lundi 20 février 2012

Amanda Knox, all set to make a killing



Last week, two things happened that should give people pause:

First, the prosecution and the family of the victim Meredith Kercher filed an appeal to Italy's highest court, asking that the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito be overturned. In other words, for those who only get their news from US network television, the matter of the murder of Meredith Kercher is pending in Italy. Knox and Sollecito were acquitted on appeal, after having been unanimously found guilty in the court of first instance trial. Many observers outside the United States were surprised at the acquittal and even more surprised when they read Judge Pratillo Hellmann's reasoning. You can find an English translation of it online (perugiamurderfile.org), done by a group of volunteers who post regularly at PMF.org.

Second, it was announced with great fanfare that Harper Collins had won the silent bidding war for the right to publish Knox's side of the story, and that it had paid close to 4 million dollars for this right. Though HC is not confirming the sum, given the aggressive publicity surrounding the mere signing, it is fair to say the publisher is already trying to make this venture a profitable one. The usual suspects have rushed in to defend Knox's right to "tell her side" of the story. But don't get your hopes up, folks. She doesn't plan to talk about the murder itself, though no one would be interested in her story had this murder not occurred. No, she wants to talk about her life in prison. Me, me, me, I'm in love with me, me, me. You know that song?

I don't know what new details will emerge, since she has already told us more than we want to know via her various emissaries. Frankly, I think all of them suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh, Rocco Girlanda... Never heard of any of these peoeple? Don't worry about it. They are just garden variety self-promoters who not only hitched their wagon to a potential star, they also did their best to make sure the star rose. Will they be repaid for their efforts? It has been hinted that Amanda will reward those writers who believed in her by allowing them to "help" her with the book. In truth, as Harper Collins was very quick to point out (repeatedly), Amanda will be helped by a real writer. But her name will be on the final product, of course, because she has sufficient brand appeal by now thanks to the PR firm that wrote the reality TV narrative you are seeing played out as we speak. Brandamanda.

In case anyone has forgotten, it was Harper Collins that thought publishing a book called If I Did It, by a guy named O.J. Simpson, was a fabulous idea.

Refreshingly, not everyone is just shrugging their shoulders or shouting "go for it, girl". Many people are actually troubled by the ethical issues raised and have actually found ways to grapple with them rather than refusing to acknowledge that there could be any at all. Hats off to them!

For example, Christopher Fowler has written a brilliant open letter to Harper Collins, which you can read by clicking on the title.

One thing I forgot to mention. Harper Collins is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Surprise, surprise!