a bird and a bottle

The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships
April 18, 2007, 9:29 am
Filed under: news, news & views, wider world

It’s an old trope. In 1590’s Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe wrote of Helen of Troy, the woman over whom the Trojan Wars were fought:

Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.

Ah yes, the trope of the beautiful woman who drives men to violence over her.

And it only took a day for it to reappear. Which it did with utter lack of taste in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph (an Australian paper).

The headline of the article reads: “Was Gunman Crazed over Emily?” And the lede, next to a big picture of a beautiful teenage girl:

THIS is the face of the girl who may have sparked the worst school shooting in US history.

The speculation, of course, is about whether the Virginia Tech shooter, who killed this young woman and the RA who tried to help her first, was set off on his violent rampage because of some unrequited love for her. If that’s true — and it seems from the news reports that the shooter did have a history of stalking — then it’s terrible. But it’s also not right or appropriate to say that she sparked the shooting. She was murdered. The blame for this atrocious act cannot be placed at her feet.

(via WIMN’s voices; also at LG&M)


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

ewww. though now they’ve added a link to an explanation (not apology) of why they ran the story the way they did. there’s a place to comment too and people are ripping in to them.

Comment by maxwell

As people should be. I noted in my comments to this post over at LG&M that I have a realyl hard time when the finger pointing starts after tragedies like this (here we’ve got fingers pointed at: video games, the NRA, etc.). The politicking makes me uncomfortable. But I felt like this was *so* outrageous as to warrant mention. And it’s not so much a finger point as a finger wag (as Colbert would say).

Comment by bean

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