First, what Alexander Wolcott said:
It can’t be said that the know-nothing know-it-alls on Fox News and Nancy Grace’s Sweeney Todd cooking school accepted the jury’s verdict with modesty and maturity. After expressing shock and taking turns to tell us how “stunned” they were, they accused the jury of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (staring at Casey Anthony’s face somehow melting their reason and resolve), appearing to resent that fact that the defendant might be freed soon (since she might be granted time-served on the lesser charges, having already served years behind bars), and acting peevish that they didn’t get their way, having already convicted Casey Anthony on the airwaves for years now and treating the trial as an audiovisual demonstration of what to them was self-evident.
What little I saw of the coverage was disgusting and sob-sister, this endless fetishizing of “little Caylee,” as if these well-dressed, high-paid lawyers and media mouths had adopted her as their own little angel, and minutes after the verdict came down there was Judge Jeanine Pirro wailing, Where is the justice for this little girl? (“Justice for Caylee” was the sidebar subhead on Grace’s Headline News coverage, as if it were a personal crusade.)
Look, I don’t know if Casey Anthony is guilty or not, but neither does Nancy Grace or any of the performing seals brought in as expert commentators to bark and clap their fins, and maybe if they acknowledged they lack of godly omniscience they might be a little less “shocked” and “stunned” the nextWhat makes a drug free person more reliable than a drug user? Which drugs count? time around.
Barring exorcism, I don’t expect Nancy Grace to change, she being the only person whose nose seems tilted into a permanent sneer.
I happened to be at the corner bar with Mrs. Dr. Omed having a burger-and-a-beer when the news flashed onto the barroom’s big screen tvs: CASEY ANTHONY ACQUITTED! I had not the least interest in Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence, but the spectacle that has subsumed–devoured–the actual events of this long, drawn out tragedy suddenly piqued my manic ire.
I checked my Blackberry. On Facebook, one of my nieces had opined on the injustice of the verdict and asked whether the jurors had been drug tested. I did not resist the urge I felt to dive headfirst into her comment thread. I asked, “What makes a drug free person more reliable than a drug user? Which drugs count? Does shooting up a little free self righteous indignation count?”
Her reply indicated that she did not recognize self righteousness as a drug, and that she did not see that she was working a jones. I explicated. This is a slight expansion of my reply:
Certain drugs mimic the brain chemistry of emotions and moods, cuing feelings we find pleasurable, or which give us a feeling of well being. Certain stimuli provided by mass media provide cues just as powerful as any mood-altering drug. The business of providing these stimuli is called pornography, whether the flavor is sex, food, politics, the mania of status and ownership, or self righteous dudgeon at the expense of others. This sideshow is a cheap substitute for real feelings and real thoughts based on real people’s real experience.
I did not know who Nancy Grace was, before this evening, but I know the type. Nancy Grace is both junkie and dealer in a particularly pernicious form of dudgeon. Those who cannot admit their jones for the cheap thrill, to the pleasure they derive from this televised tragedy, become part of the pornographic farce. Since we are ruled by this farce, a colossal farce more totalitarian and more effective than any police state, to participate wittingly or unwittingly in it is not only to accept submission but to promote the submission of all to this Empire of Jones. Addiction is a form of learning, but we rarely think about what we learn by it. The institutions of salivation imposed by the rule of farce teach us to salute whatever delicious flag is run up the pole.
The next time hydra-headed flat screen pavlov rings your bell, think about it.
And how dare President Obama interrupt the coverage of the Casey Anthony verdict with an unscheduled statement.