Double amputee Paralympic/Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius was formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp this morning. The subsequent media shitstorm could be much worse — remember how NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins because he "cared about her" too much? — but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
We know that Pistorius was a somewhat paranoid gun enthusiast ("Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!" he recently tweeted), that there had been previous law enforcement complaints about domestic episodes at his home, and that the prosecution plans to pursue a charge of premeditated murder against him, an (obviously) serious offense.
Other than that, we don't know much — except, of course, that Steenkamp had boobs.
The Sun's horrendous cover looks like it was co-designed by Jacqueline Susann and Bret Easton Ellis. NYC's tabloids — "Blade Gunner: Legless Olympian Charged in Murder of Model Gal Pal" and "Blade Slays Blonde" — aren't much better. Which bikini do you think is cuter?
Perhaps we should be impressed that the tabloids actually devoted so much space to Steenkamp's short existence, because the AP and New York Times were so distracted by Pistorius's athletic prowess and soulful sobbing during his murder charge that they forgot to say much about her at all.
The AP calls Steenkamp as a "leggy blonde" who apparently was a lady of many contradictions! "While known for her bikini-clad, vamping photo spreads, she tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape." Weird that she was capable of such complicated multitasking.
Meanwhile, someone at the NYT thought it would be a fantastic idea to share some photo outtakes from a testosterone-heavy photo shoot of Pistorius called "The Blade Runner in Repose"; photo after photo of Pistorius looking as sweaty, sexy, and macho as possible. Why? How does this feature help illustrate the fact that this man is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend?
Again, we don't know the facts, but prosecutors don't charge people with premeditated murder for no reason, and multiple outlets have reported that there have been previous law enforcement complaints about domestic episodes at Pistorious' home. Related: the mother of Pistorious' ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor wrote wrote on Facebook that she was "so glad that Sammy is safe and sound and out of the clutches of that man" and that "There were a few occasions where things could have gone wrong with her and his gun during the time they dated. My condolences to the family whose daughter has passed away. My heart breaks for you."
But the NYT frames Steenkamp's death as such:
"His arrest is a stark reminder that violence is an everyday face of life in South Africa, where fear of armed robberies and carjacking prompt the wealthy to take refuge in heavily guarded gated compounds and arm themselves with handguns."
The same article also goes into extremely minute detail about Pistorius's accomplishments, stuff like:
In the Paralympics, Mr. Pistorius won individual gold, successfully defending his 400-meter title. He had lost his 100- and 200-meter titles, but was part of the gold medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team. He came in second in the 200-meter race.
That's just a snippet. It's notable that Pistorius is a famous athlete, of course — that's why this case is getting so much more attention than others in South Africa and around the world — but this is hardly the time to remember his accomplishments. This is not his obituary.