The Miserable Ramseys

March 16, 2000

I don't care about JonBenet Ramsey.

I don't care that her killer hasn't been found, or as the authorities in Boulder put it, an "umbrella of suspicion" still shadows her parents.

Sure, I'm sorry a pretty, little girl died. But not any sorrier than I would have been had she lived life as an obscure, ugly duckling. That, actually, sounds more interesting. The notion of a pageant of tiny, mascara-laden darlings trying to be sexpots brings only one word to mind: tiresome. I'm the first to admit that I sneak an occasional peak at the tabloids. But when it comes to the JonBenet Ramsey story, I find watching my groceries on the conveyor belt to be a lot more absorbing.

I care even less that the Boulder police bungled the investigation.

I've never had any plans or desire to live in Boulder and, thank you, there are more compelling law enforcement conundrums in my own backyard.

(Why obsess about JonBenet when the New York City cops who massacred an innocent man in the Bronx have all been acquitted?)

I guess it's pretty obvious that I won't be watching the Ramseys when they make their splash on television this week.

But it's not only for lack of interest — and this may be the only aspect of the JonBenet case that gets a rise from me.

I am also not going to watch those shows because I think her parents' appearance on them is nothing short of disgusting. I am not sure whether her parents did it or not and, like I said, I don't care. But I am very sure of one thing. They are despicable people.

Don't even mention their book to me; I've already blocked the title from my brain.

The book goes on sale Friday morning. Friday night, Barbara Walters broadcasts her interview with the Ramseys — and then the rest of the television and radio world gets them. The Ramseys have turned the death of their daughter into an advertising campaign. But it's not just any campaign; it's a campaign extraordinaire, one that has the power to make any hard-bitten synergist weak at the knees.

On Wednesday, three days before the book even went on sale, it was 161 on the Amazon.com hit parade — and millions of books could potentially be on that parade any given day. Can't you just hear the conversation? Book publicist to the Ramseys: "Early buzz great. Your dead child is a gold mine."

According to Time magazine, which got a preview of the ABC interview, "...the Ramseys fare well before Walters. The couple picked a lovely location for the interview, a room so serene and spotless it could be a priest's quarters. They are also dressed perfectly. Patsy wearing just the right touch of pink lipstick."

I read all this and I tried to imagine myself in the Ramsey's excruciating shoes — or at least in the shoes they claim they are in. My daughter's been murdered and four years later the killer is still at large. There I am in one of the worst possible places a parent can ever be. I couldn't protect my child and now I can't avenge her death.

So what do I do?

Go on a book tour?

Somehow, I don't think that would be my choice.

And I don't think I would remember the pink lipstick.

Those who defend the Ramseys will say they want to publicize the evidence and angles that the police never checked. More likely they are trying to look sympathetic.

Barbara Walters was very impressed that the couple showed up to tape without an attorney.

I'd say it's an interesting but unconvincing ploy — and possibly also a reckless, dumb thing to do.

And let us not forget that Barbara Walters was also very impressed with Monica Lewinsky.