Soon after she was acquitted, a story came up on the Internet with the headline, "Amanda Knox already getting job offers."
Apparently, Knox's suffering is going to turn into a cash spigot turned on all the way.
Good for her-- sources say she has racked up over $1 million in legal fees. My concern, however, is not Miss Knox, but something someone said about the money-making ability of true-life stories:
“I think that anything with [Knox's] name on it and her face on it will create an interest,” Gene Grabowski, a crisis management expert with Levick Strategic Communications, told MSNBC. “This is the United States of Entertainment. There’s a constant market for entertainment.”
(quote from here)
It's true. I don't know if we've ratcheted up our need for entertainment, or whether entertainment deliverers have all pumped their stuff into the Internet and made it seem like we are content-crazy, but I have never read a more apt, timely phrase than "This is the United States of Entertainment."
I cannot believe, for example, the amount of micro-video online nowadays, commercials disguised as information.
That's why I think books, especially e-books, are going to continue to sell and sell like crazy. We are not going to buy $24.95 hardbacks as often, but we are going to buy 4 e-books at $5.99 each. More bang for the buck, but also more of a sense that content is available and that we can feed our addiction cheaply. Call it the carton of cigarettes analogy: when you buy a whole carton of cigarettes at a discount, you use them up faster because they are there to be consumed. Plus, you don't feel as bad about using a lot, because they didn't cost that much in the first place.
Micropayments are all the rage, even with me. Recently, I paid a fantasy baseball blogger the equivalent of a one-year magazine subscription in gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of words of free, high-quality content he pumped out this year.
Related thought: some time ago, I speculated that Facebook would become a new place where we would shift our entertainment attention-span. Instead of reading books or watching TV shows, we'd take in a myriad of 140-characters bursts of micro-myth. Actual storytellers would suffer.
That has turned out not to be true, in my opinion. Maybe it's only my (boring?) Facebook friends, but I rarely read anything original on my Facebook feed that I find entertaining (exception: anyone who came here through my Facebook link!).
My Facebook friends have taken to bombarding the news feed with links to other content, often political. As 2012 approaches, I don't see that trend bottoming out. Out with the entertainment, in with the megaphone.
So even as more and more people get online and share more and more of themselves, I am optimistic that the financial winners will be those content purveyors who have taken some time and care with their offerings. The cream will rise to the top. It may not be a lot of money at first-- a magazine subscription payment here and there,maybe. But hey, anything helps in these United States of Shaky Economy.