Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sick, tired and angry

I've been watching the talking heads tonight, and as usual, it's getting me angry. I am completely sick of court cases manipulating the media before a trial, and I'm sick of our culture that completely buys into it and encourages it. On at least three different news talk programs tonight, the latest details of the infamous rape case in Durham, North Carolina have been the main subject. It's hot news that as a minor, the woman involved brought charges against three men for rape that were later dropped.

I don't know if the woman was raped or not. I don't know if she's bringing false charges against people or not. Other than the particular people involved, no one else does either, and discussing whether or not the woman is a liar or a victim isn't news. It's nothing more than trashy sensationalism worthy of less respect than check out stand tabloids. Whether it's done with sympathy for the complainant or the accused doesn't matter. I'm mad that this is treated as serious news and madder still that we, as a society, make this type of media product a marketable commodity.

Though that subject alone has made my blood pressure rise quite a bit, the discussion over the case has made it even worse. I'm sick that people think that because a woman says she's been raped before means that she was lying. The way that this woman has been discussed in the media, what happened in the Heidl rape case in California, the overall demonization of rape victims in the courts can strongly discourage any woman from pressing charges. It turns my stomach that the possibility of someone thinking, "I will not let this happen again. I will stand up for myself this time," should be proof that a person is a liar. I'm sick that people still think that if a woman isn't a model of prudish propriety that she's somehow getting what she deserved when rape is involved. I think it's stupid to drink to the point where you're impaired to the point of falling down, but stupidity doesn't mean that a woman deserves being raped. A stripper can be raped. A prostitute can be raped. A woman who'll bed almost anybody on her own terms can be raped. Having an admirable lifestyle isn't a prerequisite to be a legitimate crime victim. Neither is having perfect mental health. Suffering from a mental illness doesn't automatically make one a liar or incapable of perceiving reality.

I am sick of people wondering if there is a culture of violence and entitlement in sports. It's not just sports. It's America. I know that crime statistics can be manipulated, but we're a violent nation. It's not athletic competition or the idolization of the athletically gifted that has created the problem. It's just a wonderful showcase to exhibit this uglier side of our culture. We're also an affluent nation, and that changes people's perspectives. The more a person has, the more wants can come to be seen as needs and luxuries as necessities. Just because someone is affluent though doesn't mean that they're a bad person without morals. Being an athlete doesn't mean that one is a violent thug with no self-restraint.

I'm tired of the assumptions everyone is making about this case and every other flashy court case that hits TV. The people who are acting as if everything has been proven one way or another have basically decided that our courts are no longer necessary. All the TV talk has done is make it easy to hate one party or the other. It's polarizing, not clarifying. If the men did rape her, I hope they get what they deserve. If she is leveling false accusations, I hope she gets what she deserves. Until this is worked out in court, and the information is deemed factual or not, it's all hot air.

Work this out in the court room, not my living room. If you're going to call a TV show a news show, give me news, not gossip. It's more than I can hope for, I know. My television does have an off switch, and I do remember how to use it. I think I need to do so more often.


Blogger Kelly said...

oh THANK YOU! You have hit the nail right on the head girl! I don't know when we became a society that is happy to live in ignorance. It honestly scares me what the media has turned into. And the number of people who "believe everything they see"? I'm ready to move to a deserted island!

April 28, 2006 6:52 AM  
Blogger The Exodus Diet and Fitness Blog said...

I really don't think stuff like this should be on national news. It is more like Tabloid News to me. It seems to tear more at the victims. You know that; Is the head dead yet thing?

Just popping in to say a quick hello. I will return to my Body, Mind, & Spirit blog this Fall. For now you can find me here:

and here


April 28, 2006 6:58 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

I simply cannot bear to watch anything about this case on the news, so this is new to me -- she dropped the charges? No matter what, a number of lives have been ruined for at least the foreseeable future, and all the media coverage does is whip people into a frenzy of feeling that at least other people have messed up their lives even worse than the rest of us have. It all panders to the absolute worst in all of us.

I had managed to put the Mary Winkler case out of my mind, but last night I did a little blog searching on that. I cannot believe how many amateur (and in at least one case, claimed professional) psychologists are out there pompously commenting on her possible motives. I wonder, too -- but for heaven's sake, none of have even laid eyes on that woman.

April 28, 2006 7:10 AM  
Blogger Virginia said...

I have little respect for the press anymore. Unfortunately, I think the press is playing to audience expectations. I think people like you, that demand a higher standard, are the minority.

Mostly I just listen to NPR, and get news from the internet, where I have the freedom to not click on the link of an article that seems stupid to me.

The press won't improve until the majority of Americans demand it.

Peace, Virginia

April 29, 2006 7:09 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

Take a bow!!!
I am standing nad clapping!
Great entry!

April 29, 2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Though I have not been following this case (it isn't all over the news out here...) I couldn't agree more with your assessment of our illustrious media... :-[

May 01, 2006 11:50 PM  

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