Idiots Of The Week #2: BBC Reporting Scotland, Luke Mitchell
entry posted by Inquisitor at 20:29
edited on: 08/05/2005 19:06.
(Yes, a running series! And why not? Gives me a reason to write.)
Those of you who don't live in Scotland may not be familiar with the Jodie Jones murder case, not having had it hammered into their heads over the last three months, so I'll refresh your memories. A couple of years ago, the said Jodie Jones (a 14-year old teenager from the Easthouses council estate, an area of Edinburgh I know fairly well) ended up missing after going out to meet her boyfriend, a neddish scumbag by the name of Luke Mitchell. Later on, the body ends up being discovered just off her route to Mitchell's house, Mitchell made an absolute ass of himself both at the funeral and on Sky News, and the police process the information.
Of course, as it turns out, she did meet her boyfriend... (at least according to majority verdict.)
The Scottish media have not exactly been forward with their tact - all the newspapers had a shot of somewhat childish glee at revealing that Mitchell was the one charged with the murder pretty much the second he turned 16 - and they're even less likely to gain it now. It has been like this throughout the long, sordid, endless trial - every single night on Reporting Scotland we got a trial update, despite the fact that the evidence was always the bloody same. Just think of what the front pages are going to be like tomorrow...
And bad things are going to happen because of this; in fact, the trailer for Up Next on Reporting Scotland is what triggered me to write this. Because Jodie was one of the supposed subculture who call themselves 'goths' and consider themselves to be 'individual', and Mitchell claimed to be too, the media has found a Blame Target. And it's the same blame target as the US media found after Columbine - Marilyn Manson. As they just said: "Did the music of the rock star Marilyn Manson really influence the killer's actions?"
Well, let's see...
A) MM's painting of the Black Dahlia murders, shown on his website, isn't exactly unique to the genre. No-one's even proved to me that Mitchell even visited the website...
B) As the BBC Scotland article I linked to just above admits, but Reporting Scotland doesn't seem to be, Mitchell bought the Golden Age Of Grotesque album-with-free-DVD featuring images vaguely like said murder two days after Jodie was murdered. Oops.
("This DVD may explain how he became...a cold-blooded killer" says the idiot reporter, right now. DO THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THEIR OWN REPORTS?)
C) As anyone who's actually listened to his music knows, Marilyn Manson is taking the piss. If there is a message in his music, it's "don't trust other people's bullshit", which is an excellent message and one I approve of highly, especially in the case of Reporting Scotland. The trappings around him? It's just theatrics. Look at his appearance in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, for instance - "I wouldn't say anything to them. I'd just listen... because no-one else did." The guy understands. He's just the new Alice Cooper, designed to piss off your parents, so lay off him.
D) There is much, much worse out there than Marilyn Manson - and I suspect Luke Mitchell may in fact known about some of it, or at least read about it. But of course, MM's name is recognisable while most of the really seamy end of the music scale isn't, so that's what gets in the media.
E) It's quite possible that angry music like MM's might actually help people get over their rage against the society they feel mistreats them - the whole 'punch in the air' thing. Radiohead and New Order did it for me, but hey, everybody's different.
So the answer to the question is, of course, no. MM is merely a symptom, as is Mitchell's self-professed 'Satanism'. Mitchell is clearly a screwed-up character; the Satanism crap and attachment to the weird end of the Gothic bandwagon is obviously a cover for real psychological problems, none of which will be solved by sending him to jail forever.
(My own suspicion? Jodie found about about his side girlfriend, and he flipped out on her. Full stop. And as Larkin said, 'they fuck you up, your mum and dad', and Luke Mitchell's amoral, uncaring, truly vile mother definitely fits the bill.)
The big problem is that this will cause a backlash, just like Columbine caused a backlash, against anyone who doesn't fit in. Just when you thought it couldn't get much worse for people who aren't 'normal' in school, something like this happens and you know it's going to. Wear black? Listen to Marilyn Manson? Use the Internet, not just for MSN? Be a bit 'weird'? We'll keep an eye on you! Never mind that you may have no intention of killing or hurting anyone - like most fans, in fact, of Marilyn Manson, all of whom take pride in being a 'rebel against conformity' by buying his albums en masse - you're marked! Even those with problems (and most MM fans are well adjusted members of society) only really need a little understanding; but, by God, we'll give them punishment!
This is, of course, something that will create more problems than it solves - because, of course, if the supposed 'goths' genuinely are persecuted, they may develop complexes like Mitchell's about it and we'll get a Scottish Columbine (with school layouts the way they are, it's very possible - a big enough knife and/or the right bits of the Anarchist's Cookbook and it'll take Armed Response to stop it), the media will blame it on Marilyn Manson and/or the Internet and the entire thing will full circle again. It's a horrifying prospect, and one that could very well be happening, in Britain, right now. Isn't that scary?
[In fact, isn't the possibility of blaming it on the Net why the pigs scoured the Mitchells' computers, discovering as a sideline that Luke's brother was viewing porno at the time of the murder? I suppose when they found that out at least some of the feeling was that of a missed opportunity...]
The best thing I can say is: the case is extremely abnormal, and can be simply explained in two words. We shouldn't make it normal, but our media looks like it's going to keep trying...
[I might as well, also, do this fine Googlebomb for Manic: we're all talking about the White House's empty rhetoric. After all, the ignorant bigots one was successful, so why not give this one a go? It's for a good cause.]