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Fuck Natalee Holloway
July 5, 2005 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Fuck Natalee Holloway
posted by aerify (125 comments total)

 
I must admit, I wasn't all that concerned with Natalee when the story first broke, other than I had a 16 year old sister in law in Rome at the time. After she returned, I lost what little interest I had after that.

Another white woman in trouble...
posted by Samizdata at 11:01 PM on July 5, 2005


Fuck Natalee Holloway*

*unless you enjoy the new cheap rates for vacations to Aruba
posted by Mach5 at 11:11 PM on July 5, 2005


I have to admit this is the first I’ve heard of her. I guess I have just stopped paying any attention to media.
posted by arse_hat at 11:11 PM on July 5, 2005


hear, hear
posted by Elpoca at 11:16 PM on July 5, 2005


I'd like some news with my report, please.Frontline is really the only news show left in this county.
posted by 517 at 11:23 PM on July 5, 2005


This passage from Thoreau's 'Walden' (1855) is appropriate for today if you replace "newspaper" with "local television news"....

"And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, -- we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?"
posted by neuron at 11:24 PM on July 5, 2005


Geez. I didn't realize how "out of it" I was. I hadn't even heard of Natalee Holloway. I need to watch more TV, I guess. Or not. I agree with the rant, however.
posted by spock at 11:27 PM on July 5, 2005


I'd never heard of her either but I knew about all the other stuff he listed. I guess I don't watch enough Fox News.
posted by fshgrl at 11:28 PM on July 5, 2005


Preach Brother and/or Sister, Preach!
posted by crataegus at 11:30 PM on July 5, 2005


Wow, so this is why people have been asking me random questions about Aruba lately.

When will these white girls learn to not leave the house, because every bad man on earth wants to hurt them?
posted by Space Coyote at 11:41 PM on July 5, 2005


Perhaps Fox News is giving the Natalee Holloway more coverage so that they don't have to talk about how badly the war is going. Maybe it's a sinister plot!
posted by meh at 11:57 PM on July 5, 2005


I agree that the media's latest young-woman-in-peril story is exploitive. These days I can't turn on a 24-hour news channel without being driven away by brain-exploding, wall-to-wall tabloid treatment of the news.

But why is this piece titled "fuck Natalee Holloway" instead of "fuck the broadcast media"? If the author agrees that the story is tragic and Holloway's family has "doubtless been going through hell," focusing your wrath on her is exploitive and cruel.
posted by rcade at 12:01 AM on July 6, 2005


P.s. The Kuro5hin story's currently the third result for Natalee Holloway on Google.
posted by rcade at 12:03 AM on July 6, 2005


Kuro5hin has lost the Game
posted by TimothyMason at 12:19 AM on July 6, 2005


It's so bizzare, really. She's an American, but she didn't die in America.

Iraq is also not America, and 92 Americans died there since may 30th. 11 in the last two days of may, actualy.

Can anyone name a single one of them, without looking them up I mean.

I would so love to spring that question on Bill O'Moran while he's spouting of about Natalee
posted by delmoi at 12:20 AM on July 6, 2005


Also. Every time I see the word "Dutch" i imagine eating Dutch Chocolate icecream high on marijuana.

That would be fucking sweet.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 AM on July 6, 2005


An innocent blond girl, tipsy and looking for foreign romance, is snatched by swarthy islanders. It's bodice-ripper stuff minus the happy ending.

Television news is lurid entertainment for people who are entertained ("gripped," etc.) by nasty sideshows. People who want to understand what is going on start by turning off the television and reading a good newspaper.
posted by pracowity at 12:30 AM on July 6, 2005


WHITE GIRL IN TROUBLE

If you want to be informed, you will not watch television news.
posted by raaka at 12:41 AM on July 6, 2005


I'd never heard of her, but the author might appreciate this.

And rcade is right, the rant is mistitled. Ain't her fault.
posted by sellout at 12:46 AM on July 6, 2005


I'd never heard of her either but I knew about all the other stuff he listed. I guess I don't watch enough Fox News.

Or cnn, or cbs, abc, nbc, msnbc, the new york times, etc. etc.
posted by justgary at 12:49 AM on July 6, 2005


I just went poking around on the New York Post web site, looking for yesterdays cover article. It was pretty much unintentional satire of this whole obsession. It was a darling white baby girl!

The funny part is that the New York Post charges for archived articles.. that's just too much. You'd have to pay me to read it, really, it hurts.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 1:01 AM on July 6, 2005


Do you think people from major media outlets just wanted to be able to go to Aruba and call it work?
posted by srboisvert at 1:39 AM on July 6, 2005


Aruba? Isn't that where Andy Kaufman is hiding?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:41 AM on July 6, 2005


Yeah because the world should stop because some blond haired pretty young girl is missing. And who cares if there are 100's or even 1000's of other people out there that are missing. We HAVE to protect the pretty young blonds who's pictures look nice on tv.
posted by whirlwind29 at 1:49 AM on July 6, 2005


whirlwind29 : "Yeah because the world should stop because some blond haired pretty young girl is missing."

Nope. Just America. The world keeps spinning for the rest of us.

(Never heard of Natalee Holloway until this thread)
posted by Bugbread at 2:16 AM on July 6, 2005


An unfortunate title for a very well-written op-ed.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:36 AM on July 6, 2005


Who's paying for the search effort?
posted by mhh5 at 2:45 AM on July 6, 2005


Supposedly (because the only info I know about this case is from my girlfriend), there has been no coverage of the way the young men who are accused have been treated. They have been held for questioning; 11 hours a day, without an attorney and without having been charged. Oh wait, recently it was revealed they were charged all along, they just conveniently forgot to tell anybody. My girlfriend's parents live in Aruba (they emigrated after retiring) and know the boy's family. Both parents have lost their jobs, including the boy's father, who is a judge. He's also been arrested for "questioning" because he told his son what his legal rights were under Aruban law.

