By Jorge Reyes
Lately, the news media on TV, the Internet and the blogosphere is filled with news about Casey Anthony, the Orlando tot mom accused of killing in 2008 her two year old daughter, Caley Marie Anthony.
Interesting enough, every time I read something about it in an opinion page there is the almost immediate apology from the writer, a sort of mea culpa for being so riveted by this court drama. I must say I have also become a daily fan of the Anthony dysfunction, which is broadcast live on HLN every day, and then continues throughout the rest of the night. I recently caught myself flipping through HLN and CNN Anderson Cooper just to make sure I was not missing anything.
My own fascination was something of a mistake. When the trial started, I tried to give it but a passive glance on TV and then tried to go about my business. That is what I did with the OJ Simpson trial more than a decade ago. Little by little, though, this time around I became fascinated by tot mom, to paraphrase Nancy Grace.
What does this say about how we, as a culture, respond to the dark side within us, a dark side that seem to be so gratified by the tragedy of the death, or murder, of an innocent two year old.
Not sure how to answer that question.
I think that some of the answer lies in the fact that this is uncanny, cognitively senseless. Unlike what some TV commentators have said, I don’t think Cindy Anthony is a sociopath or suffering from some deep seated mental disorder. I think she is as normal as you and me. I also equally believe she is gloating in her five minutes of fame.
But these are some of the facts, and it is a circus show.
Casey Anthony, a beautiful 25 year old party girl, who had a daughter out of wedlock, seems to have been a loving mom, but who also had a love hate relationship with her own mom, Cindy Anthony, the woman who just days earlier blamed herself for having done some of those sinister google search, like "chloroform". She denied having searched "shovel", though she remembers seeing a pop up about "neck breaking" feat on youtube. Casey, a liar who knows no bounds and who is very good at convincing people of them. Then there is her brother, Lee, who breaks down in the witness stand admonishing himself for having failed the little girl as an uncle. There are many secrets in this family, and none of it makes much sense unless to me. When the patriarch of the family, George, testifies he seems to be on the defensive. At the beginning of the trial it was hinted that this death was a freakish accident, that the little girl drowned in the family pool, something everyone in the family knew about.
Let us not forget the equally bizarre jinx of those waiting outside the courtroom waiting and hoping to be one of the lucky few to get a ticket into the trial. I suppose that accused murderers have replaced singers and sports players as icons. Forget about a Madonna concert, a murder trial is the only thing that seems to rid ourselves of our ennui. Don’t any of these people work? I have a friend in Italy that follows the live trial everyday. I even have a friend who confessed to me that he wanted to write a letter to Casey Anthony in jail hoping for a reply. He was hoping to sell the letter at auction.
While all of this is going on, there are even Anthony family mementos being sold online, mainly on EBAY. Recently, a baseball signed "Jesus Loves You, Cindy Anthony", sold for about $250.00.
This entire trial is a modern day tragedy. It reeks of decomposition, from which one day we are told it is the smell of a dead body and the next that it is the smell of pizza. What a show. No wonder we are all riveted by this. It is a trial filled with lies, betrayals, hints of incest, murder. Shakespeare could have done no better.
When I stare at the glassy eyed face of Casey Anthony, I see a void within as much as the void that exists in our society, me included. Lest we forget, this is not about a dysfunctional, circus like atmosphere of a family at odds with itself. This is about the life of a little girl who, no matter how she died and I doubt it if any of us will ever find out the truth, had her life tragically taken away from her by the negligence of a mother who, ironically, tattood on her shoulders bella vita, beautiful life in Italian, when her daughter was dead. Bella vita, yes, something Caley Anthony will never know.
25 June, 2011
By Jorge Reyes