Friday, March 14, 2008 

More on Fiona MacKeown, Karen Matthews etc.

The Grauniad seems to have finally woken up to the smears and attacks on both Fiona MacKeown and Karen Matthews, with not one, not two but three articles today. The Newsblog directly brings up the Mail's gleeful assaults, while Beatrix Campbell compares Matthews' treatment to the McCanns, and finally, Madeleine Bunting surprises everyone by writing an article that isn't atrocious.

Some of the comments however are:

CongestionCharge Too fucking stupid to know your 15 year old daughter is taking drugs and meeting strange men in clubs, in a country you know nothing about. Stupid enough to leave her alone for a few days.

But not stupid enough to write this article.

While "CongestionCharge" is apparently too fucking stupid to realise that she wasn't left alone but with a 25-year-old man and his aunt.

Thankfully some others are more forgiving:

March 14, 2008 2:31 PM
Self-righteousness is the disease, and blogs are the swamp in which it thrives.

tish I think the reaction to all three of these cases shows what an unpleasant, judgemental nation we have become in the last few years.

I don't go quite as far as that. The rise of blogs and the "information revolution" or whatever you wish to call it has enabled individuals driven to apoplexy by articles such as Allison Pearson's on Wednesday to respond when they previously wouldn't have been able to. It has also though enabled forums to thrive which were teeming with contempt for those such as the McCanns, blaming them from the very beginning for their daughter going missing, later delighting in going so far as to personally blame them for killing her with absurd conspiracy theories. That the McCanns perhaps have the most to answer for out of the 3, leaving a defenceless 3-year-old and her younger siblings alone when they could have been put in a creche while they went off to have dinner, even if they were checking back every hour or so, shouldn't have made them the target of such hatred.

Thing is, we all instantly like to judge based on appearances, or most of us do; I'm far from immune from that. Our press however should not give voice to such base instincts: it is meant to investigate deeper, think far beyond the obvious and immediate, and tell us something we don't already know. True, all newspapers also indulge their readers with what they think they want to hear, but when this breaks the boundaries between fair comment and being intolerably cruel, as the attacks on mothers that have just lost their daughters have been, it should breach the covenant between the reader and their chosen organ. I realise this is a hopelessly idealist notion in an increasingly cut-throat world, where it seems almost an obligation to humiliate, mock and attack, something no more epitomised than by the likes of the X Factor and Pop Idol where the hopeless are made fun of before the talented are feted and over-indulged, but there is little that is more pathetic or nasty than kicking someone while they are down.

The wonderful news is that Shannon Matthews
has been found alive and unhurt, something which until this lunchtime seemed to have been the least likely conclusion to her disappearance. How the media now responds and revisits its coverage over the last 24 days will prove whether this has been another debacle with a press that seems to not know how low it has sunken, or just a slight wave in the long and contentious history of the Street of Shame.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 

I'm not sorry, and I blame Allison Pearson.

Oh look, it's a rather over ripe peach.

When blogging and responding to articles both elsewhere online and in the press, there's always a case for two diametrically opposed responses. Like I did with Kamm's rampant apologia for rendition yesterday, you can fisk hard and fast but do so without peppering it with what might well be valid but also distracting insults and expletives, or you can go the whole hog and just call a cunt a cunt, as Kid in the comments does. I try not to do that too often for a couple of reasons: firstly, because it's not pleasant, the writer probably isn't a cunt however reprehensible their views, and it makes me look like one of the green-ink brigade, even here in the deepest depths of cyberspace, not to mention the deeply misogynistic tones of doing so, even if no such offence is meant, and how it also doesn't really make me feel any better in any case; and secondly, because then when you only rarely do exactly what I've just described, it seems to make the result all the sweeter.

This is one of those such occasions. Last week, while commenting on Shannon Matthews and the media response, I happened to come across Allison Pearson's views on Matthews' mother. Worth keeping in mind throughout all of this that Pearson is and remains one of the McCanns' biggest supporters in the press. Her blithering that "this kind of thing doesn't usually happen to people like us" summed up both how the press had responded to the Madeleine disappearance and how it hasn't to Matthews. The sheer class snobbery, something already endemic in the Mail, was overwhelming, and just to labour the point, Pearson said that "Shannon was already a lost child" and went on to make observations that were stupid at best and downright deplorable at worst, saying that "allowing a passing parade of boyfriends to play tickling games with your vulnerable small girl is, at best, naïve" and also that "Shannon Matthews was already a victim of a chaotic domestic situation, inflicted by parents on their innocent children, long before she vanished into the chill February night."

Pearson herself has two children
, and it's jolly good that she does, because otherwise she wouldn't be able to make such blasé generalisations about how others should look after theirs. Not content with kicking Shannon's mother while her daughter was and still is missing, Pearson obviously thought that wasn't quite potentially offensive enough. No, she had to go one better: kicking a mother when her daughter has just been raped and murdered. Yeah, I wish I was making this up too.