My girlfriend is furious about this case, let me tell you. Don't mention it in front of her, or you'll get a 1/2 hr long dissertation. But the long and the short of it is, this girl showed up on the island flashing around all kinds of money (possibly attracting attention from some unsavory Columbians). Very stupid. None of her "friends" nor the chaperone did anything to stop her wandering off with strange men (maybe they were glad to see her go?).

Or, to quote the dude: "She kidnapped herself, man!" So beware strange white women bearing gifts, or you may be played a patsy. But who knows what really happened?

If only we could get Paris Hilton to take such a vacation... the resulting media frenzy would be appalling, but after it calmed down... well, they'd just have to find someone else to make into a celebrity.
posted by Eideteker at 3:33 AM on July 6, 2005


The story's been so successful that CNN is merging with MSNBC and CNBC. "The new network, to be called Where the White Women At or WWWA, is set to debut this week."
posted by Zonker at 3:46 AM on July 6, 2005


A better title for the FPP might be Fuck CNN; Fuck Fox news; Fuck Nancy Grace. Although the case seems to have been atrociously handled by the island authorities. It just confirms to us nonusaians that the major networks in the USA are tabloid both in content and delivery. Sensationalism preferably with a blond female alive or preferably dead. Meanwhile......over in Iraq or Gleneagles
just soldiers doing their jobs and politicians blowing their noses. What fine, fine news services you have America - in depth discussions and background information with informed debate. Just so the majority are kept up to date with what is really hapening in the world.
Fucking wonderful.NOT.
posted by adamvasco at 3:51 AM on July 6, 2005


Yes. What I find even worse is that the Netherlands has agreed to send two (TWO!) F16s with IR equipment to help in the search. Why? Because Aruba aksed us to help clear their image and get American tourists back.

So basically, the American 'journalists' cost the Netherlands and Aruba a lot of money. Because some white girl got murdered.
posted by Harry at 3:57 AM on July 6, 2005


What I find even worse is that the Netherlands has agreed to send two (TWO!) F16s with IR equipment to help in the search. Why? Because Aruba aksed us to help clear their image and get American tourists back.

Huh? Worse than what? And why wouldn't they do whatever they could to get tourists back? Aruba needs tourists. It's the number one pillar of their economy, much weakened since 9/11. Isn't the whole point of this post and thread that hard headed reality has given way to sentiment?
posted by IndigoJones at 4:26 AM on July 6, 2005


I'm with bugbread...
posted by runkelfinker at 4:30 AM on July 6, 2005


Perhaps Fox News is giving the Natalee Holloway more coverage so that they don't have to talk about how badly the war is going. Maybe it's a sinister plot!

Ka-ching. Right on Meh. Or Plamegate, or global warming, or anything else that might puncture the bubble. I too think the title of the blog article and the FPP is at best unfortunate and goes over the top, but it did make many of us stop to read and think. If only missing people could be found on google.

We live in bizarre times.
posted by realcountrymusic at 4:41 AM on July 6, 2005


We've seen this so many times before. We need a silly monkey on the teevee from time to time to assure that the real bad news goes away. While I think the op-ed was a bit sophmoric, it's spot on about the sheer numbers of missing children, let alone non-white kids. Yet we always hear about the upper-middle-class thousand dollar smile caucasian children. Why? Because they could've been somebody, damnit, while our prejudical thinking automatically excludes the Afro-American kids abducted from the projects. The mass news media ain't for all Americans yet, it still panders to the entrenched money... who, for the sake of remembering they're alive and fortunate, need to be shown crying mirror images of themselves in trouble. How sad and pathetic.
/me retreats back to soggy organic cereal flakes.
posted by moonbird at 5:15 AM on July 6, 2005


Everyone has always lived in bizarre times. Go read a newspaper from 1933 for example. Any random Sunday paper will do. The media will always cover stories that raise the fear level of their viewers. It sells soap.

I don't really understand all the metahate about this story though. Of course the reporters follow the story. They know all the scared mothers and fathers will watch every second. It'll be used by those parents to force 18 year-old rich girls to cancel their spring break plans. Or, at least, hire bodyguards.

And here is the key people. The media isn't focused on Natalie because she's white -- it's because she matches the children of their prime demographic. The media speaks to them. The rest of us are just along for the ride.

Look at Missing Children International. They have plenty of photogenic white girls listed.

But how many are children of upper-middle class and rich parents?

Forget the race and follow the money.

on preview: well said moonbird
posted by ?! at 5:22 AM on July 6, 2005


But why is this piece titled "fuck Natalee Holloway" instead of "fuck the broadcast media"? If the author agrees that the story is tragic and Holloway's family has "doubtless been going through hell," focusing your wrath on her is exploitive and cruel.

Amen. The piece should be called Fuck Fox News.

Also see whitewomeninperil.com.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:37 AM on July 6, 2005


Here's the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, and the reason I am writing this treatise: CNN is now reporting that Holland is sending three F-16 warplanes to assist in the search for Natalee.

Jesus. This is getting way out of hand.

