Q: What do snuff porn and our news media have in common?
A: They both dwell lovingly on, and profit from, the violent deaths of young females.
To be fair, neither industry could exist without a demand for their products. The average American - a demographic which avoids hard news as if it were the plague - couldn't tell you what "debt ceiling" means or locate Afghanistan on a map, but millions of people can tell you how many pieces of duct tape were found on Caylee Anthony's decomposed body and what tattoo Casey had inked on herself after the child's death. Many of these folk probably still remember where Natalee Holloway was last seen alive and could tell you the name of the man who falsely confessed to murdering JonBenet Ramsey.
People focus on what interests them, and clearly the majority of people aren't as interested in what's happening to their country as they are in the disappearances or deaths of young white girls. Nearly 2,000 people go missing each day in this country, but the only case which gained any notice during the relentless media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial was that of a pretty, blonde college girl in Indiana. There was much excitement the other day when a body was found, followed by a general shrug of disinterest when the body turned out not to belong to the attractive coed.
Damn it, no cadaver to paw over!
Or at least, no cadaver anyone gave a rat's ass about.
Why this obsession with dead white girls?
Not being a psychologist I won't pretend to know all the reasons behind it. Still, watching as media circuses like those surrounding Casey Anthony or Amanda Knox unfold - and the story of "Foxy Knoxy" was a double jackpot because there you had a pretty white girl who was possibly killed by a different pretty white girl - it's hard to escape the conclusion that simple ghoulishness, coupled with our culture's fixation on youth and beauty, are contributing factors. In a voyeuristic society fascinated by violence and by semi-pornographic depictions of young women and girls, our collective delight - disguised as horror - in learning the grisly details when one of them is murdered makes a fair amount of sense. When you couple that morbid prurience with a media which long ago decided it's easier and more profitable to supply tabloid content than to cover actual news, you get sick carnivals like the Anthony trial.
Never mind that our economy has been ruined and that no one was held to account for it; we want to hear about Amanda Knox's dead room-mate's bra. Forget about the possibility the U.S. may default on its debt as our political leaders sell their constituents down the river; we want to watch the expression on Casey's face as the verdict is read.
Sure, there's other news going on, but one must filter out what matters from what doesn't, and slobbering over the bones of dead white girls matters more than anything except... ooo, look, William and Katherine are in Canada!