There are lots of things that can hurt a marriage; financial problems, infidelity, differences in religion, differences in parenting, differences of opinion.
In our house one of the biggest marital strains is another woman; a woman who comes into our home every night at ten o’clock.
Her name is Nancy Grace.
Nancy Grace has a “true crime show” on CNN / Headline News. My wife loves the Nancy Grace show and watches her most every night.
I feel physically ill whenever I see Nancy Grace. I have a similar reaction to Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Clinton. There’s something about the look, sound, and mannerisms of these women that makes me twitch.
But Nancy Grace holds a special place of disgust in my heart because she passes her show off as “journalism” when it’s really “info-tainment” at best, in same league as Maury Pauvich. Her show is loud; there are usually three to five “info boxes” and text crawls on screen at any given time, filled with lurid lines like, “Husband Murders Pregnant Wife?” “Child Buried Alive” and “Tot Mom Posts Racy Web Photos.”
Nancy Grace loves the gory details of crimes; she seems to revel in them, even though she’ll act indignant and shocked as she repeats them over and over again. I flipped out one night last summer as she was reviewing the details of the Caylee Anthony murder case. She must have asked the question, “Is there soft tissue on the duct tape? Is there soft tissue on the duct tape?” fifty times, in that sharp Southern twang of hers. Doesn’t she realize that “soft tissue” she keeps harping about were once the lips of a little girl? Can’t she just chill out about it?
“She’s a ghoul,” I tell my wife. “All she does is talk about dead kids, dwelling on the details of their murders. It’s sick.”
“She’s a champion for victims’ rights,” my wife disagrees. “Her fiancé was murdered when she was young and that drove her to become a prosecutor. She’s worked extensively with abused women and children.”
“Didn’t she badger a guest into killing herself?” I ask.
“That woman killed herself because she was guilty!” my wife screams. “That (expletive) killed her own kid and Nancy Grace called her on it!”
In 2006, Grace interviewed 21 year-old Melinda Duckett; Duckett’s two-year-old son had gone missing two weeks prior. Grace hammered Duckett with questions about her son’s disappearance and Duckett gave vague, confused, and elusive answers. The next day Melinda Duckett killed herself. That didn’t stop Nancy Grace from airing her interview with Duckett that evening. During the interview one of those ever-present info boxes appeared on screen; “SINCE SHOW TAPING BODY OF MELINDA DUCKETT FOUND AT GRANDPARENTS’ HOME.”
If Nancy Grace was searching for a murder suspect that night she didn’t have to look any further than her own dressing room mirror. (Grace has since settled with the Duckett family over Melinda’s death.)
“Nancy Grace is a (expletive)!” I shout, pointing out how she portrayed the Duke Lacrosse players as rapists for weeks on her show (they were later cleared of all charges) and the way she callously prodded kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart for details of her harrowing encounter.
“No she’s not!” my wife counters, pointing out the number of child abusers she’s exposed on her show and helped put behind bars as a prosecutor. “Maybe you’re a (expletive)!”
It gets pretty ugly sometimes. I know that my wife is probably right; both about Nancy Grace being a champion for victims rights and about me being a (expletive). Even though Nancy Grace likes to glorify the gory details of tragedy maybe she has an overall positive effect on society by shining a spotlight on heinous crimes and keeping it there.
It’s her delivery that rubs me the wrong way. It’s funny, when I hear Howard Stern or Larry David yelling and screaming about something it usually makes me laugh. But when I hear Nancy Grace (and Hillary Clinton) ranting it gives me a headache. To me, all four people are part of the entertainment industry. It’s when you start thinking of these people as something other than performers that you run into problems, like considering Nancy Grace a reliable news source, or thinking that Hillary Clinton is actually representing your interests in government.
Evidently I’m not alone in my distaste for Ms. Grace; do an Internet search and along with Nancy Grace’s CNN profile page you’ll find links to web sites like nancygracemustdie.com and a Facebook page for Nancy Grace Sucks Fat Balls. Sometimes when I’m at work I’ll surf over to these sites and giggle, file away a laugh for later that night. I’ll need it when the beast is loose in my home again, with her helmet hair and Southern drawl and endless drone, “Is there soft tissue on the duct tape? Is there soft tissue on the duct tape?”
Sometimes you have to work to keep a marriage happy. Other times you just have to laugh it off.
Originally published in Wayne TODAY, November 2009