As for the title: come on, people, if it were called "Fuck the broadcast media" nobody would link to it or read it. I think his opening explanation is fair and honorable and way more than most bloggers would provide:
I agree that this story is tragic. Natalee's family and friends have doubtless been going through hell during this past month. I do hope that she can be recovered safe and sound, though that possibility seems very remote at this point. If I were the King of the World, I would snap my fingers and instantly transport every missing person back to the safety of their families.
So try to keep a sense of perspective. "Fuck Natalee Holloway" means "Fuck [the ongoing] Natalee Holloway [story]," which we can all agree with.
posted by languagehat at 5:37 AM on July 6, 2005


Forget the race and follow the money.

funny that. the money led right back to race. race is "the demographic."

if not gender. the fox message here is "women, be afraid, you can't take care of yourselves."

amen to the kuro5hin article, title and all.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:38 AM on July 6, 2005


Perfect title. It's a form of synechdoche isn't it? Maybe there's a better rhetorical term here, but it's of the same ilk: "part for the whole." So it expresses quite well "Fuck [all the coverage about] Natalie Holloway" -- and it says it in a way that gets you read it. I sure would not read a piece that read Fuck Fox News or even CNN. I would assume I knew what it said . . . something about biased coverage.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 5:38 AM on July 6, 2005


Wait, you mean we're not going to have an argument about whether it's okay to write "fuck" on the front page?

I'm outraged at the lack of outrage.
posted by odinsdream at 5:41 AM on July 6, 2005


I want to know what this girls' parents yearly income is. 'flashing money all around the island'. She deserved to get capped. . . Fuck her rich white ass.
Fuck the news media for shoving rich white girls issues down our throats. Fuck it when there are far, far more important things going on out there than shark attacks and missing rich white girls. . . (there, is that enough outrage?)
posted by mk1gti at 5:49 AM on July 6, 2005


Natalee Holloway ran off with Osama bin Laden and the two are honeymooning in Aruba. Find Natalee and you'll find Osama.
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:57 AM on July 6, 2005


How many people who clicked thought this was about white slavery?
posted by Rubbstone at 6:20 AM on July 6, 2005


Agree that the fixation on this story -- and others like it -- reflects horribly on the broadcast media, and on the consumers of said media (and because I have no evidence to the contrary, I'll believe you non-USians who say this type of thing only happens in America).

Disagree that this is some plot to distract attention from the "real issues." If there's a plot afoot, it's a plot to get the highest ratings.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:21 AM on July 6, 2005


Media outlets in America love a good "Timmy is trapped in the well" story. They're easy to frame and can elicit an emotional response from a huge portion of their viewers. And there's the potential that the story will drag on and keep drawing viewers back.

It's a lot easier than explaining what a current bill before the Senate entails to people that don't want to invest much effort into current events. So many of the most covered media stories of the past decade are just well dressed trivia pieces with the lowest common denominator in mind. It's not a media plot to divert attention - they give the people what they want. And if the people don't know what they want, they'll get whatever's least likely to offend them or turn them away.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:25 AM on July 6, 2005


Somehow I don't remember this kind of outrage about the saturation coverage of the Karla Homolka case, or the Andrea Yates case, or the various instances of pretty white teachers sleeping with their male students, or, if you live in Chicago, the photogenic white daughters of the Minnesota attorney general causing a scene at a nightclub. It's okay if the media goes overboard covering white women who have committed a crime or screwed up. The only time we complain about the news media using pictures of pretty white women to boost their ratings is if these women have been victims of a violent crime.

And I also don't remember any of the astute media critics at Kuroshin arguing that we should "fuck" the boy scout who disappeared recently, or the little boy who's missing right now that the news media are devoting disproportionate attention to.

But I'm sure it's just an oversight.
posted by transona5 at 6:39 AM on July 6, 2005


Many tragic figures in this thread.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 6:46 AM on July 6, 2005


If you want to be informed, you will not watch television news.

Frontline is really the only news show left in this country.

If Frontline were 24/7 it could get more viewers. The common thought is that "if it bleeds, it leads," but there are a lot of other news programs, primarily on public television. Of course they hare hurt and helped by the fact that they don't have advertising... they can't promote themselves, yet they don't have to serve advertisers). If I had the money, I'd love to take the risk to put a more serious/news-full network on the air. My bet is that the advertisers would be fearful at first that noone would be interested in the real news of the day, but when viewers realize that there's a lot more going on in the world than just the sensational story or the carefully crafted image from Washington, that viewers would come in droves. Then the advertisers would come gladly.

On preview, Slack-a-gogo makes some good points, but I'll still contend that journalists should take on the challenge and the time to explain the billin the senate - they've got 24 hours a day, it is not like there isn't time, especially if you cut out the pundits and other bullshit aired every day.

It is amusing that as I'm writing this "The Search for Natalee" is on MSNBC.
posted by clgregor at 6:59 AM on July 6, 2005


What a tragedy. Clearly, the answer is to ratify the Flag Burning Amendment.
posted by mkultra at 6:59 AM on July 6, 2005


You know, I was trying just the other day to discuss this issue with some members of my family. Natalee Holloway, archetype of the white girl in distress, lost in a foreign country, possibly dead; Natalee Holloway, victim of her passions, product of a rebellious youth culture, etc., etc. The whole thing plays out like a horrible morality play penned by John Ashcroft, produced for the national stage by Jerry Falwell.

Think about the elements. Young white girl, fresh-faced and innocent, goes to the island (with the darkies, mind you) to join in an adolescent bacanal. She drinks, she (possibly) takes some drugs, she kisses lots of boys and maybe a few girls. Then, she's dead. Suddenly. It's like "Reefer Madness" meets "Wild Things," a shot across the bow for the Moral Majority and probably the most effective use of the media to scare and intimidate the youth since...well, You Know When. She looks like you, she talks like you, she parties like you -- and you could, little dumplings, soon be dead like her. Oh, and for the mommies and daddies, the bumbling Aruban authorities -- a grim Keystone Kops, the comic relief -- underscore the massive superiority of our legal system. Everybody wins!

