How Odd!

Dead Woman in Freezer Edition

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: It’s so odd when men (allegedly) murdered their spouses (and children) and then stash them in the freezer while hosting a party:

A Belgian man appeared in court on Friday after a woman at his dinner party found the bodies of his wife and stepson in the freezer as she put away the leftovers, prosecutors said.

The woman went to the police after discovering the 46-year-old woman and her 11-year-old son and officers arrested the man in the town of Verviers, near Liege in east Belgium, on Wednesday.

Why, I don’t believe I’ve heard anything quite so odd since the man who forcibly branded his wife with his initials on their wedding night. Now that was odd!

[Previous "Odd News" here and here.]

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27 Comments

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27 responses to “How Odd!

  1. Woman kills husband with leg of lamb.

    (This is a very famous episode among Hitchcock aficionados; note the author of the script.)

  2. I’m not sure I understand how a fictional teleplay relates to a real woman’s murder being treated as “Odd News”…?

  3. Perhaps Reuters needs a new category — “Heinous News” or “Grizzly News” or something.

    The story about the condom tester is “odd” and maybe even the 11-year-old drunk driver.

    It seems they just don’t have an appropriate category for stories about murder and mayhem.

    Woman kills husband with leg of lamb.

    Classic. And the author is quite a surprise!

  4. I’m not sure I understand how a fictional teleplay relates to a real woman’s murder being treated as “Odd News”…?

    I assume it is an example of a murder that would indeed be “odd” rather than just a horrible murder (not that all murder isn’t horrible). But, using a leg of lamb is definitely odd.

  5. resident_alien

    Fritz,I think Melissa’s point is that the violent deaths of a woman and a child are being trivialized by being reported as “odd news”.

  6. resident_alien

    As well as the fact that acts of domestic violence,fatal or not,aren’t “odd” at all.They are frightenly common.The No.1 cause of death for pregnant women inthe US is being murdered by their babydaddy,you know? And statistically,the greatest danger to a child is posed by their immediate family.

  7. Why on earth was a guest putting away leftovers in the first place?

  8. resident_alien

    Because the guest was a woman,Incertus (Brian).Why would a man do housework when there’s awoman around?Our hands are so much smaller than yours,the better to clean narrow spaces…

  9. Fritz,I think Melissa’s point is that the violent deaths of a woman and a child are being trivialized by being reported as “odd news”.

    I understand that and agree with her.

    However, I also think the problem is due in part to how Reuters classifies stories. The are likely given tags related to content and then aggregated using a content management system.

    If they create a new tag that would exclude content from being aggregated with “Odd News,” they could prevent crimes against women and children from appearing in that category.

    Then, when an editor reads a story in which a child is killed or a woman is raped, etc., he or she can tag it as “heinous” and it would be excluded from the Odd News category. Instead, it would be listed under the new category — one that is more appropriate for serious crimes.

  10. If they create a new tag that would exclude content from being aggregated with “Odd News”

    Perhaps “News,” for example?

    The fact that we’re even talking about how this story might need its own category is evidence of how deeply ingrained the “Othering” of news related exclusively to women is.

  11. The fact that we’re even talking about how this story might need its own category is evidence of how deeply ingrained the “Othering” of news related exclusively to women is.

    I had not considered a news category “related exclusively to women” but rather a category that would cover heinous, violent crimes.

    As it is now, I could imagine Reuters including a story about a man being beaten and sodomized with a large dill pickle under Odd News.

    It is just a sad fact that women and children are often the victims of this type of violent crime.

    I don’t see a problem with “othering” crimes that are violent, deadly, cruel, or otherwise physically damaging — no matter the gender of the victims.

    I am offended by the fact that a henious murder is being treated as a funny story.

  12. I was (poorly) suggesting that the teleplay shows that this categorization of “odd news” isn’t entirely new. It seems to be a theme.

  13. As it is now, I could imagine Reuters including a story about a man being beaten and sodomized with a large dill pickle under Odd News.

    Except in the entire time I’ve been paying attention to it, there’s never been a story like that about a man in the Odd News section, though there have been “violent, deadly, cruel, or otherwise physically damaging” crimes against men in the news during the same period.

    I was (poorly) suggesting that the teleplay shows that this categorization of “odd news” isn’t entirely new.

    Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification.

  14. there’s never been a story like that about a man

    Caveat: Unless the crime against him was committed by a woman.

