Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reading Between The Words

I have been reading the news of an arrest in the Craigslist murder, largely because I heard on the radio a reference to the current suspect's alleged misogyny. Here's the bit I was able to find in news:

Many of Markoff's friends and acquaintances found him completely normal, but others picked up on a hostility toward women and African-Americans.

That's not much evidence but who knows. While searching for more information on that I also bumped into lots of contempt towards women and your ordinary garden variety biases. For an example of the latter:

Technology allows women to reach perfect strangers and market sex, massages, lap dances, and other "erotic services." It allowed a killer to lure women to hotel rooms, rob them, and shoot one dead. It also helped police and the public to track down and arrest a suspect.

Take that first sentence, so very innocent and neutral as it might seem. Then rewrite it:

Technology allows men to reach perfect strangers to buy sex, massages, lap dances, and other "erotic services."

Both sentences are equally true, but by selecting the one the article used we turn the flashlight away from the customers of these women (and on the women themselves), except for the odd customer who happens to murder the sellers.

Then there were a few comments in a comments thread attached to an article discussing a purported e-mail to the media from the murder suspect's fiancee. I hasten to add that the comments I have picked are not indicative of the general tone of the comments there, but they are odd enough to tell us something about this society. To understand them you need to know that the suspect, Philip Markoff, is a second-year medical student:

"We expect to marry in August and share a wonderful, meaningful life together."

A true test of love is about to come up: Will she support him through thick and thin, sans a doctor's income - if the allegations stand up?


Sorry honey that your perfect little dream world came crashing to an end! marrying a doctor and having a fantasy wedding, at least you know now that you were marrying a pychopath. Let go of the dream and be happy you are alive!


Is this what they mean when they say women are attracted to medical doctors? And he isnt even one yet!

What's important to point out is this: Mr. Markoff's fiancee is ALSO a second-year medical student. Yet the assumption is that she is an airhead marrying a doctor for money.

Note that I haven't even addressed the much more seriously misogynistic question about the plight of sex workers and the risks they are subjected to. But then neither do the articles I have come across in this reading between the words.