Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Let's Get Serious

by Diane Fanning

It is easy get distracted by the bizarre in the unfolding Casey Anthony story. It seems like every time you turn around, there is something new. A defense attorney under investigation by the bar trying to smuggle a bracelet his client; a PR flack hiding behind an alias as he weaves a mask of deception on more than one level; a utility worker who either lusted for his five minutes of fame or dedicated himself to being a good citizen—or both—the list never ends. From the moment Casey opened her mouth to relate her poorly plotted fiction about the events of June and July of last year, the story just keeps getting stranger.

Last week, it was the “Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll.” Eighteen inches high and cute as a button, this doll even sang "You are My Sunshine" just as Caylee did in the bittersweet video we’ve seen on television and on-line. This new creation was from Jamie Saucedo of Showbiz Promotions—the company that brought us the Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy, the Sarah Palin red-white-and-blue boxers and a t-shirt proclaiming one’s faith in Bigfoot.

When questioned about the motivation for producing this doll, Saucedo said that: “She’ll be a banner for missing and exploited children and people will know and have a better idea of how to handle those situations.”

I guess I missed something. Pardon my sarcasm, but I thought the doll sung a sweet little song. I didn’t realize she also lectured on keeping your child safe.

He also claimed a portion of the profits would go to a national missing and exploited children’s organization which he could not name because of the agency’s policy. What?

Do you buy the doll for a gift? For whom? To a grieving mother whose child has actually been abducted? Wouldn’t that be like telling her that you don’t believe her story and think she did something to her child?

For a toddler to hug and hold and sleep with at night? How do you explain the supposed inspirational quality of the doll without creating separation anxiety and hellish nightmares for the little girl you gifted?

The voices in opposition shouted loud and long, making enough of a racket that one day after the announcement of the doll, the company reversed course. They claimed that they abandoned plans to market and sell the doll because of the public outcry. So , why was the doll still on the website yesterday morning. Why when I clicked “add to cart” did I still get a message telling me that my Caylee doll will ship February 28?

The theatre of the absurd continued when another doll hit the market last week. An even more macabre doll—the Casey Anthony Voodoo Doll created by an artist in New Orleans—popped up on eBay. Where else but New Orleans, the home of the pin-filled souvenir and voodoo blackened beer.

Soon, those dolls were pulled from the market, too. Since the artist pasted a photograph of Casey’s head on to the face of each doll, it was a violation of third-party copyright laws. eBay pulled the products off of their site. That only made way for other faceless voodoo dolls still bearing Casey’s name.

Sitting on the sidelines, it can all be quite amusing.

But we need to maintain our focus—to be serious about what is at the core of all this entertainment, hype and drama. It is about a little girl who deserved to live. It would be tragic if this toddler lost her life in an automobile collision or died from a physical malady. But this story surpasses mere tragedy because her life was stolen not by careless driving or a serious illness but through an act of murder. And then her lifeless body was discarded like useless trash.

We need to remember that it isn’t about the sideshow of eccentric characters, bizarre maneuvers or titillating photographs. And, even though, Casey Anthony faces the serious criminal charge of intentional homicide, it isn’t even all about Casey.

It is all about the quest for justice for one very innocent victim.

It’s all about Caylee.



Anonymous said...

Murder is not entertainment. Nor is it a golden opportunity to make a fast buck. Murder brutally takes away a real human life and makes the lives of the family left behind into a Hell on earth. Because it's a news story, it's public property. I find this company's exploitation of Caylee to be both tasteless and cruel.

Unknown said...

You are not alone in that sentiment, Jan. If the purpose was to raise money for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children the company could have produced a doll--or a collection of dolls--and promoted them on the basis of the donation. There was no need to attach Caylee's name to the product.