Fiona MacKeown, the mother of Scarlett Keeling, the 15-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Goa, seems less like a grieving mother than an avenging tigress.

The dehumanisation therefore sets in immediately. In Pearson's fucked up, microscopic little brain, MacKeown is not someone who wants justice for her daughter's murder, something that the local police appear to have covered up, but rather a vicious creature that is out for vengeance, and more than willing to rip out a few throats in the process. Someone who ought to be supported when at her most vulnerable is instead about to be clobbered by the Daily Mail's latest and worst Glenda Slagg.

With her swishing curtain of grey hair, Fiona is taking on a corrupt local police force which initially denied that her cub had been the victim of foul play.

This is a pretty old cub we're talking about here, considering that Scarlett was 15. Never mind that the analogy is bogus, stretched to complete breaking point, and that MacKeown is instead doing what any relative, regardless of whether she was the mother or not would do if they had the personal strength to do so, in Pearson's grim calculus this is just the beginning in a build up towards far more than dehumanisation.

"If police had taken more interest in previous [suspicious] deaths, then Scarlett might not be dead now," growled Fiona.

Ah, she's growling now. I see, like a cat. How much exactly do you get paid for this you witless, brain-addled fuckbubble?

Maybe so. But isn't there an even better chance that Scarlett would still be alive if her own mother had not abandoned her for several weeks after an argument and recklessly continued her own holiday?

Or perhaps if whoever it was WHO FUCKING KILLED HER hadn't done so she would still be. Scarlett and her mother don't come into this; the entirety of the blame lies with the murderer. But then, how could the murderer resist?

Instead the blonde teenager, as tempting as a ripe peach, was left in the care of a 25-year-old tour guide - a local man she'd only recently met.

As tempting as a ripe peach. In case Pearson hasn't been paying attention, over the last month or so we've seen similar "ripe peaches" who have been killed by men, in at least one of the cases purely for his own warped sexual pleasure. They however weren't excused for their crimes because those they killed were beautiful and therefore apparently asking for it; they were rightly put behind bars for more or less the rest of their lives. They say that the Daily Mail is the most misogynistic newspaper, and with such writers as Pearson, who needs enemies?

I don't know what they call that in globe-trotting hippy circles. Back here on Planet Parent it's known as dereliction of duty.

Jolly good. Perhaps if you have daughters and one of them is subsequently whisked away, you'll not begrudge me the right to blame your fucked up small-minded bourgeois values rather than the person responsible, while adding that your daughter was clearly asking for it because she resembled a plump plum, just ready to be devoured.

Mrs MacKeown is now to be questioned by Goan police for negligence - a tactic she claims is a "disgusting" attempt to "switch the focus" away from their own failings.

If anyone's trying to divert attention away from their own mistakes, I'd say it's Mrs MacKeown.

Oh, what's the fucking point with even bothering to argue against this diatribe? Fuck you Allison, and fuck your paper for printing this despicable rant which simply couldn't want a day longer to be formed in that shell-like wrinkled, busted contraption in the middle of your head that couldn't possibly be described by anyone that has read your prose as a brain.

Scarlett was last seen at 4am in a bar surrounded by several men. Witnesses say she was totally off her head on ecstasy and cocaine.

Surrounded by men? On drugs? Clearly this was another lost child abandoned by her parents and therefore which is eminently explainable to the fuckwitted readers out there in middle England that are no doubt nodding sagely along with your sordid analysis. She doesn't matter because she was clearly a whore, took ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES and was just waiting to be plucked by any man who set eyes on her.

That kind of behaviour would have made her vulnerable in her home town back in Devon, let alone in a culture where Western girls are all too readily viewed as sexually available.

Oh, I see. Not only is it her fault and her mother's fault, but it's also both of their fault for going somewhere where the filthy fucking backward savages just can't wait to get their hands on the succulent white women. Does Pearson really not see just how enormously offensive this is? No, of course she doesn't; she's far too fucking moronic.

Forgive me for being a boringly conventional bourgeois mum, but what the hell were Fiona MacKeown and her partner thinking of taking seven kids on a six-month "dream trip" to India - and then leaving one of them to fend for herself? Why wasn't Scarlett in school studying for her GCSEs?

You know, I'm almost tempted to agree with Pearson. I don't think it's the greatest idea ever to take a 15-year-old out of school for six months at one of the most important times in their school life; then though I remember that this abnormal amoral "conventional bourgeois mum" has just more or less justified a teenager's death because she was very attractive and in a country with a load of darkies that were just bound to want to rape her and murder her. You can take Scarlett's GCSEs which will now never be filled in and poke them right up your arid cunt.

The loss of any child must be a horror beyond imagining. But there is something about Fiona MacKeown that makes me want to scream at the TV.