The whole affair is just really, really distasteful.
posted by ford and the prefects at 7:00 AM on July 6, 2005


Get a grip. People have a right to be entertained, and television is entertainment, the news very much included. Sometimes it's earnest entertainment, and sometimes it's horror-movie style entertainment, but it's all show biz. Fox / CNN / MSNBC aren't doing their jobs if they short-shrift Natalee Holloway in favor of leftist talking heads demanding we surrender to the Islamofascists. There's always CommonDreams.org and the New York Times Op-Ed page for that.
posted by MattD at 7:02 AM on July 6, 2005


On The Media did a funny bit a few weeks ago concerning this topic (they borrowed the bit from Poorman.net.
posted by mlis at 7:07 AM on July 6, 2005


"Fox / CNN / MSNBC aren't doing their jobs if they short-shrift Natalee Holloway in favor of leftist talking heads demanding we surrender to the Islamofascists."

They most certainly are, friend. As that article quite correctly points out, this isn't a matter of not covering the disappearance: in an ideal world, every missing child would get the kind of massive attention Natalee has received. But in the time they've taken to cover this never-ending "horror-movie," a lot of more important (and, honestly, more shocking) things have been going on.

On a personal note, the term "Islamofascist" infuriates me.
posted by ford and the prefects at 7:13 AM on July 6, 2005


Why is this a big story? Why is her life more important than the other thousands of people who die or are kidnapped every day just because she's a white woman from America?

How about the kidnappings & attacks on Egyptian and other foreign diplomats in Iraq?
posted by mike3k at 7:15 AM on July 6, 2005


From HuffPo:

Here are the number of news segments that mention these stories: (from a search of the main news networks’ transcripts from May 1-June 20).posted by spilon at 7:22 AM on July 6, 2005


On a personal note, the term "Islamofascist" infuriates me.

Me too. It's downright offensive, and linguistically gruesome.

Look, I can certainly accept the view of all this that sees it as continuous with a long tradition of bread and circuses, the "media" as an entertainment business, not a public utility, and really nothing new or unusual. I definitely think there is a more sutly psychological erotics to this damsel in distress business than *anyone* lets on or discusses, and that it's part of why all of us clicked on the title (and why the blogger used it).

That doesn't excuse it. It just explains it. But since these media outlets are claiming a serious role in the political process, they need to be held to account on whether they earn that role by telling us what is true, important, and of the broadest significance, at least some of the time. Gong.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:25 AM on July 6, 2005


All of this bile and venom directed to and focused on her being a white woman (and a rich one at that!) really is off-putting. A lot of you sound like you are ready to join up with Cinque and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The acceptance and echo of the "fuck the rich white bitch" attitude is shameful and repulsive.
posted by dios at 7:31 AM on July 6, 2005


On the The Daily Show last week, Ed Helms quipped that we can't find Bin Laden 'cause "most of the country's search capacity right now is tied up in Aruba."

Mefi's discussed the marketability of missing people before. Around the time Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis went missing, a hispanic kid named Robbie Romero disappeared in my town. Needless to say he didn't get any national coverage....
posted by hyperizer at 7:37 AM on July 6, 2005


MattD:
People have a right to be entertained, and television is entertainment, the news very much included. Sometimes it's earnest entertainment, and sometimes it's horror-movie style entertainment, but it's all show biz. Fox / CNN / MSNBC aren't doing their jobs if they short-shrift Natalee Holloway in favor of leftist talking heads demanding we surrender to the Islamofascists.

If it's entertainment, they should say it is. But they don't, because they want to eat their cake and have it too, claiming that they are "relevant" and "insightful" when in fact, as Jon Stewart and others have pointed out, they are a bunch of ratings-obsessed disingenuous partisan hacks with no respect for the truth.

transona5:
Somehow I don't remember this kind of outrage about the saturation coverage of the Karla Homolka case, or the Andrea Yates case, ...

I'm sure many were frustrated by those cases too. But the media frenzy tends to reach a peak with these "damsels in distress" stories.
posted by aerify at 7:51 AM on July 6, 2005


On a personal note, the term "Islamofascist" infuriates me.

Why?

Me too. It's downright offensive, and linguistically gruesome.

How is it offensive? The word is used to describe the small minority of Islamists whose worldviews are essentially fascist, with a heavy religous component. I don't see either the offense, or the linguistic problem.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:56 AM on July 6, 2005


Where de' White Women At is cool and happenin' 'cause we don't want our blondies mixin' it up with them darkies 'cause you know how they is 'bout that stuff so we be scarin' them away from dat sh*t!

You know, I agree that the amount of time devoted to this story is absurd, and I don't disagree that more attention is paid when the victim is upper class (I would submit that factor weighs far more than the victim's race). But this "darkie" shit is equally absurd. In the Holloway case in particular, the main suspect is himself a spoiled white kid. Grind your axe somewhere else.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:02 AM on July 6, 2005


People get the media they deserve.
posted by orange swan at 8:03 AM on July 6, 2005


...I don't see either the offense, or the linguistic problem.
So, then of course, Christofascist and American Taliban are fine too, right?
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on July 6, 2005


The author looses a few points when he says: "Here are some things that you may have missed over the past couple of weeks if you rely on American television news for your daily dose of information:" and then proceeds to link to three news sites for the four things we may have missed.

As to the frenzy, I'd heard of this woman but not enough to recognise her name. The F-16 thing is quite reasonable though if you think of it as a training mission, which I'm sure the commanders do. After all if they were to repeatedly buzz Aruba at any other time their'd be protests in front of the embassy. How often would the Netherlands get to practice using IR detection over an inhabited tropical island?
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 AM on July 6, 2005


So, then of course, Christofascist and American Taliban are fine too, right?

