Lawrence Auster has been talking about a gruesome story out of the UK that no one else seems to want to talk much about: A 63-year-old man named Patrick McGee was murdered and beheaded outside his home, his head thrown in a trash bin. The news stories (such as we have) have said bizarre things to the effect that he was "decapitated after a dispute about noise" by a neighbor "said to be suffering from mental illness." Say, what? You know, you've gotta watch this business of asking your neighbors to turn down the radio (or playing yours too loudly). If you're not careful, you might just enrage the poor fellows to the point where they cut off your head. I swear, it is impossible to satirize the UK anymore. Every story out of there is self-satire.
But here's the darkly amusing part. In his search for more information about this (as in, what is the name of the suspect whom police have arrested?), Auster turned up a story from the Scotsman that had as the headline "Tribute to 'Gentle' Victim." Not, mind you, "Elderly Man Decapitated: Nation in Shock." (I also note that people, including people in the media, simply do not know how to use scare quotes. The headline would give the impression that maybe he wasn't really gentle, even though that obviously isn't what the author intended. But that's a hobbyhorse for a different day.) Says Auster:
The fact that the man was murdered and beheaded is placed in a subordinate clause, while the "real" news, the news in the main clause, is that the man was kind and gentle. Wow. A man was kind and gentle. These people really have an instinct for news, don't they? If they were reporting the news on the day in 1453 when Constaninople fell to the Moslems and the city's population was slaughtered, their headline and lead would have been something like this:
Lovely City Remembered
May 29--Constantinople, which was conquered and sacked by the Ottomans yesterday, with many thousands of its Christian inhabitants slaughtered and others sold into slavery, was described by survivors as a place of many wonderful memories.
I have to admit, that made me laugh out loud.