The hero.

If I hadn’t been sick this weekend, I’d have finished the wallpaper stripping. Instead, Alan did, proof that marrying him was the right call. When Alan works on a home-improvement project, he likes music on, loud. From my sickbed, I monitored the progress:

Radio, WDET’s usual eclectic weekend mix. He’s singing along with a song or two. Good.

He switches to CDs. “Every Picture Tells a Story,” really loud. He’s getting bored.

The sounds of wall-scraping becomes louder, an occasional expletive finds its way up the stairs. The music switches to Miles Davis, “Bitches Brew.” Hmm. Hard to say what this means; I prefer insipid pop music when I’m working.

Long pause, then P.J. Harvey, “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea,” really, really loud. Uh-oh. I thought I’d best go downstairs.

He was rubbing the wall furiously with a pot scrubber.

“This goddamn paper was put on with something like” (rub rub rub) “rubber cement or something” (rub rub rub) “it’s like it doesn’t even dissolve, it just balls up and sits there until you scrape it off.” (rub rub rub curse rub)

Now it’s all down, and the spackling begins. At least all that rubbing purged the original idea for a color — yellow. Now we’re thinking sort of a cool violet, something to capture the violence of the room’s recovery from the land of bad wallpaper.

I like “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea,” but for rolling the windows down and blasting in the car when you’re all alone, you can’t beat “To Bring You My Love.” Just sayin’.

Sometimes last year I thought I was the only person in the country who didn’t give a fat rat’s gluteus about Scott Peterson, Laci Peterson and even the unborn Peterson baby. In the annals of homicide, the so-called domestic can be either fascinating or banal, and the Peterson affair was definitely the latter. A man kills his pregnant wife? Jeez, that only happens every week somewhere in this country; we had a case in Fort Wayne where a man stabbed his newly delivered girlfriend in the chest while she was breastfeeding their baby, killing her and sparing the infant. For a domestic, that was positively cinematic compared to the Peterson case, which, face it, had one thing going for it: Good-looking white people close enough to a major media market in a pleasant state. Otherwise, I simply refused to pay attention. For a thousand reasons.

So I was glad to read this in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, by Douglas MacKinnon, pleading with the media to admit the inherent racism in the circuses over Lacey, Elizabeth, Jennifer, etc., and the comparative lack of coverage of any number of non-white female disappearances:

Define racism. One could certainly make the argument that the cable networks that continually focus on these missing white women, to the virtual exclusion of minority women, are practicing a form of racism. The racism in this case, however, while predicated on color, does not concern itself with the color of one’s skin. Rather, it is based on the color of money, ratings points and competition. Would an African-American woman who went missing days before her wedding receive the same (or any) coverage as that of Wilbanks? Not likely.

Duh. Obvious, but worth reading, anyway.

Posted at 9:49 pm in Uncategorized |

7 responses to “The hero.”

  1. mary said on May 10, 2005 at 2:13 am

    I’m with you. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women, if not the leading cause. I don’t see any coverage of that scary fact, but I had enough of Laci and Scott to last a lifetime. As for the runaway bride…jeez. She was attractive and white and they were well off so it had to be a crime, no? Bill O’Reilly said as much.

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  2. mc said on May 10, 2005 at 9:11 am

    As for the PJ Harvey, my husband immediately knows there’s trouble whenever he hears Exile in Guyville blasting.

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  3. James Kabala said on May 10, 2005 at 5:32 pm

    I think racism is one of just several factors, though. Not every white woman who gets murdered or disappears becomes a national celebrity. That is even more true of children. I know of kidnappings or murders of white children near my home that were big local stories, but never got the national play that Elizabeth Smart or Jessica Lunsford did. A black woman or girl is, sadly, not very likely to become a national story, but a white woman or girl won’t become a national story on race alone.

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  4. Nance said on May 10, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    No, whiteness alone won’t cut it. It helps if she’s pretty, and if there are lots of photos of her that others are willing to share. Video’s even better. Proximity to a major media market is key, also — no network’s going to shlep its resources to Fargo if it can find a damsel in distress in Washington.

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  5. mary said on May 10, 2005 at 6:58 pm

    I think pretty overcomes distance. Dru Sjodin got kidnapped in North Dakota and made the national news. I think it’s white, middle class or better, and photogenic that count. I don’t know if you ever dip a toe into the discussion forums of the various ISPs, but a peek into the Compuserve Crime forum will give you a good view of the consumers of these stories. They live for the next pretty white girl’s tragedy in that place.

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  6. James Kabala said on May 11, 2005 at 8:12 pm

    Was Willbanks photogenic? The anchors I saw tended to make fun of her bulging eyes.

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  7. harry near indy said on May 12, 2005 at 5:36 am

    iirc, one blogger said that cnn made a big deal out of the runaway bride story because the story was from a suburb of atlanta, and it would be easier to schlub out to there instead of, say, bismark or fargo or any place in north dakota.

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