If used to describe people who actually fit those categories, then absolutely. (Says this athiest). Of course, analogizing the brutally repressive Taliban or hard-line Islamic theocracies to the current U.S. administration is patently absurd. But if the shoe were to fit, I'd have no problem with it. Nice try, though.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:16 AM on July 6, 2005


pardonyou: first of all 'islamo' is not really a normal prefix. The prefix form is generaly "islamic" so you should say "islamic facists".

Dios: no one is complaning that the girl herself is white, but the fact that no non-whites get the same kind of coverage.
posted by delmoi at 8:16 AM on July 6, 2005


HOW MANY ZODIAC CHILD MOLESTERS DOES IT TAKE TO RAPE THE NEIGHBORS DOG?
posted by quonsar at 8:17 AM on July 6, 2005


Thanks, delmoi. That's a reasonable point.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:18 AM on July 6, 2005


How is it offensive? The word is used to describe the small minority of Islamists whose worldviews are essentially fascist, with a heavy religous component. I don't see either the offense, or the linguistic problem.

Conjoining the name of a major world religion to a disgraced political philosophy implies a determinist relationship between the two. It is as offensive in the way "Jewish Bankers" is in that it calls attention to religious (and ethnic, coded in "Islamo") identity in a way that is perceived as slanderous by many Muslims who are not "fascist" and do not believe (correctly IMO) that their religion mandates a fascist civil society or government. Linguistically, it's gruesome because it sounds ugly -- all I meant by the second comment. I know the counterargument -- that the people to whom you refer source their belief in an authoritarian state in religious texts. But so do some American Christians. I guess if you have no objections to "Christofascist" then we just disagree about the value of insulting people who are not the enemy.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:19 AM on July 6, 2005


As for the title: come on, people, if it were called "Fuck the broadcast media" nobody would link to it or read it.

So in other words, exploiting the Natalee Holloway tragedy is wrong except when criticizing the exploitation of the Natalee Holloway tragedy.

Shouldn't a grass-roots community journalism project like Kuro5hin (and MetaFilter) have higher standards than the broadcast media, since we're free of ratings pressure and don't have shareholders to keep happy?
posted by rcade at 8:27 AM on July 6, 2005


Nice rant, a bit too scanty.

Dios-A spectacular job of misreading the tone of the rant and of most of the reponses here. If you want to suggest that this rich white girl has not gotten a disporportionate amount of airtime relative to her tragic disappearance, then do so. It's going to be a hard argument to make, though, I think.
posted by OmieWise at 8:31 AM on July 6, 2005


How often would the Netherlands get to practice using IR detection over an inhabited tropical island?

And how often would the Dutch Air Force be flying real missions that involved IR detection over an inhabited tropical island?
posted by COBRA! at 8:33 AM on July 6, 2005


The acceptance and echo of the "fuck the rich white bitch" attitude is shameful and repulsive.

Only insomuch as you're inventing it. I count exactly one comment that even marginally fits the bill, and even that poster's (unfortunately put) point was more about the media than her.

So, kindly take your holier-than-thou bullshit somewhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of other threads you can interject some of your imaginary persecution into.
posted by mkultra at 8:35 AM on July 6, 2005


In the Holloway case in particular, the main suspect is himself a spoiled white kid.

That is only true now; the original suspects were either natives or other dark-skinned people.

So in other words, exploiting the Natalee Holloway tragedy is wrong except when criticizing the exploitation of the Natalee Holloway tragedy.

It's not at all about the "exploitation" of the tradegy. It's about the news media's lack of proportion and their sensationalistic ratings-driven drivel.
posted by aerify at 8:35 AM on July 6, 2005


[removed a comment, part of which you can still read in pardonyou?'s excerpting of it]
posted by jessamyn at 8:38 AM on July 6, 2005


pardonyou? writes "I don't see either the offense, or the linguistic problem."

The people using this word aren't using that way. Geez a local talking head refered to Bin Laden this way last week.
posted by Mitheral at 8:46 AM on July 6, 2005


COBRA! writes "And how often would the Dutch Air Force be flying real missions that involved IR detection over an inhabited tropical island?"

You never can tell when they might want to re-establish empire :). Besides who would have ever thought 10 years ago that Canada would be deploying troops to Afganistan? Militaries generally have to pay at least lip service to being ready for anything.
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 AM on July 6, 2005


In the Holloway case in particular, the main suspect is himself a spoiled white kid.

Yes, crimes do tend to be committed against victims of the same race as the perpetrator. So if the media really did start covering more nonwhite women victims of violence, they'd probably be covering more nonwhite violent criminals as well. Leaving them open to charges that they portray men of color as violent thugs.
posted by transona5 at 8:55 AM on July 6, 2005


Leaving them open to charges that they portray men of color as violent thugs.

They already do this; it's nothing new. You don't see non-white victims in the news because whites don't identify with them.
posted by aerify at 9:01 AM on July 6, 2005


You never can tell when they might want to re-establish empire :)

True that. They've had designs on Grenada for years.
posted by COBRA! at 9:08 AM on July 6, 2005


Yes, the initial scenerio seemed to suggest, "blonde tourist child snatched by dark brutal natives." Then (as mentioned in the link) the news media needed to change footing, but the story was already out there.

When this story first broke, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "If this had been a black/hispanic/samoan/etc. 18-year-old, instead of portraying her as a virginal girl honors student from a small town she'd be 'a woman dumb and/or slutty enough to get into a car with three strange men in a foreign country.'"

