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So the entirely predictable revelation that John Karr did not kill JonBenet Ramsey has broken to nearly as much fanfare as his preposterous "confession." Ariana Huffington has written here of the JonBenet addiction that afflicts mainstream media; People magazine has excerpts of his emails, in which he describes his passion for dolls and himself as a "dashing prince," "Daxis," in love with JonBenet. Elsewhere we find that Karr imagined Johnny Depp as the dashing prince Daxis in the movie -- Depp of Willy Wonka fame, not Libertine, of course.

So what is it about this case that so thoroughly confounds good sense -- not the medias' (as if!) but, for example, the legal team that sought Karr's extradition, rather than filing his "confession" with the no doubt countless others that the case elicited. You tell me.


This week I've been teaching Lolita, and last week I (not at all coincidentally) submitted a grant application for my new project on the age of consent. One of the things that has struck me is that "JonBenet" occupies that spectacular limit space that was once occupied by the bizarre Pall Mall Gazette pieces on English girls kidnapped for the European slave trade. It almost doesn't matter what her story is any more, she's an icon that occupies the place of so many questions about sex, childhood/adolescence and culture.

Now, I should have said that in the lecture. Instead I avoided "JonBenet" entirely. It's always still so hard to lecture on Lolita without prodding something very sensitive in the audience way too hard. Of course, that says a lot for the brilliance of the book.

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This is the blog for thinking and talking about culture, Cultural Studies and cultural analysis at the University of Sydney.