Where do monsters come from? Can they be people we come in contact with everyday of our lives? Sometimes, when little is known about that evening’s current event, the media tends to create their own resolution to unsolved mysteries in order to reach closure within the public. As seen in a Time magazine article, David Van Biema shows us how familiar a monster can be in our lives. He wrote the article titled “A crime in the clan” in which a 25-year-old murder case concerning the Kennedy clan is revived.
The author’s depiction of the horrific crime scene and creation of the monster in a typical pulp fiction structure can be related to Ingebretsen’s article titled “Monster-Making: A politics of persuasion. ” Like Ingebretsen, Biema uses scandal, pulp fiction metaphors, and classic movie monster making, such as the formulaic character creation, to exaggerate a crime scene placing Michael Skakel as a prime suspects in a case with no physical evidence. What initially introduces us to the monster is the public scandal as in the case of the books published concerning the murder of Martha Moxley.
Biema reports how “The latest edition of Mark Fuhrman’s Murder in Greenwhich boasts, ‘Read the book that spawned the … grand jury investigation'” (48). He acknowledges this book because he knows that he cannot create a monster without making him public first. As Ingebretsen agrees, “scandal, by definition, is never private, and so the political fantasies enacted in the name of a monster are quite public in intent” (para. 1). Precisely conforming to the idea of monster making, Biema titillates the reader by bringing forth defamatory gossip, which places Skakel in an evil position.
Biema extends his imagination with the story-like narration he uses to describe the crime scene. The horrid narrative found in the article is magnified in order to further the reader’s imagination of how brutal the murder scene was. Biema describes how Martha’s body was found the next day: “She lay in a 3-ft. pool of blood; her head had been bludgeoned some 14 times with a blunt instrument, and the sharp, broken shaft of that instrument, a Toney Penna 6-iron golf club had been driven into her throat” (47).
Instead of just briefly explaining how her body was found, Biema elaborates by exaggerating how she was in a 3-foot pool of blood when such a description would obviously be impossible. He uses words like bludgeoned to heighten the suspense and further enthrall the reader. Ingebretsen asserts the idea of how news contains the writer’s opinions by creating an entertaining story rather than an informative one: “News, of course, is narrative based and bound by point of view; thus it partakes of fictional devices as much as any strictly ‘made up’ novel” (para.
10). The key idea that Ingebretsen points out that is obvious in Biema’s article are the words “made up. ” Since this story lacks physical evidence, he had to add his own interpretation of what happened by elaborating the story as something seen in a Stephen King novel. Not only does Biema ‘bend the truth,’ but he also invokes his opinion by connecting Michael Skakel, the suspect, with the murder weapon. Connections are made between the crime scene and the suspect that are clear indications of a typical suspense/horror novel.