Thursday, 24 May 2007

Madeleine McCann: Hysterical Madness

I have been watching the Madeleine McCann soft-core child pornography TV show with a mix of horror and utter bemusement. I seem to be missing something, a young girl is abducted, which is a terrible thing and unfortunately happens to many hundreds of parents in the UK alone but the response and out pouring of puesdo-grief is not only nauseating but utterly out of proportion. It all smacks of that the last time the UK showed how emotionally stunted it is by slobbering over itself for a fortnight when Princess Diana died.

The tabloid led absurdity charge to first vilify the parents for failing to watch over their child (which failed and has now fell off the map) was followed by an almost lustful attempt to canonise the poor child in question and the parents. Madeleine’s family have responded gamely to the media frenzy and have played them a treat, via endless events, press meetings and interviews with ever distant relatives; seemingly thinking that all the fuss will bring their child back rather than seeing that the loss of their daughter is being used by the rest of the country as an emotional masturbatory aid.

Is it just me or is the volume of images they have released of their child a little bizarre? TV news has become a child beauty pageant as the photogenic little one glides across our screens; if you squint hard enough this could be a fashion show; or a commercial for some infant friendly product. One can’t help but wonder that if she was ugly or the parents not so willing to dance with the devil, this whole story would have been a non-starter…such are the times we live in.

The only sobering fact is the unreported one, that since Madeleine disappeared on the 3rd May, more than 450 children in the UK have done the same. I’m not seeing any hysterical news coverage or photomontages for them.


  1. Ahhh, but is there any actual evidence that she's been abducted? My personal theory is that she either wandered off on her own and is dead in a ditch somewhere or the parents did her in. Actually, there's something really creepy about her folks. I know that if it were my child I'd have two black holes for eyes and not the perma-grin that they seem to have adopted. I always remember how the mother and father of Sarah Payne looked after she was taken and murdered. They looked destroyed. These people don't.

    And yes, it is a media circus. When I used to be a somebody in the media (I was editor of a ITV London/Central and GMTV's teletext for five years in the late 1990s), I used to collate and write the weekly "Missing File" pages. In this, a parade of missing people would be put forward by the National Missing Persons charity. The amount of people who go missing each year is truly staggering and come from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds and all social groups. However, no-one is interested if a 45-year-old white family man uncharacteristically disappears off the face of the planet, neither is the media interested if a black teenage with family problems suddenly vanishes from the streets of London. However, if the missing person is blond, blue-eyed and almost beautific, they can spray the picture across the front pages and sell copy. The media is a cynical beast, fed by the panderings of an equally cynical nation.

    But then I am suffering from general media fatigue. I don't give a toss about the war in Iraq, nor the Islamic fanatics who want to cut my head off, nor the current crisis in our waste disposal methods with our reduced "once a fortnight collections", nor global warming, or making poverty history, or anything else, really. The problem with the media and those who use it is that it is all so fucking cynical, to the point of almost being transparent. Just try making it through the ITV News or BBC News...I mean, the top story the other day was vegetarians moaning about Mars Bars...

  2. It's like the Ramsey case in the USA. Really disgusting that scenario is repeated on TV.

  3. Darren: great comment mate, spot on, intelligent, accurate and forthright stuff.

    RE: indeed it is, it's p0rn.

  4. My first reaction when I heard of her abduction (on World CNN, while I was on the road) was "Why was she alone in a rented apt. in a foreign country while her parents were out to dinner?" We just recently started letting our 12 yr old daughter stay HOME alone for short periods of time. What if there had been a fire?

    I agree with Darren, they should be looking at the parents very closely...

  5. “The only sobering fact is the unreported one, that since Madeleine disappeared on the 3rd May, more than 450 children in the UK, more than 450 children in the UK have done the same. “

    I find it very hard to believe that 450 children in the UK have totally up and disappeared in less then a months time, at least the way you seem to be implying it. Meaning that you seem to imply that the 450 missing children are the result of abductions carried out by strangers when a number of them could be non-custodial parent abductions or runaways.

    I don’t know the official statistics for the UK but in a county as big as the U.S. the number of children that are annually abducted by strangers (stereotypical kidnappings) hovers around 100 or slightly more according to both NISMART “Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics” and the FBI statistics. The thousands of other missing children seem to be either cases of abductions by a non-custodial parent or they are runaways. One must not overlook the fact that in the US anyone under 18 years old is considered to legally be a child. If a 17 year old minor runs away from home and can’t be quickly located they are added to the missing child list. What all of this means is that if the intricacies of the statistics are not properly understood it can lead well intentioned people to some very misleading and erroneous assumptions.


  6. Holy shit! They have an "online store"???

    And a phone number to the online store posted on the front page??

    A STORE!?!?!?


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