I get my news from the BBC, 6-7pm on my local PBS affiliate. You find out all sorts of stuff--like Croatia trying to join the EU, or the latest from the Sudan, etc. You miss out on newsotainment, thought.
posted by availablelight at 9:08 AM on July 6, 2005


dios, cool yer jets. I don't think there's a single person here who actually wishes the poor girl harm or dosen't feel for her family. But by the same token, it's impossible to denythat there's been a lot of media overkill on this one. Plenty of Americans (of various races, but most not as affluent or photogenic as Ms. Holloway) are meeting violent death in Iraq this week (to say nothing of the Iraqis) and they haven't gotten anywhere near the ink.

You don't see non-white victims in the news because whites don't identify with them.

Actually, here in NYC, one of the biggest stories for the past couple of weeks was about 3 missing Latino kids later found in a car trunk. I have no difficulty identifying with the distraught father in that case. Speak for yourself.

A tangent: we have a weird relationship with attractive wealthy people in this country. We're fascinated by the minutia of their existence (witness Paris Hilton and Princes Of Malibu and Cribs) yet we're filled with schadenfreude when something bad happens to them, or they do something bad. If it turns out that Natalee Holloway's killer is actually the spoiled white kid, that'll make it an even better drama for a lot of veiwers if you ask me.
posted by jonmc at 9:14 AM on July 6, 2005


[removed a comment, part of which you can still read in pardonyou?'s excerpting of it]
posted by jessamyn at 11:38 AM EST on July 6


Sigh. And it had every element of good stand up comedy crass humor. Chris Rock woulda' bought it. Oh well. A prophet in her/his own land ... I mean, the title of the post itself kinda gives permission for some leeway there Natalie Portman. :-)
posted by nofundy at 9:37 AM on July 6, 2005


dios, only you would think this person is more important than anyone else out there who is not white and rich.
Again, the thread here is about someone who is more well off than someone who is not receiving coverage they otherwise would not have if they were not rich and well off.
I think anyone would be offended that someone who is well off deserves more attention and importance than someone who is not. So screw your 'righteous indignation', there are more important things to be upset about than this.
posted by mk1gti at 9:49 AM on July 6, 2005


Wow, has K5 pulled itself together again? I miss what that place used to be like before the meltdown, but haven't been checking it in some time. Such an interesting trajectory for a community.
posted by freebird at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2005


mk1gti: and you as much as said she deserves none ("I want to know what this girls' parents yearly income is. 'flashing money all around the island'. She deserved to get capped. . . Fuck her rich white ass.") You and dios aren't as different as you'd imagine.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on July 6, 2005


raaka writes "WHITE GIRL IN TROUBLE"

raaka wins the thread.
posted by clevershark at 10:05 AM on July 6, 2005


Just echoing the tone of the thread. One doesn't see how ugly things are until one holds a mirror to it. . .
posted by mk1gti at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2005


dios writes "The acceptance and echo of the 'fuck the rich white bitch' attitude is shameful and repulsive."

Actually it seems more like 'fuck the inbred national media that ignores thousands of missing non-white kids but devote so much fucking time and effort in covering the case of one white girl missing in an island where most of the population isn't white'.

But, you know, don't let me interrupt your habitual shitting on the thread or anything.
posted by clevershark at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2005


If she's hot then she leads. If there's perversion involved then so much the better. Nobody (apparently) cares when ugly non-white people are abducted and killed. But pretty white teens are ratings gold even when nothing new has happened in like three weeks.

This is why the American people could give a damn about the Downing Street Memo, they are too rapt with Natalee and the abducted and molested brother and sister and all the sordid details.

And don't forget about Brangelina and TomKat. Far, far more important than the war, the economy, stem cell research, education, 9/11, bin Laden (huh? he's STILL free? what?) and Bush's utter incompetence and rampant smarminess.
posted by fenriq at 10:25 AM on July 6, 2005


dios, only you would think this person is more important than anyone else out there who is not white and rich.

Huh? Where are you getting that I said this lady deserved any press? In fact, I think none of the recent pop culture stories deserve press. So don't put words in my mouth that I think this deserves press. I don't watch cable news because I think 98% of what they talk about is unworthy.

My point was the repugnant and hate-filled emphasis that people, such as you, are placing on this story because of her race. The story is unworthy on its own merits as a news-story. Trying to create this artificial racial situation about how racist the news media is because rich white people get special treatment when they go missing is a point that can be made, but there is a way to go about it without the shrill anger and venom which certainly indicates a disdain for the individual who has suffered (whether intentional or not). But, the tone and shrillness of the comments about her from some of you is offputting and does sound like Cinque.

Let me state it like this:
1. Its wrong for the media to sensationalize non-stories.
2. Its wrong for the media to make race a factor in deciding whether to cover a story.
3. Its wrong for the people here to make a race a factor in deciding how much empathy to have.

But, you know, don't let me interrupt your habitual shitting on the thread or anything.
posted by clevershark at 10:08 AM PST on July 6


I am shitting on this thread? Did you read some of the comments?

(Nofundy's deleted one)

When will these white girls learn to not leave the house, because every bad man on earth wants to hurt them?
posted by Space Coyote at 11:41 PM PST on July 5


Yeah because the world should stop because some blond haired pretty young girl is missing. We HAVE to protect the pretty young blonds who's pictures look nice on tv.
posted by whirlwind29 at 1:49 AM PST on July 6


Because some white girl got murdered.
posted by Harry at 3:57 AM PST on July 6


I want to know what this girls' parents yearly income is. 'flashing money all around the island'. She deserved to get capped. . . Fuck her rich white ass.
Fuck the news media for shoving rich white girls issues down our throats
.

