A doctor in America has been charged with molesting 103 children. In Delaware. (Answering once and for all what people actually DO in Delaware - someone tell Wayne). He doesn’t look very classic pedophile. Yes, he has a dejected, pudgy look to him, and a ratty beard. But his glasses are all wrong. It’s the glasses that sell me on a pedophile. I want square, slightly tinted twin-screen lenses, with lots of eye-goop stuck in those little pads that keep them sitting on your nose. There’s none of that here. In fact, there’s not a lot of anything. There’s a shocking lack of information. It seems too early, even, to ask the question: How the fuck does this happen?
This is one of those rare times that I wish I had a TV with FOX network running 24 hours a day on it. I just want the hysteria, the fear, the blame and asininity of it. I want to lap it up. I want to bathe in the depths of humanity’s shock at it’s own crapness. It would feel good. And slowly, ever so slowly, I would glean a few bare facts about the mechanics of this man’s behaviour. Because we currently know almost nothing about this one-man pedophile ring.
He was a doctor, we know this. His practice was called, in an instance of BTF (better than fiction) hideousness ‘Baybees’. And he raped a lot of children. I’m talking a LOT of kids. By New Zealand educational standards, it’s at least 3 kindergartens worth. I know that’s a tasteless measure, but I always look for these metrics when confronted with things that baffle and horrify me. I have a 9 month old daughter, but my sense of murderous outrage does nothing to actually bring comprehension any closer.
And certainly, the media has done nothing to enlighten me. In that sense, this is a perfect template for the brand of reflection endemic to the mainstream media’s handling of crimes of international ‘relevance’. That was a long sentence, but what I mean is that over the last 50 years, it’s widely acknowledged that the mass media has gone from prescriptive (i.e. telling people how they should behave), to descriptive (i.e telling people how they are behaving). We seemed to have dropped a notch lower recently. We may actually have abandoned analysis altogether.
If a country gets the media it deserves, then Delaware’s response is revealing, I think, as the line between media and the people they report grows anorexically thin. The city has, in the spirit of protecting the sensitive souls of local people, removed all public reference’s to ‘Baybees’ or the doctor concerned. Yeah, in order to make sure this never happens again, Delaware is in the process of erasing all references to it. This is pure genius, and as a cultural strategy mimics invertedly the media’s saturation of an issue with so many opinions, articles, angles, theories, sound bites and mal-thunk that the thing vanishes beneath the heaving surface of its ‘analysis’.
Erasure is erasure, whether by cull or overdose. The media blithers in the absence of any information, the good people of Delaware try and remove what remains.