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Today, anybody who had not managed to find out the information online was able to read pages of information online or print. The horrific circumstances behind Baby P’s tragic death, including details on his mother Tracey Connelly and the two men involved in the mayhem, were presented to the British public.
I was disappointed in this article in The Guardian: A monstrous evil? No, an all too familiar duplication of abuse
I can see where Anna Motz is coming from here but expected more from a practitioner armed with a sizable collection of theory and case studies. The article represented society’s drift to a philosophical liberalism in ‘understanding’ perpetrators of crime. But this kind of theorising has done little at best and nothing at worst to prevent abuse continuing. The liberal broadsheets’ obsession with explaining such ‘dysfunctional’ behaviour so that their readers will feel better about why it all happened is actually no different to the tabloids’ approach of ‘flog and hang ‘em’. I would find it far more enlightening if Ms Motz had written an article about people who had been abused in childhood but who did not then go on to abuse. I would wager that this group far outnumbers the group she so eloquently describes in this article.
An interesting book that I am reading at the moment is Commandant of Auschwitz by the notorious commandant Rudof Hoess. The allies ordered Hoess to write the book between his trial and execution and despite the original manuscript being semi-illegible, the book gives a valuable insight into how evil transcends social norms. In a superb introduction to the book the late Primo Levi wrote: “This book…………is filled with evil……it has no literary quality and reading it is agony. The author comes across as what he is: a coarse, stupid, arrogant, long winded scoundrel. And yet …..it is one of the most instructive books ever published.”
And herein lies the problem with educated people like Ms Motz trying to ‘understand’ and ‘explain’ evil; it simply does not work. How ironic that the words live and evil mirror each other.
A few weeks ago I took a long hard look at my rather portly stomach and decided enough is enough. As a young person I loved sport and participated in football, cricket, squash and even ran a marathon once. But as middle age took hold, the mind was more willing than the body and the calories were spinning round like a Catherine wheel. Result, to paraphrase Mr Micawber, was certainly not happiness – I couldn’t even find my duck in the bath.
Luckily, two nieces came to the rescue with a serious short-term fix which revolved round replacing all the nice things in life with the type of food fit for an anorexic sparrow. But you know what, three and a half weeks in, and after a table-creaking lunch of sardines and a tomato, I’m a different person. Yes, I do miss a prune danish, a bagel with 100 per cent full-fat cream chesse, a bag of crisps, the occasional pizza, pasta, cheese cake, sticky toffee pudding (I could go on). But at three kilos lighter and a more enlightened approach to food I do feel a weight is off my stomach and indeed mind.
Another, and perhaps more interesting outcome of this exercise, is noticing how many people out there are overweight, and how much junk is consumed. I’m certainly no advocate of so-called health foods, which through a cunning marketing ploy around the organic brand, has turned intelligent people into zombie-like creatures who have a penchant for giving enormous sums of money for no added value whatsoever. As the great American comedian Jackie Mason pointed out, people who buy from these types of shops look like they are on their last legs. But I do think that an ad hoc individual food audit could help many people as it has helped me. Of course I won’t spend the rest of my days without a nice baguette or pizza, but I will at least recognise that there is no such thing as a free lunch.