But you want to say I am the one shitting in this thread for pointing out the ugliness behind these comments? This kind of stuff shows a complete disrespect for the fact that a woman may have died. I thought we showed respect for the dead....
posted by dios at 10:27 AM on July 6, 2005


Look it's quite simple, you want the media types heads to explode here is your headline:

Young, affluent, preggers white woman abducted by a gay, Taliban, pedophile, shark.
posted by Numenorian at 10:36 AM on July 6, 2005


So, we combat ratings-driven deification with flip, callow, dismissal. Yay for us.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 AM on July 6, 2005


You and dios aren't as different as you'd imagine.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Actually you haven't seen me and dios in a bar, we're like two peas in a pod (^_^)
posted by mk1gti at 10:49 AM on July 6, 2005


dios nets another flapping stringful of panfish!
posted by quonsar at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2005


Y'know this whole the-rest-of-the-site-vs-dios thing has gone on long enough. It's like we periodically need a class geek that we can take turns slapping around. Regardless of what dios might do to invite it, it's all getting a little too Lord Of The Flies for my taste.

And dios, usually underneath your bluster there's an idea or two, but you seem to like using them as bait. Just because there's dogs chasing you dosen't mean you have to throw them meat.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2005


piggy!
posted by freebird at 11:43 AM on July 6, 2005


I'd hit it.
...oh, wait...we're talking about...uh, something else. Ok, sorry, resume thread.

I will comment though on this. This newspaper editor told me a great story about a Miami paper that showed the results of a breast surgery. Apparently they had put bare breasts on the front page.
However they thought it might have been ok, because it was in a clinical setting. Their editor dragged the staff into his office and started yelling about how they knew nothing about journalism or newspaper work and so forth. The staff was perplexed. The story and the photos were not done in a prurient manner. What was the problem?
The editor grabbed the paper, and holding it in his hands he showed them how the paper would sit on the newstand. He said: "Idiots! Tits above the fold!"

I think stories like the one under discussion are analogous.

BTW:
Fuck her rich white ass
Dear Penthouse, not much was happening until I went to Aruba and....
posted by Smedleyman at 11:48 AM on July 6, 2005


I don't think it's that she's white, it's that she's rich. Plenty of rich black people and powerful Hispanics get media play. It's poor people who are not only shunned in our society, but actually who inspire indignation of the moral sort - cause they somehow merited their place in society by not taking advantage of America's formidable chances to become rich. These morality tales in the media are usually much more about the goodness of being rich and the dangers of consorting with the poor and shiftless. It's not enough that Arubans have to clean the playground of vacationing Americans, but they should also be morally censured because their lack of wealth might somehow cause contagion to our pride and joy, that is our gallivanting teenagers on holiday.
posted by faux ami at 11:56 AM on July 6, 2005


The beautiful irony is that the sidebar ad on this blog is for a show with Hulk Hogan.
posted by fixedgear at 12:01 PM on July 6, 2005


rcade beat me to it. I think it's a despicable title. That it doesn't reflect the views therein contained is a reflection upon the need to rely on shock-factor to get your shit heard. When a MetaFilter post links to the story with exactly the same words, you can see the tactic works.

Justifying sensationalism with the increased exposure is the beginning of the end. I've heard the phrase "don't hate the media, become the media"; but this is an extension to "don't hate the media, become the media (including all their misleadiong sensationalistic wankness)".
posted by nthdegx at 12:18 PM on July 6, 2005


dios catch of the day
posted by quonsar at 12:36 PM on July 6, 2005


you sure are impressed with dios' abilities, quonsar.

almost like you're bowing down to him, as some sort of god.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:54 PM on July 6, 2005


I don't think it's that she's white, it's that she's rich.

That, and she's white.
posted by iamck at 1:59 PM on July 6, 2005


It's pretty easy to sit there and slam the Mainstream Media for its obsessive coverage of stupid crap. Let me ask you this, though: who exactly do you think works in media?

Do you think that the majority of media professionals are happy running with this garbage? Do you think they (I should probably say "we") don't sit around grinding our teeth in frustration at the way every attempt at in-depth, intelligent, perceptive and complex coverage of events of actual importance are met with the slack-jawed silence of complete and utter disinterest?

The media have, and always will, be a business. It is a reporters job to report everything that's out there -- it's the editors job to run with what will bring the most viewers/readers/unique visitors to their tv channel/newspaper/website. It doesn't take long to figure out what sells and what doesn't.

Here's the dilemma. A free, independent press must be profitable to exist, or else nobody has any incentive to invest in it. Thus, its only allegiance is to the bottom line. A fully subsidized press would be necessary to free the media of the bonds of market share... but would then be neither free nor independent, and would almost inevitably suffer a corruptive influence from its funders, be it the government or a private investor.
posted by patnasty at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2005


patnasty: Then the point should be to show some real news in between the infotainment crap. It's sort of how hackneyed crime thrillers and whatnot pay for serious literature (not that serious lit can't be popular too, but it doesn't happen very often). I don't see such a trade-off at the moment, however. The excess of Natalee coverage at the expense of so much else, and the increasingly excessive coverage of human-interest drama stuff in general is completely inexcusable.
posted by raysmj at 2:45 PM on July 6, 2005


But in a 24 hour news world, where everyone can just turn to a different channel, if you're not all infotainment, all the time, well, the next all news channel up the dial probably is. I remember growing up, we'd all watch the news at 6. It was an hour. It started with bleeding leads, then had a fair segment on national and local issues of significance, then sports and weather, then a human interest story, then entertainment news at the end of the hour. It was mostly fluff, but there was real news in there and you sat down and watched the whole show. Now, if CNN happens to be in the real news segment of their programming, well, you can flip channels and watch Fox or, MSNBC or Headline News or CTV Newsnet or blah, blah, blah.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:06 PM on July 6, 2005


Then why do we need 24 hour news channels? What great service are they providing to the Republic? Patnasty presumes that they are. Even their real news coverage is ridiculous. CNN managed to get good ratings back when Turner owned them, doing the live reporting from Baghdad and whatnot. I was hooked to it back then, when a college student and early working adult. You had the O.J. stuff too, and that may have been the beginning of the end of decent 24 hour news, but . . . well, the channel's just almost unwatchable to me now.

