A killer is captured, politicians plagiarise and the soap opera is dying

I have got a couple of mixed news links for today, two serious and one not so much.

The good news first: The paedophile serial killer who killed at least three young boys in North Germany in the past twenty years and sexually abused up to forty others has finally been caught. The man abducted his victims, all young boys, from youth hostels and camps. He was finally apprehended after one of his surviving victims, now grown up, gave the police the relevant tip. Turns out that the man had worked as a teacher, albeit in adult education, and youth group leader.

One of the murders, that of a nine-year-old boy named Dennis, happened some thirty to forty kilometers north of Bremen, so the case was always very present in the minds of the people here, particularly since there were several unsolved murders of children in the Elbe Weser region in the 1990s and early 2000s. Now that this guy has been caught, all but one, the murder of a ten-year-old girl named Adelina, have been solved. The murders of Adelina and Dennis happened within in months of each other in the immediate vicinity of Bremen, so people have been worried these past ten years. Such cases are always horrible, but these two hit particularly close to home.

The place where Adelina was abducted is maybe six kilometers from my home, the place where her body was found is maybe four kilometers away. I actually knew the woman who found the body. There have been reports of hauntings and weird shit happening in the forest where she was found.

There is more on the Dennis case here and here (in German). Now I just hope that they’ll catch whoever murdered Adelina next.


Deutsche Welle has more information on the Silvana Koch-Mehrin plagiarism case in English.


Two more US daytime soap operas, One Life To Live and All My Children, are being canceled to be replaced by yet more cheap game shows, talk shows and crappy reality programming. This news comes on the heels of the demise of other daytime soap standbys such as Guiding Light, the world’s longest running drama series until its cancellation, and As The World Turns.

I find the slow and gradual death of the American daytime soap opera extremely depressing and not just because I have watched some of those programs at times. Guiding Light mainly, but also Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns and Santa Barbara, which breathed its last some time ago.

However, what really troubles me is that the soap opera format was a form developed and pioneered by Americans, first on the radio and then on TV. And the format worked so well that it was successfully adapted all around the world. And daily soap operas and their close relatives, the telenovela, continue to do very well around the world. In the UK, Coronation Street and Eastenders are still ratings juggernauts that regularly hit the weekly top ten. The German soaps continue to do well, too, though the former flagship Lindenstraße has lost some of its luster.

The worldwide success of soap operas is also why it is so sad to see the format die off in its motherland. Because Americans are turning their backs on the form that they invented and pioneered. And for what? For game shows, talk shows and reality crap. Because apparently there isn’t enough of that on TV already.

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