This morning I came across a variation on this headline. As I stared at it, I dimly recalled the story when it first came out. A super-famous Scottish actor's daughter had died at a music festival. I felt a bit sad because B.A. and I have seen the actor dozens of times in reruns of Taggart and that created the illusion of familiarity.
What I didn't know was that the girl was 24 and died screaming from a drug overdose she allegedly got from her boyfriend, who filmed her as she died.
If you want more lurid details, here's the Daily Mail.
I've lived in Scotland for almost ten years, and I've seen some disadvantaged Scottish girls. If this girl had come from any number of poor areas I know, I would have put down her terrible death to cultural and economic deprivations caused by historical factors (e.g. the collapse of heavy industry in Scotland) beyond her control. But this girl's dad is one of Scotland's biggest stars.
However, there is a historical factor that must have seemed beyond her control, and it is the ongoing and incredibly stupid Sexual Revolution. In fact, the casualness with which a young man treats his "best girl" must be getting worse. Even the moronic "Hey, baby, relaaaax" of my own morally unserious generation has been replaced by "Sort yourself out, bro, battle through the ting."
I realise that there must be husbands and wives who drop acid or smoke hash together or whatever, but I really can't imagine a young husband not going for medical help for his desperately ill young wife.
From the Independent: "Defending Broughton, Stephen Kamlish QC said he and Michie 'were in love with each other.'
Yeah, sure. Nothing says love like (allegedly) giving a girl dangerous drugs, recording her as she screams in agony, and not getting help.
What a sad story.
Update: The bereaved father would agree with me on the "he didn't love her" front.
The good news, such as it is, is he is being charged with drug supply and manslaughter (for failing to get assistance just 400m away).ReplyDelete
There is a special place in Hell for such people as her 'boyfriend' (and perhaps intransigent EU bureaucrats).
If I may be controversial though, I suspect her death is less to do with the lower level of care a boyfriend may show than a fiance or husband, and more to do with the lower 'cultural value' he viewed her with.
He brought sexist, brutal anti-women rap culture (how many famous rappers are currently facing abuse of women charges?) to their relationship, and I would suggest reading the late Malcolm X (of Nation of Islam) autobiography for his views on the attraction African men seem to have for blonde white women, and the brutal treatment given to such women (Malcolm X himself was African-American and had a white married girlfriend and set up his BFF with her teen sister, then got them into a home burglary ring!).
I only suggest that, as this 'boyfriends' claimed love for the dead lass is incompatible with his refusal to get treatment, and the culture he is immersed in devalues women in general, and blonde, rich white girls specifically.
So sad. May God have mercy on her soul, and his for his unspeakable in/actions.
A good example to cite when teaching teen girls about how to keep themselves safe. Danger can come from those who claim to 'love you', and it was her parents who raced to her aid.
The UK also has some difficult questions around racism and culture, thanks in part to unprecedented waves of immigration after the Second World War. After 1066, there wasn't much migration to the British Isles: some Huguenots fleeing persecution in France, French aristocrats fleeing the 18th century Terror, a few African slaves, a few foreign servants, and then some Jewish migration in the 19th century, mostly to London.ReplyDelete
Thus, the war-ravaged British, whose antipathy to foreigners is such a comic feature of Agatha Christie novels, were not really ready to cope with mass migration. And the Caribbeans, in particular, who were expressly invited by the British government, were surprised to discover what a poor, rainy, depressing and dirty country they had been brought up to believe as the summit of the British Empire. (A devastating six year war, hundreds of thousands of men died, cities and civilians bombed to smithereens, hello!)
The upshot was racial tensions, which still continue, and they are on top of class tensions, which still exist and are pretty horrible.
Therefore critically examining what African-American hiphop and rap culture is doing to young Britons is a dangerous thing to do, as more than one British cultural icon has found out.
And, yes, rap culture is appalling, and sexist racism, including using blonde, blue-eyed white girls as trophies/objects of revenge, is horrible. I have never been able to read a book by Philip Roth, to use a non-black example, after reading a simply hateful passage about the sexual exploitation of/ sexual revenge on a WASP girl. And, of course, I am very well aware of of racist sexist violence against white girls in the UK by Pakistani British men.ReplyDelete
Can I just give a shout out to the stupid smartphones that folk use to film all and everything? During the last fortnight a woman was killed in a road traffic accident here in Ireland and was decapitated. That video was put online by people who are not, we hope, psychopaths. Imagine that poor family's grief compounded by the photos out there for all to see.ReplyDelete
What possesses people to film such things as if putting the barrier of the phone between them and the scene makes them somehow invisible and invincible? The all-seeing eye films you and you can't see me behind it. It makes my skin crawl.
May The Good Lord have mercy on the 2 women and give comfort to their families.
Oh gosh. That's awful. But I'm tempted to say "smartphones don't dehumanise people; people dehumanise people." Clearly parents and teachers need to deal with the new technology by teaching children ethical codes like "Never film a person's death and post it online." The Ancient Greeks, in whose plays death always had to take place offstage, would think our age, though wealthy and magical, morally disgusting.ReplyDelete
Sinead - so true, but the recent popes have noted tech is morally neutral. The flip side is the rapper boyfriend above was daft enough to film his callous disregard for his girlfriends last moments (and after her death!), furnishing evidence for his own prosecution! Without tech, he would walk.ReplyDelete
Mrs Mac - yes, the current British/Western cultural climate leaves women exposed to some vile, abusive men & culture, who have been raised to think that behaviour is ok. Which always makes me wonder about the apparent indifference of these young women's mothers, older sisters, church elders, etc. Why do none of them seem to take these girls aside and school them on the hazards of such men as this 'boyfriend'? I know that may engender pushback, but if done gently, perhaps?
It's truly heartbreaking to see lambs led to the slaughter, even if the lamb is silly enough to go willingly with an obvious wolf. And it makes you wonder where the shepherds are. St Germaine Cousin of Pibrac, pray for the lambs & shepherdesses!
Hmm, I know gender is a big part of this tragic case but it also makes me think of some of the horrific deaths that have occurred as part of fraternity hazings (and those were men interacting with men). There was a truly awful story of a kid who drunkenly fell down a flight of stairs and died of internal bleeding the next morning. There was a security camera inside the house so it's clear that the other frat guys knew that something was wrong but didn't want to call an ambulance and risk getting their party broken up. (For example, one of the frat boys was an EMT and did a test for internal bleeding, and then told the frat president that the kid failed the test...but neither called 911.)ReplyDelete
Anyway, the similarity I see is that in both cases the men were more concerned with self-preservation and avoid legal trouble for the drugs/alcohol than they cared about others lives. Rap culture might contribute to that, but I can think of several other prevailing social values that tell individuals, men especially, to value their own comfort over anyone else's live.