Things I care about, and one I don’t

by Brian Clarey

On Monday, American citizen Amanda Knox was freed from an Italian prison after… well, I’m not exactly sure. I seem to recall there was some sort of murder that involved lurid sexual details and scant evidence, and I suppose I could spend an hour or so scouring the news sites to catch myself up on the incident and the trial. But I’m not going to do that, because I don’t care about Amanda Knox. And unless you’re related to her or anyone else involved in this case, you shouldn’t either.

I’ve been inundated with updates and offshoots of this trial and the not guilty verdict for the former University of Washington student since 2007, when another exchange student, Meredith Kercher, was found murdered in a Perugia apartment. Yes, Knox may have been interrogated inappropriately and the investigation may have been botched. And of course it’s awful when an American citizen is held in a foreign jail, even though I suspect that the food in the Perugia holding cell is probably better than you can get in any fast-food joint in our whole country. But jeez… if I have to watch Matt Lauer in his recently purchased Italian suits pontificating about the thing against the backdrop of those rustic Italian mountains, well I think I’m gonna scream.

What’s next for Amanda Knox? How will she reintegrate into society? Can she find a boyfriend? A job? When will she get home? What will be she wearing when she does?

I can’t stand it. Because there are events much closer to home than this one, ones to which we should all be paying attention.

I can pick a hundred news stories in the cycle that will affect my life and yours more than the fate of Amanda Knox, starting with the municipal primary election going down next week in Greensboro. If should matter to you even if you don’t live in the city, because our fortunes here in the Triad are most certainly connected.

You can find out all you need about the election in this week’s issue, including our own endorsements, though I don’t blame you for a minute of you want to make up your own mind.

Another piece of current history is unfolding as the sentiments of the Occupy Wall Street protests have echoed in Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and other cities and towns across the country, including Greensboro and Winston-Salem. True, the movement’s message and demands have yet to solidify, but most organic social movements begin with vague anger and loose organization. If they can hang on in New York City through the winter, I believe a platform will emerge. I also believe that the movement will have an effect on the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which if you didn’t already know will be held in Charlotte next year.

Trust me, that is bigger news than the Amanda Knox verdict. So is the financial meltdown in Europe and the plummeting Dow Jones Index. So is the scrum of candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. So are the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So is the impending vote in the 2012 North Carolina primary on the Defense of Marriage Act. Even the Major League Baseball division playoffs have more effect on my life that the Amanda Knox verdict, because my mother is a huge Yankees fan.

The only lesson to be gleaned from the trial of Amanda Knox is that Americans will fight much harder for a white college girl in an Italian prison than they will for an African American on death row in Georgia. That, and never get into a threesome with Amanda Knox.

Meanwhile there comes news that “The Simpsons” animated network television show may be cancelled due to a labor disagreement.

I’ve been watching that show since I was 19 years old; it’s a tremendous part of my life; and my sons just came of an appropriate age to watch it with me. So what’s it gonna be? Just reruns for us? Where’s the big public outcry over that?

I take some comfort from news of another season of “Arrested Development” and an impending film — during its short run on television, “Arrested Development” was a big part of my life, which means the news means more to me than whatever will happen to old whatshername.

So will the introduction to the new iPhone, which, even though I’m committed to my Droid for the foreseeable future, looks totally awesome.

Because I follow the NFL with more regularity than I do the Italian court system, the miracle season of the Detroit Lions, their best opening gambit since 1980, is more interesting to me. So, for that matter, is the recent piece of buffoonery by Hank Williams Jr., who after comparing President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler on Fox News had his crappy opening song for “Monday Night Football” cut from this week’s broadcast.

Seriously, Hank. Hitler? But really, I should thank him. It’s the one thing that can possibly divert media attention away from Amanda Knox.