These days, the Natalee type stuff bleeds over into serious newspapers, and makes it ways into sectors of American life that have more important functions. The Terri Schiavo thing's making its way into Congress was an inevitability in that respect, and as pathetic and sad display of our civic health as I've ever seen.
posted by raysmj at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2005


Patnasty: Surely there's a difference between profitable, and as profitable as possible. I could make more money a year by gradually selling off my body parts (not that anyone would want my liver), but what I'd be left with at the end makes the extra profit, er, unprofitable.
posted by Sparx at 4:30 PM on July 6, 2005


Who the hell is Natalee Holloway?

If you're worried about this kind of thing, you watch too much TV news.

I wish I could say that I care, but I just can't.

Methinks he/she protests too much.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:36 PM on July 6, 2005


Correction to my earlier comment: According to the mother of the accused, they still have not actually charged the boys. Guilty or not, we're looking at human rights violations and this side of the story is non-existant stateside.
posted by Eideteker at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2005


I will always be grateful to this thread for introducing me to the phrase "Tits above the fold." I can think of a myriad uses for it. Not least to describe what's wrong with the title of this page.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:07 PM on July 6, 2005


"Why is her life more important than the other thousands of people who die or are kidnapped every day just because she's a white woman from America?"

Why would her life be unimportant? Why would her life be *less* important than someone who isn't white?

I agree there's a problem in coverage here, but dios is spot-on when he says there's an equal problem with racial bile here. "F*ck whitey" isn't gonna fix any problems. If there's any real issue here, it's either how to get authorities and other portions of society equally involved in non-white and/or lower class cases, rather than how to get people to stop paying attention to a few suburb-friendly cases.

Or do you really think Natalie Holloway's disappearance, if quiet and un-noted, would have better served the poor and maligned of the world?
posted by weston at 5:27 PM on July 6, 2005


The issue is that with this story, the media can go crazy. They can speculate, talk out of their asses, hype it up, and no one's really going to say anything, and people will watch.

If they sensationalized the Iraq war, or other serious issues, they could get ratings too-- but the risks they'd have to take on those issues, and the advertisers and viewers they would piss off while doing so would make it unsustainable.

If you look back to the days of partisan, 'independent' press, you'll find plenty of sensationalistic coverage of 'serious' topics... now that's not economically feasible given the costs of running a cable station or printing a newspaper.

Online, it can be done, and is done.
posted by chaz at 5:28 PM on July 6, 2005


Rather late, but seemingly appropriate, from Blazing Saddles "Hey - where the white women at?"
posted by Hactar at 5:52 PM on July 6, 2005


Blah blah blah blah,

People connect with stories about people they connect with. Happy 12th birthday. Stop whining and have some more cookies and milk.
posted by HTuttle at 11:33 PM on July 6, 2005


Then why do we need 24 hour news channels?

Purely for entertainment. They are not useful.
posted by pracowity at 12:07 AM on July 7, 2005


I love how many people are quick to blame Fox News Channel alone for this, especially considering how many of the same people vow they do not watch FNC. CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC have had just as much, if not more, coverage of this story. (Nancy Grace, I'm looking at you)

I personally do not find this story to warrant this much coverage, but I will not fake outrage over this. Media 101.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Eidetecker: The original two suspects have been released. Now they are holding Joran van der Sloot, "the son of a judge-in-training, the only person still in detention and possibly the last person to see Natalee Holloway alive." Though, judging by the comments of the mother upon the release of the original suspects, she still seems to think they had something to do with it:

"Two suspects were released yesterday who were involved in a violent crime against my daughter," she said.

"These criminals are not only being allowed to walk around among the tourists and citizens of Aruba," she said, but there were no limits on where they could go.


I hadn't heard anything much about this until I read the post here. I saw "Aruba" pop up in my news reader once or twice, but I refuse to watch TV news. Too much blather, opinion and speculation for my journalistic tastes.
posted by Orb at 2:35 AM on July 7, 2005


eidetecker: also, according to local law they don't have to charge him yet.

faux ami: I believe a good many of my fellow Americans can't see past color. We're conditioned to see them vs. us. It's easier than letting the masses realize that we are more poor than rich.

fenriq: The media doesn't notice when ugly white people are killed either...unless there is a moral lesson to be given.
posted by ?! at 10:58 AM on July 7, 2005


Not sure if anyone is still following this, but there is a follow-up at K5. Apparently, searching for her full name on Google lists the "Fuck Natalee Holloway" story second.

Also, they have received a bunch of hate mail (in the first link) regarding this original story.
posted by purephase at 6:48 PM on July 9, 2005


this original story = the original story.
posted by purephase at 6:50 PM on July 9, 2005


purephase writes "Apparently, searching for her full name on Google lists the 'Fuck Natalee Holloway' story second."

Actually, as I post this comment and for at least 2 days now, searching Google for Natalee Holloway lists K5's story first, just above the official site.
posted by nkyad at 11:22 PM on July 9, 2005


Not only does a Google search for Natalee Holloway (with or without quotes) list K5's piece (and follow-up) first, a search for Natalee alone lists the piece as second.

The best guess to why this happened is that so many sites have K5 feeds on their front page. So a relevant story can get bumped up the Google rankings on that basis alone.

Here's to the awesome power of blogs.
posted by aerify at 8:11 AM on July 10, 2005


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