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(DV) Davis: The Prince of Darkness







The Prince of Darkness
by Walter A. Davis
September 1, 2006

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Fitzgerald: “The rich are very different from you and me.”

Hemingway: “Yes, they have more money.”

--  Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Well I sure am glad I published my editorial on the Karr fiasco before Wednesday’s events. So that as prophet or moonlight gambler I could give you a “scoop” by telling ahead of time what the DNA would reveal. And as the lone honest reporter in this whole sorry mess, I could also tell you the facts that are known by all and that the official media could have presented were it not for the fact that they don’t give a rat’s ass about informing the public. After all, tabloid Amerika must be entertained.

Continuing in a spirit of prophetic utterance, let me share with you a few predictions about the Spin that is going to be put on all of this. Oh, have no fear, heads are going to roll in the Boulder D.A.’s office and frauds like the journalism professor who concocted Karr are going to be exposed. But the grand architect of the whole thing is going to escape unscathed. Hell, he’ll be on Larry King, probably by tonight, proclaiming that this is another victory for the Ramseys. (Or, as Pam, Patsy’s sister put it on the Today show this morning: “this is a bump in the road” but we know the killer is out there; “maybe two killers in fact,” Pam added introducing a novel theory that should keep investigators busily scurrying for new suspects. In fact, News Flash: the authorities in Boulder are now claiming that the investigation of Karr has produced new leads.)

But before Lin Wood makes his next appearance on Larry King -- where for years he has enjoyed countless opportunities to present his views without any alternatives being given equal time -- I want to offer him here a chance to take a well deserved bow. For he is the prime architect of the farce that reached hilarious proportions in the Karr fiasco. You see, Wood is one crafty lawyer and knows that the threat of lawsuit is the surest way to force everyone to comply with his dictates. He’s had some success at this practice (hell, he’s got a Jaguar and a thoroughbred racehorse or two). And so he’s been able for years to cower the Boulder authorities and the legal system into submission. His finest hour came when he manipulated Judge Carnes into stating that the Ramseys were innocent. (On this see my Monday editorial) This led in turn to the capitulation of Mary Lacy, the Boulder D.A.: facing Wood’s continued threat to sue the city of Boulder, she issued a public statement saying she agreed with Carnes. And so the hunt was on that eventually led to Mr. Karr. It’s the taxpayers of Boulder who should be suing Lin Wood, but you can be sure that Mr. Slick has covered his ass from day one and so, his britches bursting with bucks, will mount his Thoroughbred and ride off into the sunset, smirking, and pure as the driven snow.

For those who can’t wait for Larry King, here’s a prediction of what Wood will tell Larry’s breathless viewers. This “bump in the road” has grieved the poor Ramseys, but these things take time. Other suspects must be investigated. (Sidebar: the Ramseys have made a cottage industry fingering new suspects, including many of their closest friends.) In fact, the Karr investigation is really a triumph of the Justice system. DNA works (!) and unlike the original investigators who rushed to judgment to finger the parents, the Boulder authorities apprehended a dangerous man before he could hurt other children and then followed proper procedure in not charging him with a crime but, ala CSI, used scientific evidence to determine his innocence. Even if we don’t eventually find the person whose DNA is in those panties, the one thing we know for sure is that the Ramseys are innocent.

As I demonstrated in Monday’s editorial, this thesis and the logic behind it is a tissue of falsehoods. But will the official media correct any of it? Will they now allow us to know what experts like Henry Lee and Cyril Wecht have asserted for quite some time: namely, that this is not a case that will ever be solved by DNA. Moreover, that it is specifically DNA science that leads to this conclusion!

