I was reading the news yesterday and came across the following front page headline -- "Ohio Kidnapping Suspect Accused of Attacking Girlfriend."
First of all, let me begin by saying that I think the real story in this headline is not the accusation, but that the Ohio kidnapping suspect actually has a girlfriend. But that aside --
I think it's terrible if the Ohio kidnapping suspect did, in fact, attack his girlfriend. It would be abusive, unacceptable and criminal. Unfortunately, the guy is also accused of...well, three gruesome kidnappings, chaining up three girls for a decade, and multiple counts of rape of minors, with the possibility of murder, for stomach-churning starters. So, unless you're the girlfriend, it's just hard to focus attention on the fact that he attacked someone. I mean, honestly, it it wasn't for that whole stomach-churning, multiple kidnap-chaining-rape-murder of minors charges, it just doesn't seem likely that attacking one's girlfriend (despicable and shameful though it is) would have ever -- ever -- ever made frontpage national news. It's not only not what the disgusted national public cares one tiny whit about, it just (unfortunately for the girlfriend) gallingly pales compared to the far, far, far more repulsive, horrifying story.
In reading that headline, I' was reminded of a one of my favorite exchanges on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Lou's incompetent nephew has been sent out with a news camera to cover a scoop that came in about a raging fire. When they later look at the footage, they discover that the only video the young kid took was of a caterpillar crawling on the sidewalk. Lou is beside himself, trying his best to control his fury. For the life of him, he can't understand what in the world his nephew was doing taking the video of the caterpillar crawling. The exchange that followed was along the lines of --
LOU: What were you possibly thinking???
NEPHEW (all artistic and humanistic): I wanted to show the irony that just a few feet away from a raging fire, life goes on.
LOU (calm, controlling himself): Well, did it ever occur to you to show the irony that just a few feet away from life going on...THERE WAS A RAGING FIRE??!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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