"The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman, was a groundbreaking book on the subject of social interaction. Here, in the context of 'reputation management,' we have a clear example of how society functions on the basis of pretences, albeit false ones."
EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com
By Dr Martin Roberts
24 January 2012
The McCanns have begun litigation against Tony Bennett for alleged defamation concerning, among a variety of other things, an earlier undertaking "not to repeat allegations that the Claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of...lying about what happened..."
At issue, in this specific instance, is not whether the McCanns have been unerringly truthful, but that Tony Bennett be prevented from alleging the contrary himself, or repeating such allegations by others, in any way shape or form. I.e., he may think what he likes provided he does not voice his own or others' opinion. 'A still tongue keeps a wise head,' so the proverb has it, although that particular stratagem didn't quite work for Sir Thomas More.
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman, was a groundbreaking book on the subject of social interaction. Here, in the context of 'reputation management,' we have a clear example of how society functions on the basis of pretences, albeit false ones.
The McCanns have lied. Kate McCann has admitted as much in her very own book, as she goes on to say, talking about the passage of information to the media, "As it happened, Gerry had a mild stomach upset which we used as an excuse to postpone the trip." (to Huelva).
The sales figures for Kate's book, 'Madeleine,' if they are to be believed, suggest that the book's overall circulation probably rivals the number of individuals who might have read any or all of Tony Bennett's apparently repeated allegations 'that the Claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of...lying about what happened...,' the global reach of the Internet notwithstanding.
So we have this altogether bizarre paradox in which, for the sake of 'keeping up appearances,' what people do or say, whether alone or in company, is not quite so important as how many other people know about it (the presentation of self, if you will).
But that in itself is not the paradox. The real, and quite extraordinary contradiction in this instance is that Tony Bennett's apparent act of defamation consists of his having broadcast 'allegations' of lying to a wider public; allegations which carry a kernel of truth given Kate McCann's own published admission, to a wider public, that they, the McCanns, were prepared to lie - and did so, however 'badly' they may have felt about it afterwards. Remorse is relative in any case, as 'Madeleine' itself harbours various inconsistencies, and Kate McCann has continued to offer 'accounts of the truth' since.
It would be inappropriate, on several levels, to 'allege' anything at this point but, following upon Kate McCann's unequivocal declaration ('We'd never lied about anything – not to the police, not to the media, not to anyone else.') one has to wonder quite how to describe the ever expanding catalogue of 'errors in recall' on the McCanns' part, and whether such a euphemism is itself legally acceptable. Or whether the preferred option (much preferred no doubt) would be to silence discussion completely.
To friends and family members
'The shutters were 'jemmied open'/'smashed.' (They were not even tampered with).
There was a 'system' in place as regards 'checking the children'
For example, Jeremy Wilkins' third (Rogatory) statement to British Police (08.04.08): 'I assumed that Gerry was off to dine with the group in the Tapas bar, but I cannot precisely say this came from him or if I figured this out from our previous conversations regarding the checking system for the children.'
(The witness testimony of Mrs Pamela Fenn and responses during Rogatory interview of Fiona Payne and Matthew Oldfield indicate that there was no 'system' in place at all).
To the police in Portugal
(Thursday). When her lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the swimming pool to talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards... they went back together to the apartment
The more recently published 'account of the truth' reads:
"I returned to our apartment before Gerry had finished his tennis lesson and washed and hung out Madeleine's pyjama top on the veranda." ('Madeleine,' p.64).
To the general public
(Tuesday) "We dropped the kids off at their clubs for the last hour and a half, meeting up with them as usual for tea." ('Madeleine,' p.59).
(Creche records archived among the case files show all the children signed in at 2.30 p.m., the younger twins signed out again at 5.20 p.m., nearly three hours later).
"Friday 4 May. Our first day without Madeleine. As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down roads we'd never seen before..." ('Madeleine,' p.83).
(Kate McCann can be clearly heard, during an early filmed interview with the BBC's Jane Hill, explaining away the fact that the McCanns themselves did not physically search for their daughter).
"Since July 2008 there has been no police force anywhere actively investigating what has happened to Madeleine." (p.364).
(Leicestershire Police have stated in writing (June, 2011) that they view the investigation as 'on-going.').
"...they commented that the man didn't look comfortable carrying the child, as if he wasn't used to it." ('Madeleine,' p.98)
('They' made no such comment. One Smith family member alone described the child as being 'in an uncomfortable position;' uncomfortable for the child, that is).
Under Oath (to Lord Justice Leveson)
'There were no body fluids.'
(This statement refers specifically to media reports of biological material retrieved from the McCanns' hire car (for which hypothetical explanations are advanced on p.264 of 'Madeleine') and virtually denies the existence of a forensic report concerning an analysis of 'body fluids' conducted by the FSS in Birmingham, which is again on record and discussed, at some length, on p.331 of 'Madeleine,' by Kate McCann).