One of our deepest beliefs is in the right of everyone charged with or being investigated for a crime to an attorney. And as you all know, in Amerika you get the best defense that money can buy. However, there comes a point at which the actions of some lawyers -- the manipulation of the media through information known to be false, the constant use of threats of lawsuits to coerce investigative bodies, the manipulation of a credulous District Court Judge to pressure her to render an opinion beyond the scope of the legal matter before her -- overstep all canons of legal restraint and amount not only to a blatant miscarriage of Justice but a deliberate perversion of the Legal System itself. Lin Wood crossed this line long ago. Moreover, when one does such things on behalf of those who behaved toward a child the way the Ramseys did toward theirs, one’s actions also constitute a perversion of another kind: an effort to serve the belief that children are chattel. And if the stable grinds out Fillies . . . in the eagerness to line his pockets, Mr. Wood has set an example that shames the practice of law. If anyone should be exposed as a fraud, it is he. But this won’t happen for one simple reason. The official media are in complicity with the game he’s taught them to play. All JonBenét Ramsey ever was to them was a cash cow they could whore to serve their own whoredom. But they aren’t alone. We are also complicit in this game. In fact, most Amerikans can’t get enough of it.

We live in tabloid culture. Everyone reads the paper and watches the News with their hands in their pants. But Repression is the great balm that delivers us from the threat of self-knowledge. (Ahh, yes, the Viennese quack still has so much to teach us.) So let’s at least have the courage to admit it: most people don’t care about what happened to JonBenét Ramsey or the sexual abuse of children or the cancer of child beauty pageants. Because there is one psychological Law that is now as solidly established as the Law of gravity: anytime knowledge involves psychological pain, Amerikans will reject that knowledge. [1]

And so, if there is some place in your heart that bleeds the next time you look at the JonBenét videos -- if there is something that cries out “how could anyone do that to a child? -- if you are still capable of suffering the News and not just being voyeuristically entertained by it, then pay tribute to Howard Beale, the mad prophet of the airwaves in Paddy Chayevsky’s great (and now truly contemporary) 1976 film Network, when he said: “I want you to get up now, get up, go to your windows, open them and shout out: ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.’” Go ahead, do it, get up now, open the window and shout it: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Walter A. Davis is an actor, playwright, and cultural critic. His plays include An Evening With JonBenet Ramsey (Authors Choice P, 2004). His most recent work of cultural criticism is Death’s Dream Kingdom: The American Psyche Since 9-11. For further description of his work see www.walteradavis.com. He may be reached at: davis.65@osu.edu.


[1] Even the best lack the courage needed to form the only hypothesis that can account for all the evidence that has now been established in this case. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Thomas, formerly of the Boulder PD, for all the work he did establishing the evidence pointing to Patsy as the murderer. Sadly, however, Thomas recoiled from the horror of the crime, offering a hypothesis (JonBenét’s death was an accident during a dispute over bedwetting) that was easy grist for Wood’s mill. Because Thomas could not see that horror in terms of the psyches of JonBenét’s parents, Wood could use all the violent and sexually horrifying details of JonBenét’s death (and the signs of her prior sexual abuse) to make mock of Thomas’ explanation. One could not, perhaps, find a better example of how Repression works. (1) Thomas could know everything and refuse to believe what the facts told him. (2) Wood could invoke the same facts sure that vast audiences would agree that no parent could ever do such a thing. Either way we are absolved of psychological knowledge.

For an extended psychoanalytic discussion of all this I must again refer the reader to my book An Evening With JonBenét Ramsey. But here’s one final prediction you can take to the bank. Some media may now capitalize on the Karr fiasco by suggesting, though timidly, that perhaps we should take another look at the parents as the perps. However, the kind of psychological knowledge that is required to begin thinking clearly not only about the Ramsey case but also about what has happened collectively in the Amerikan psyche since (say) 9-11 will remain something that the American public will not be permitted to entertain. Perish the thought. After all, who will read papers or watch shows that make them feel bad, let alone ones that ask them to examine their own psyches and look at the ways in which the Ramsey story is really about the fate of the American family and the destiny of the child in late capitalism? 

Other Articles by Walter A. Davis

* J’Accuse: The Latest Ramsey Fiasco and the Responsibility of the Media
* Mendacity: The Prospects of Progressive Theater Under Capitalism
* The Play's the Thing: Censorship, Theatre and Ideology
* Life on Death Row