Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kalpoe Brothers

The Kalpoe brothers were re-arrested on Friday along with another individual named Freddie, a friend of Jordan van der Sloot's. Police suspect that the brothers may have drugged and sexually assaulted Natalee (it's unclear as to whether or not Freddie was involved).

Satish, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21, were arrested along with van der Sloot (now 18) but the two brothers were released in July after a judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence to connect them to Holloway's disappearance.

Nancy Grace said that there were rumors about use of the date rape drug Rohypnol, otherwise known as "roofies." She suggested last night that the boys' conversations could have been taped because the police now have new facts and evidence to justify the re-arrest. Grace also mentioned that Joran van der Sloot has now officially presented 23 different versions of what happened that evening!

Hopefully, this turn of events will shed some light on a puzzle that had been looking quite insoluble.

Sigrid Macdonald

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Our Fascination with True Crime

I have lost count of the number of days that poor Natalee Holloway has been missing. Like many other people, I fear that her case may remain a mystery unless her body washes up on shore or one of the guys gets drunk and says something idiotically incriminating. It's a tragedy, however, the more I see of Natalee and her family on TV, the more worried I become about the way that we report the news.

There is such a fine line between reporting and sensationalizing. Long ago, both network and cable TV realized that true crime was profitable. Viewers are fascinated. People tuned in in droves to watch OJ's famous car chase. I can hardly remember the car that I drove 12 years ago but I will never forget OJ's Bronco!

As sad as the disappearance of Natalee Holloway is, how did it manage to displace Africa or Iraq in the news? Why is it more important than the bombings in London? Is it because the news itself is so horrific, overwhelming and unbearably depressing that we would prefer to focus on one single individual rather than to mourn for the multitudes? There is a phenomenon called "compassion fatigue." That's what happens when people are subjected to too much sorrow or bad news. They can't respond appropriately anymore; they have to numb themselves out a bit.

Perhaps it is easier to compulsively follow true crime stories such as Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, Elizabeth Smart, JonBenet Ramsey, and Cecilia Zhang. That way we can relate and identify with that one individual. We can collect data and follow the facts day in and day out, so that we try to be amateur detectives. Does this explain the popularity of shows like Law and Order or CSI and authors like Ann Rule?

I'm not saying that Natalee doesn't deserve media attention. She does, however, the publicity that she is receiving is way out of proportion to her place in the world.

OTOH, we seem to have very ambivalent feelings about true crime. For example, the recent movie about Karla Homolka, and her sociopathic husband Paul Bernardo, was banned at the Montreal film Festival. I know that the families of the victims did not want that movie to be made and I sympathize with them. Truly, my heart breaks for the Frenchs and the Mahaffeys.

However, the movie MONSTER was a blockbuster hit in the theater earlier this year. It was all about one of the first female serial killers. What about movies like Hotel Rwanda or Schindler's List? Are people only allowed to make movies about war and murder if there is some redeeming social value to them? Ridiculous! We can't pretend that these events never happened like the Holocaust deniers. Better to analyze them out in the open so as never to forget what the dark side of human nature can do.

You may not agree with my opinion. I welcome dissent and discourse. Please sign my guestbook or make a comment on my blog. Thanks!

Sigrid Macdonald

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mrs. Missing

There are a number of different ways that women can disappear. They can be kidnapped and murdered, or they can leave town or get married! Excuse me for being facetious tonight but this afternoon I made 32 phone calls trying to track down an old friend of mine from grad school.

Firstly, women disappear because Bell Canada encourages them not to list their full first name in the phone book. When I lived in Toronto, Bell wanted me to list my name as S. Macdonald but I refused because there were dozens of S. Macdonalds in the phone book. I knew that no one would be able to find me that way whereas everyone would find Sigrid immediately because it's so distinct.

Secondly, women fade into that huge Bermuda Triangle once they get married since they usually take on their husband's name. I seriously doubt that my good friend from grad school has been abducted by aliens, and I have ruled out her listing herself by her initial by my 32 ambitious phone calls. Thus, she either moved, had a sex change operation or got married.

I have nothing against marriage but it's awkward for everyone when women give up their maiden names -- or even their names from their first marriage -- because it makes them so damn difficult to locate. WOMEN - Sign up with so that all of your old friends can find you!

Sigrid Macdonald