Why exactly? Because she wants justice for having her pride and joy taken away and because she has been denied it? Or is it because her lifestyle and everything else offend your "conventional bourgeois" values so much that you therefore think that she ought to be kicked and assaulted while she's down?

Not an ounce of doubt or regret seems to weigh on this laid-back woman. She told reporters that she had counted every mark on Scarlett's body.

Similarly, doubtless not a "doubt or regret" will weigh on the fucking harridan bitch that wrote this completely heartless piece. Personally, I hope you fucking choke on your words.

"There were almost 50 bruises and abrasions. She has clearly been battered and assaulted. I feel vindicated."

Vindicated? For crying out loud! Any normal person would be tearing out their own hair with grief and remorse.

And does it not cross your tiny fizzog that perhaps this is exactly her way of responding to that grief and remorse? Many others would have collapsed at the tragedy of their daughter dying after drowning; MacKeown instead questioned that and yes, she has been vindicated. If she hasn't grieved yet, that will doubtless come once she has achieved justice, and not before. My own mother, bless her, has questioned the McCanns because to her mind neither of them had showed enough emotion, and she ought to know, because she lost one son in an accident before I came along. I therefore don't question her on that view, despite my disagreeing with it. None of this however occurs to Pearson, or if it does, she keeps it hidden to instead only keep the most base prejudices out in the open.

Mrs MacKeown says her one consolation is that she's "got some photographs of [Scarlett] having a fabulous time".

She still doesn't get it, does she? Fiona MacKeown is an unrepentant member of the Me Generation, one of those people who would rather be a best mate than a parent.

Again, who the fuck are you Pearson to question what MacKeown is going through or state that she doesn't get it? It's you that doesn't get it; your unbearable cruelty to those going through hell through your column is far worse than any offence that Matthews' mother or MacKeown have ever committed. You're the lowest of the low, a bottom-feeding cunt that uses other people's misery against them and gets paid for doing it. You and the "newspaper" you write for are not just a disgrace to journalism, you're a disgrace to humanity itself.

It's more fun being a friend to your kids and, quite frankly, a lot less hassle.

You don't have to fight daily battles over bedtimes and body piercings. And if you have a row with your "mate" you can storm off, unlike an old-fashioned authority figure who has to weather the storm and stay put always and forever.

Oh my god! Scarlett had body piercings! Someone call the middle-class outrage brigade! Oh wait, they already did. Just what is your point exactly Allison? Do you want MacKeown to come and personally show you how sorry she is for her "mistakes" so that you're sated? I suppose you'd like that, and could write about it. TERRIBLE MOTHER WHO ABANDONED HER DAUGHTER TO DEATH AT HANDS OF EASTERN SAVAGES ON DRUGS SAYS SORRY TO TOP DAILY MAIL COLUMNIST. Read all about it!

This week, John Dunford, head of the Association of Schools and College Leaders, warned that schools are the only moral framework in many children's lives.

With the erosion of traditional family life, parents are no longer giving their offspring basic social skills or a sense of right and wrong.

I'm sorry, what's this got to do with MacKeown and Scarlett? Both seemed to have social skills and a sense of right and wrong; it's only you and the fucking murdering bastard who killed her that don't.

It's a bleak picture that brings to mind W.B. Yeats's great poem about a world where the natural order of things has catastrophically broken down: "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned."

Welcome one and all to Daily Mail island, where everything is going to hell, the kids all have body piercings and Allison Pearson knows exactly what the remedy is and how to dispense it. Roll up so you too can have the foot of middle England stamping on your bonce forever.

For parents who are poor and ground down by work, or the lack of it, there may be some excuse. But articulate, middle-class people should know better.

That didn't save Matthews' mother though did it? You assaulted her just as you're attacking MacKeown now. The reality is not that "articulate, middle-class people should know better", but actually those that Allison "even my parents must think I'm the lowest form of cunt" Pearson passes judgement on should know better.

Since Scarlett's brutal killing, Fiona MacKeown has fought for her daughter. Would that she had exercised half that dedication and sense of responsibility while Scarlett was still alive and in need of a mother's care.

Hug your children tight Daily Mail readers, because who knows when you too might be damned in the pages of your favourite newspaper for letting them go off on their own with another adult they trusted. You too can then experience the wrath of the very worst writers that man has ever known, with all their preening, self-centred superiority. How ironic that the newspaper which so rails against nanny statism thinks that every parent other than ones that resemble their own values exactly are the product of their own downfall. If Allison was perhaps a little wet between the ears and trying to impress the thrusting Paul Dacre, this sort of vicious attack on a grieving mother could be justified. As it is, Pearson is either 47 or 48 and at the "peak" of her career. One can't help but conclude with hoping that this typeface executioner falls under a train or something similarly messy and nasty. Then instead of blaming Pearson for being on the tracks her family can perhaps sue the train driver and company.

Related post:
Enemies of Reason - Least surprising Daily Mail headline ever...

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