Sunday, 23 August 2009

Jasmine Fiore and the Culture of Celebrity

The delightful Lex over at sooperserial1 blew smoke signals to me about this. I clicked on the link and stared back at Ryan Alexander Jenkins. After reading the piece I was mildly surprised but not shocked. Murder occurs everyday. The surprise was that it was TMZ breaking news.

TMZ is the site that broke Michael Jackson’s passing2. I am a (5th estate) blogger in contrast and competition with the 4th estate mainstream (corporate) media. The worldwide web is the people’s newscast.

TMZ is owned by Warner Bros.

So how successful do you become before you sell out to The Man who welcomes you into the corridors of power? Son.

After reading the Ryan Jenkins piece I clicked over to Ricky Robot3 as is my wont. I trust his judgement and wordings. His posted opinion generated a response of consensus: pity for the victim, a rush to judgement and condemnation of Ryan’s flight. Ricky also pointed out some reactions from TMZ readers - they were sneering, insulting and heartless.

These reactions couldn’t be more typical. The internet serves as a gossip hole for those who choose. Gossips – idle talkers, tattlers4 – tend to spread their bile with the proviso “don’t tell anyone”. If you do they’ll deny you. Online they operate with complete anonymity. Online they monger with complete immunity from responsibility. These are the people who will not say such things in public. By definition these people are cowards. Their words are to be treated like bile – a putrid waste.

Who was Jasmine Fiore and why did someone kill her?

Jasmine’s death did not shock me. Murders occur everyday. 69 British Armed Forces personnel have died5 in Afghanistan this year alone – the last two on 20th August since Jasmine’s body was discovered. On 26th July Nigerian police began a two-day battle against anarchists/terrorists resulting in 150 deaths6. This United Kingdom is still shocked over the infanticide of Baby Peter Connelly[7][8].

80% of murdered women are killed by men. Between a third and half are married to their spouses9. These fractions do not include boyfriends, fiancés, common-law husbands and exes of all variations. Simply put if a woman is murdered odds are it’s by a current or former lover.

Scott Peterson10

Round up the usual suspects.

I believe in democracy and in freedom for all men (not just white men). I’m willing to fight for it (though I’d rather die for Christ). A fundamental right in a democracy is the presumption of innocence11. Corporate media do their best to usurp this right by cheerleading the public opinion lynch mob. This salaciousness sells copy. Yet every compos mentis citizen has the choice to defer to due process and allow the legal system to run its course on the matter in hand. So it is with dismay that I read coherent responses12 that rush to judgement. How can an opinion be valid when it is based on prejudice? How can a man be judged by such peers? How can he expect a fair trial?

Ryan Alexander Jenkins has not been seen or heard of since he reported his wife missing on 15th August hours after her remains were discovered. 18th August police named him as ‘a person of interest’. 20th August Orange County DA charged him with Jasmine’s murder.

Ryan Alexander Jenkins is a fugitive. His ongoing attempt to evade law enforcement is not an admission of guilt. Neither is it a proclamation of innocence. The flight issue should not be read either way. To those who condemn him for it I beg the question – would an innocent man flee from a lynch mob?

There are those who do not trust the law13. There are those who believe the judicial system is prejudicial, biased and/or panders to the gallery of public opinion[14][15]. With every trial the judiciary has the opportunity to validate justice. Have law enforcement apprehend the suspect and let the courts take their course. Opinions can be rendered post verdict; when they can do no harm.

I raised the question of a fair trial over at Ricky Robot’s site16. Ryan is Canadian. I have no knowledge of the Canadian media but here in Britain the guidelines curtail squealer-like mass coverage on the facts (and implied guilt or innocence) pre verdict. If Ryan has fled to Canada he and his lawyers will have motive for fighting extradition – the media coverage has prejudiced the possibility of a fair trial.

The corporate media are in the business of selling news not information dissemination. They’re not here to help Jasmine - they’re here to sell copy. If by doing so they inadvertently help Ryan Jenkins then call it collateral editorial damage.

Ryan was a contestant on Megan Wants a Millionaire. The show was airing before and after the murder and has been cancelled since the news broke. Hence the media coverage is understandable – but the tone isn't.

Here in the UK MTV is airing New York Goes to Hollywood (Vh1 UK airs music). The network hasn’t aired Charm School 3 or I Love Money 1 let alone Megan… yet the UK media are covering this story.

The keyword is ‘Playboy’.

Jasmine was a ‘Playboy™ model’. Ryan was a reality TV contestant. This is Z-List celebrity at its murkiest. Vh1 will not broadcast Megan… in the US. Perhaps elsewhere perhaps not but the show will go on. If celebrity sex tapes can be stolen and sold then so can Megan… There’s a mainstream market for it now. However that is only a somewhat possibility. The main show is the manhunt of Ryan. Then the extradition. Then the trial. Then the book. Then the movie-of-the-week.

Hollywood released a major movie out of the Black Dahlia.

They couldn’t have done it without we the people.

Megan Wants a Millionaire had a working title of Trophy Wife. In every community in every society the rich man gets the girl. Be he village doctor, council estate drug dealer or trust fund buffoon. Money attracts a certain type ie the majority. Women should be aware (though they ignore) the way a man treats his property. Ryan Alexander Jenkins is a woman beater17.

So was Frank Sinatra18.

How did Ryan pass the (presumably) criminal and psychological background checks to appear on a nationally broadcast TV show owned by a multi-national conglomerate? We may never know. Vh119 passed the buck to 51 Minds20 who have passed it to their casting company. Somebody’s got to take the bullet. Somebody insignificant. Perhaps an intern.

If money is the only language the conglomerates understand then is there a local, state or federal body that can slap Viacom and Endemol - 51 Minds parent company - with a fine? Or strong arm them into making a donation to a woman’s refuge? $1million isn’t what it used to be but it’s a gesture.

I’m a fan of celebreality; it’s entertainment. However Celebrity culture is undermining society and democracy. It is a culture where celebrities make a mockery of the law – Amy Winehouse, Pete Docherty, Kate Moss. It is a culture that is aided by the media and abetted by the public. What should be a circus is now a legitimate sport. It is avarice disguised as art. It attracts the young, the beautiful, the vulnerable, the pitiful and their neglectful parents. It attracts the corporations, the capitalists, the carpet baggers, the corrupters and the cowards.

Jasmine Fiore’s death did not shock me. It has saddened me.

She’s a celebrity now.

The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of a million is a statistic

Stalin was wrong about the last part.

Jasmine Fiore

February 18th 1981 – August 15th 2009

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