as not guilty it is a blow for the parents of Meredith and a fine example of if you spend enough money you can get the best lawyers and the best PR. the only plus is that knox and sollectio served 4 years which is better than nothing and the stain will never leave their names regardless, it would be interesting to see if knox reimburses her parents and grandmother for the millions spent on her defence and PR from any book and film deals since they pretty much bankrupted themselves to save her. (i wonder if a contract was ever drawn up of if they paid out and hoped for the best in which case they are screwed if she doesn't pay them back and expect lawsuits)

Italian law is painfully slow and often the statute of limitations expires before the trial is even close as silvio berlussconi knows all too well and uses it to his advantage in regard to his shady deals.

I don't know when the verdict from the supreme court will be in, i also don't know if the Kercher family can sue knox and sollecito and guede, they are aware of the statement analysis conclusion as are the prosecuters, we can only wait and see and trust that justice is done
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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by plebgate on 24.02.13 23:00

IMO people should not be able to write books, make films or publish their stories in newspapers until they have been totally exonerated in a court of law.

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Re: Guardian newspaper Friday 22nd February 2013

Post by Miraflores on 25.02.13 9:52

I see your comment has been whooshed PeterMac, although mine has been allowed to stand (at the moment).
The Kercher and the Steenkamp cases each involve a dead body. Are you suggesting that the McCanns case does ? If so, Carter-Ruck may want to speak to you.
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