February 18, 2011

Not A Good Month For Blonde Reporters

and not a good generation for everyone else

Honest up, wildpeople, when you heard a TV reporter named Lara Logan got sexually assaulted by a gang of hooligans, how much did you want to see what she looked like?  Lara  sounds hot.  And how certain were you that to find out, all you'd have to do was click the link? 

Is rape a crime of sex or a crime of violence?   Better to ask: how good is your psychic filter that you can find sexiness in pretty much anything?  You didn't picture her bloodied and crying, you imagined her reluctant.  How easy was it for your mind to turn "gang rape" into gang bang"?  You don't have to answer; I live in the same country you do.

The story seems to be that she was raped by a bunch of hooligans, but that story is long gone in favor of the louder one, the one that's everywhere: did her looks have anything to do with it?

Years of cognitive retraining have finally taught us not to ask that question, though only because we're now in general agreement that looks have everything to do with it.  Oh, I know, not all rapes-- just the ones you're going to hear about in the media.

Media producers, my pet name for the Chthulu, have pretended to be appalled by the public's wonder if Logan's blonde hotness had anything to do with her rape, but it's hardly the public's fault-- they made her hotness the story.   I knew she'd be Victoria Secret hot the moment I heard the story, partly because I assume they only hire hot reporters but also because I know they wouldn't bother screaming the story at me if she wasn't.  Do they ordinarily reveal the faces of rape victims in other cases?  Well, here's one so you don't have to google it.

But they're not telling you she's blonde to suggest that's why she was raped, they're telling it to you to read the story.  And when they tell you that you are a misogynist jerk for thinking that her swimsuit model body had anything to do with her attack, I hope you can see that they are telling you that so that they have an excuse to mention that she had a swimsuit model's body.  Like Arthur challenges Saito, "don't think about elephants.   What are you thinking about?"  Son of a gun, inception works.

Are there any among you who read the story but didn't wonder if she was good looking?  Ladies, no one's looking, you can be honest.

So don't let the media tell you her looks aren't an issue, I have no idea whether they weren't an issue in the rape but they are most certainly an issue in the story, which is all they care about, and which becomes your entire data set of the world.


You know what I don't know about Lara Logan?  Who raped her.  Pro-Mubarak or anti-?  Too bad, that's what I want to know, so I know whether to write the country off for the next decade  or the next five decades.

Oh, refreshingly, the media has refrained from the reflex racial apologistics that follow American crimes, "not all Egyptians are rapists" and "this isn't indicative of all Egyptians," but the media has to hold off because we don't know who did it, the media isn't sure which way they want to go.  Once we know for sure, you won't have to fire one synapse to figure out if this is indicative of all Egyptians or not, they'll Matrix it out for you in news reports, TV shows, and commercials.  Stay tuned, the next generation of foreign policy axioms brought to you by the producers at CBS.


It isn't a good month for blonde reporters on location. Some other swimsuit model tried to get the words out right, tripped over the first, and then like dominos all the words went down, down, down, and there's only one valid interpretation: her brain misfired.

The story is that she maybe had a stroke; but the story of the story is that the media want to get out from the shadows and become the story, and any chance they can get it-- and at anyone's expense-- they will take it.    No one wants their reporters to have strokes or get gang raped, but no one should let a good crisis go to waste, either, it's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid, thank you very much Mayor Emanuel.  Maybe we had a good reason to avoid certain things?   I will point out that the entire pubic discourse on these reporters does not ever mention the content of the original story-- what was Logan about to report?  What words was Branson trying to get out?  Oh, that's not important.  Then why did we have her out there in the first place?

branson_at_grammys.jpgoh, now I see

It's hard to summarize the extent of the damage that the news media inflict on each individual's psyche because it all seems so appropriate: shouldn't we want more information, not less?  That way we can pick and choose what's important to us?  It makes some sense, yet it still takes me weeks to pick a computer that is identical to all my other choices though  none of which are really appropriate to my needs.  Information bias is a steel death trap, once you're in you do not want to come out.  But there are only 24 hours in a day, and with sleep and porn and driving and drinking, what you know about the world comes in brief soundbites, and the minutes you spend knowing about Branson and Logan are minutes you don't know something else, and worse, you think you can extrapolate from these pop culture images to a sophisticated understanding of finance and politics.  You can't, there's no time left for thinking. I know you think you're above pop culture and stick to news, but all of this is pop culture and you're eyeballs deep in it and there is no where else to turn.   I guess I'm guilty too, having just spent hours writing about this, but I justify it by saying someone has to make this explicit, someone has to let you know that these maneuvers and seductions aren't incidental but wholly the purpose, sure they know it's dumbing and wrong but that's the game, everyone's gots to get paid, you may not be interested in pop culture but pop culture is interested in you.