Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Photos Guaranteed to Put You off Your Feed for a Week

Going back to the Texas FLDS child-rape cult for a moment, if I may. I caught the ooo-weeeee exclusive closeup with an FLDS family report on the execrable Situation Room on CNN a few weeks back (available here) and was struck at the time by Wolf Blitzer's reaction of "Wow, great reporting," which I suppose was accurate if what he meant by that was wow, great reporting of exactly what the family in question told you, with no probing followup questions or, apparently, any critical thought at all.

The reporter, Gary Tuchman, marveled at the "children who seem very happy, even joyous... they were polite, smiling..." over footage of a half-dozen blond kidlets bouncing on the trampoline and eating dinner. The father, Chris Wyler (who was 16 when he married; the mother was 17), scoffs wonderingly at allegations of abuse.
"People here are taught that we're never ever supposed to yell at our children. When the children do something wrong, we're supposed to not, you know, even raise our voice any more than this... and there's no way anybody I know would ever abuse their wife."

Well, then, glad that's settled. That's the convenient thing about defining your own terms, I suppose; if abuse only equals spanking and yelling, then heaven no, there's no abuse here. At least not in this family, and at least not while the camera is rolling. The reporter might have inquired whether Mr. Wyler considers forcing an underage girl into sex toy/brood mare status constitutes abuse. Amazingly, he didn't take that opportunity.

Tuchman: If he married another woman, and she was right for the family, would that be okay with you?
Lydia: [silent]
Chris, jumping in: Well, it's part of our culture.
Lydia, snapping back to awareness and shrugging: Well, it's what we believe.

No word on what Chris and Lydia's reaction would be if their eldest daughter, who appears to be in the prime 12-to-14-year-old marrying range, were given to some older guy on orders of the prophet. And with that we're back to scenes of the happy family intercut with shots of Warren Jeffs, who Lydia is certain has been unjustly convicted. Asked what she thinks of him, she smiles her vague smile and says, "I know he's our prophet."

Something else she should know is that he, and all the people who follow him unquestioningly, are pedophile fucktards. Click over to The Smoking Gun for some of Warren Jeffs' myriad wedding photos, if you have the stomach, and then try to tell me with a straight face that this group's religious beliefs really ought to be respected and accommodated.

I would really have loved for CNN to have included even one of those snapshots in its breathtaking coverage of the Wyler family. Had one of the details been flipped, say making FLDS a cult centered on the rape of young boys by creepy older guys, would the network have gone to such pains to portray the "normalcy" of the family and marvel about the kids' good dispositions and flawless manners? I rather think not.

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