Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jon Benet and Pedophilia Voyeurism

Let Jon Benet Ramsey Die: If John Mark Karr is guilty of killing JonBenet Ramsey, the rest of us might finally be free of JonBenet voyeurism. The endless stream of Jon Benet pictures in the tabloids and talk shows have kept viewers reliving the death of the child beauty queen. Whichever picture was being used, the nation was always presented with the same two-sided coin--JonBenet's beauty and JonBenet's death. She was always "just about to die" but never allowed actually to die. It was like the trash media was committed to maintaining a creepy form of cryogenics--keeping JonBenet's perfect little face frozen so that her death would always be with us. We should just let the kids go.

Republicans Look Tired: Susan Estrich has a decent piece on the Fox web site about the desperation of Republican candidates for Congress. The Democrats are far from a shoe-in, but the Republicans are looking weak and unfocused themselves. House Speaker Dennis Hastert looked terrible in a picture from a Colorado fund-raiser--face bloated from food and booze, lethargic-looking, stomach hanging mountainously over his belt. His words didn't inspire either.

"We have to find someone that isn't weak and someone who will come to Congress and doesn't cave in and say wave the white flag . . ."

Not exactly Gipper material there.

The Voyeurism Angle: According to John Aloysius Farrel of the Denver Post, the Republican strategy adds up to "bunkering down in their gerrymannered districts, whipping up the party faithful and taunting the Democrats as craven sissies . . . "

But if Bill O'Reilly has anything to do with it, the Republicans will also become the party of pedophilia. For months, O'Reilly has been campaigning to get a "Jessica's Law" (for Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was kidnapped and killed by a convicted child sex offender) passed in all fifty states and coming down hard on judges who are lenient on sex offenders.

This is self-interest as well as politics for O'Reilly. He's identifying an issue that's sensational enough to be a sure ratings winner for his show as well as hoping that Republicans will adopt it as "their issue."

But the O'Reilly crusade against pedophilia does not look like a winner. There's only so much "feel good" politics that can be taken out of the issue. Sure, it's good to "do something" about pedophilia. But, by talking about sex predators, pedophiliacs, and the sexual murder of little girls so relentlessly, O' Reilly keeps his own audience in the same kind of killing moment that the tabloids maintain when they obsess about JonBenet Ramsey. Most people don't feel comfortable with that kind of voyeurism because they're not pedophiliacs themselves.

Maybe O'Reilly could have helped the Republicans by doing more segments on JonBenet Ramsey.

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