  15. I also would like to point out that the content that appears as Odd News is partially determined by the online readers.

    All of these stories have been tagged according to content. If readers click through more often on stories that involve violent crime, those type of stories will be given more weight and will apear more often at the top of the category.

    This is where automation needs to be trumped by EDITORIAL STANDARDS.

    If there is a great deal of reader interest in violent, heinous crimes, rather than making that the new focus of the Odd News category, a new category should be created.

    The standards that determine what is Odd News and what should be excluded from that category should be easy to set:

    1) Sexual assault = not Odd News
    2) Violent murder = not Odd News
    3) Crime against a child = not Odd News
    4) Violent assault = not Odd News
    5) Domestic violence = not Odd News

    Odd News would be:

    Monkey Steals Golf Cart
    Man Bites Head Off Rabid Bat
    House Made Out of Pizza Boxes

    NOT:

    Man Skins Wife to Make Wetsuit
    Woman Cuts Off Husband’s Penis
    Children Forced to Eat Human Flesh

  16. Ahem… did anyone read the other “odd” news stories in that same screen shot?

    Jeebus. Kind of makes you wanna click ‘em and read ‘em.

  17. Except in the entire time I’ve been paying attention to it, there’s never been a story like that about a man in the Odd News section, though there have been “violent, deadly, cruel, or otherwise physically damaging” crimes against men in the news during the same period.

    I think that is due to the fact that thise types of crimes against men are rare. I have read a story about a woman cutting off her husband’s penis and feeding it to chickens in Oddly Enough. But, how often does that happen? Once every 10 years?

  18. RayCeeYa

    I might be a touch jaded but I think anytime a “dinner guest” finds a couple of bodies in the freezer no matter who they happen to be it qualifies as odd news.

    I mean put yourself in the place of the dinner guest. You were just looking for a fudgicle and you find a couple of bodies. It would definitely be one of the more bazaar moments in my life.

  19. RayCeeYa, instead of repeating myself on why I take issue with classifying this kind of thing as “Odd News,” I’ll just direct you back to my original post on the subject.

  20. And I just want to note that if it were one story, that would be one thing, and I would probably agree with you. But it’s not. It’s a continuing issue.

  21. People have a ghoulish attraction to these kinds of news stories. That’s why the True Crime genre is so popular. But, it is disturbing that violent crimes like those you’ve pointed out are included in the oddball category.

    BTW: Have you ever watched the TV show Snapped on Oxygen?

    http://www.oxygen.com/snapped/

    About Snapped

    Each year, approximately 16,000 people are murdered in the United States. 7% of the killers are female.*

    Who are these women and what drives them to kill? Oxygen’s hit true crime series Snapped in its 5th season, profiles the fascinating cases of women accused of murder. Did they really do it? And, if they did, why? Whether the motivation was revenge against a cheating husband, the promise of a hefty insurance payoff or putting an end to years of abuse, the reasons are as varied as the women themselves. From socialites to secretaries, female killers share one thing in common: at some point, they all Snapped.

    * Based on figures from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

  22. Everybody, look up the term “Women in Refrigerators” on Wikipedia, because that was the first thing I thought of upon reading this.

  23. Everybody, look up the term “Women in Refrigerators” on Wikipedia, because that was the first thing I thought of upon reading this.

    Hmmmmm…makes me wonder if Belgium’s Didier Charron reads comic books.

  24. I might be a touch jaded but I think anytime a “dinner guest” finds a couple of bodies in the freezer no matter who they happen to be it qualifies as odd news.

    I think it was the dinner-party touch, rather than the bodies-stashed-in-freezer touch, that captures the ghoulish imagination. After all, there’s a whole story there in that one detail, that this man would not only kill his wife and son and stash their bodies in the freezer, but that he would host a dinner party while they’re in there and allow a guest to open the freezer.

    What does that say about this man’s state of mind (not to mention about the size of his freezer)? And the idea that his friends could just stumble upon this double-murder by accident, while nothing is apparently out of the ordinary.

    But, yeah: “odd news,” with all the connotations of quirkyness and giant pumpkins and thieves getting stuck in chimneys and incompetent bank robbers with distinctive facial birthmarks who rob the banks they are account holders at, does not exactly describe this kind of horror.

  25. Pingback: Oddly Enough, Women Attracted to Attractive Men at Shakesville

  26. Pingback: WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive » How Odd!

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