Sunday, July 10, 2005

The BJ gets DiD disease

Much much much has been made lately of the media's fixation on Damsels in Distress, especially white Damsels. The modal story is one of a missing white woman; vanished teen reveler Natalie Halloway and faux abductee Jennifer Wilbanks being the two most recent editions. Professional media critics and bloggers alike have been taking the press -- most especially the cable news outlets -- to task for their collective cant into tabloid territory. The criticism has had little effect, primarily because these stories apparently make for salable product.

The Beacon Journal, apparently unable or unwilling to wait for a missing white* woman of its own, has devised its own entry into the subgenre: The Damsel Formerly in Distress Who Must Now Cope with the Trauma. The lead story in the Sunday Beacon is Becky's Story, the first in a multipart recounting of a particularly nasty case of domestic violence last July. Yes, we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of this sad story with a serial retelling. Can't we just sell the movie rights to Lifetime and be done with it?

I am trying to convey how bad this is without rehashing any of the sorry details. The Free Times thinks this is tawdry. You can't read it without that eerie Vincent Price soundalike narrator from A&E's City Confidential subvocalizing the words.

Sometimes the BJ will pull out the stops on a story to illuminate some overarching theme. Not this time. This is a human interest story for the kind of humans who linger around accident scenes. If the True Crime section of Borders is too highbrow for you, check it out.

*Curiously, the Beacon Journal does have a Missing Woman to cover but has been burying the stories. Sejal Patel was found dead in her car last weekend. The story about the positive identification of her remains was relegated to B5 of the Saturday Local Section. Granted the story has been percolating for a while now, but a significant development buried in Local? I hate being Racial Sensitivity Guy, but that just looks bad.

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