The Selling of Jodi Arias: Turning Tragedy to Cash

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias, when crime starts a payday



The name Jodi Arias is officially a household name.  In a case that has become a center piece for the media, the public could not get enough of the sordid story of obsession, passion and death.   News services were conveniently on hand to satiate a public mesmerized by the brutal death of Travis Alexander.  The court room was filled to capacity. Apparently there was more than one person who did not want to miss history in the making.

Andy Warhol’s famous quote “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes” is more than a shrewd observation. It is more descriptive of the present than the past. Celebrity comes not from achievement, but notoriety.  If you can keep the spotlight on you, anticipate a bizarre kind of stardom.

People who captivate the imagination of the public, either good or bad, will get name recognition. There is no bad or good publicity.  There is just publicity.

Making yourself a household name is the name of the game.

Before the trial was over, The Lifetime Channel was in production with a T.V. movie based on what is now the most talked about trial since O.J.

The sensational trial has given inspiration to an equally titillating  title  “Dirty Little  Secret: The Jodi Arias Trial.”

If there is a demand for something, anything, consider that someone will feed that hunger.  The seemingly bottomless pit of almost voyeuristic consumption has not been lost on those who see no problem with merchandising the tragic.

One Saint Louis woman has made commemorative jewelry so that Travis Alexander’s life is not forgotten.  For a mere $ 28.50 is all it takes to have a trinket that brings to mind a gisly murder.  Sympathetic to the loss of Travis’ family a small percentage of the sale of these pieces of jewelry to go to the family.

Slight monetary compensation is a weak form of solace to a family that lost a son.  The logic put forth here by the jewelry designer from Saint Louis is that is acceptable to profit from someone else’s misery. As long as you “give back” you are not a hustler taking advantage of a death to line your own pocket.

A few coins is better than none at all.  So justify your actions until the proverbial cows come home.

But the lure of lucre has not stopped the merchandisers from pounce on an opportunity.   T shirts can be purchased. Any memento connected with the infamous trial will do well in the market place.

As long as it makes money, there is no bad taste. There are only poor sales.

Bumper stickers and buttons can be had as well if jewelry is not your “thing.”

What is intriguing about the desire to somehow connect to the event is how intense the involvement has been.  People became so gripped by the trial they could not pull themselves away from the detailed coverage.

The emotional pitch of the audience waiting outside the court room waiting for the verdict. almost had a mob mentality.  Everyone felt personally touched by the event as if they were vicariously living through the proceedings.  I supposed some of that is to be expected.  This trial has everything to make a compelling story.

Kinky sex, an attractive looking suspect, everything about the murder draws you into it like an octopus.  The shock value is an attraction. Waiting for the jury’s decision was surrounded by anticipation. Just what would they do?  How was this going to end?

The anger and the desire to see justice served attracted a huge crowd.  All were relieved, happy almost jubilant that Arias was found guilty. Everyone on camera seemed happy. No relieved, sad or depressed faces here. The crowed looked happy is if a everyone had won the  lottery.

There was, and is, no doubt Arias committed this heinous act.    Her guilt is unquestionable.  The next phase will the suites and possible trials to come. We all have to wait to see how this transpires.

This trial is not over. It has just begun.

It may even be that Arias could potentially marketing herself via drawings and twitters.  No doubt anything coming from Arias’ hands will draw attention. It will attract money. It has been circling for a while that Arias could earn a few coins if her art work were sold.  Someone somewhere will see value here.

For the news media, the trial was a ratings pay day.  Nearly everyone was captivated.  There was something to report that had a salacious tag line

Sex sells.  It even sells murder, revenge, death and violence. The murder was the perfect storm for news crews who need the “big story.”

Crying tears of joy, the undercurrent around the courthouse was that justice was served. But the mix of a guilty verdict surrounded by happiness had an incongruence that was out of place.  Everyone wants justice to be served. Clearly Arias is not able to return to society, and she is a threat.

In a case where there are enough tears to shed on every front, the case had more to be depressed about than happy.

Justice must be served.

However, it just felt like an updated of the lynching’s of old less civilized times.  If there had been a dark castle and Herr Doktor Frankenstein’s monster around, you could almost envision torch carrying locals demanding justice.

Absent was any of and despair, loss or sadness. No matter how the case came out, the past could not be obliterated.  Guilty or innocent, a man is dead under what must have been a painful death. There is no reason for happiness. Should Arias face execution, it is not an event that causes cheers.

There is a death, family grieving and a mountain of pain to go around. An exhausted jury, two families sorting out the sordid mess, there is nothing but sorrow here no matter how you feel about any of this.

Life brutally extinguished is always tragic.  At the very least it deserves some dignity. Considering the circumstances, taking the higher ground would be the better path. One way that can be accomplished is by not turning the court room into a three ring circus designed to entertain. This desensitizes a public already jaded from films, video games and music that glorifies violence. Violence is entertainment and death an incidental consequence.

Back in very old times, a sacrificial cow was used to cleanse the community.  Guilt, anger and frustration were grafted onto the sacrifice as a means to vent emotion.  It seems as if Jodi Arias was despised as much for her crime as being a person to place blame and hate. She became a cathartic way to express anger, frustration and fear.

In times like these there are plenty of things to fear.

Jodi Arias, or Jodi as she was often referred, could be an instant object of female vengeance controlled.  The idea of woman as temptress, manipulator and she devil is as old as the hills. It is an archetype of the female image that sees all women as something to fear.  Just probe beneath the surface and any woman can be turned into a vile, lethal weapon.

Jodi Arias could easily be a character from a Greek play. The jealous femme fetal whose touch is desired, but her passions too bold.  Executing women, or men, for that matter for crimes is nothing new. But the notion that a woman out of control could happen at any moment is here.

If we can subdue a Jodi Areas we are all safe.  That could very well be true. However, there maybe little reason to happy about the outcome. There are only tears and sadness here.

Executing a woman is both feared, and yet oddly, a spectacle worth viewing.

It is just part of the human condition to turn around to see a car wreck.  Something about an accident pulls you in to watch.  Curiosity or a desire to see blood, crimes are much the same as any car accident.

We want entertainment.  We want justice. We want fair trials, we also want bread and circuses.  We are not that different from the Romans after all.

Ruminations will run rampant.  Is Arias a victim of abuse? Is she deeply disturbed? Is she just a cold blooded killer? Is  she a woman out of control,?  Is she a woman defending herself? Could she be all of these things?  Or is she just a vengeful woman .  Could she be criminally insane? Could she be a manipulator who took joy in her crimes? Only a good psychiatrist would know where to find the answers.

What is known is that she committed a grisly crime. She was vengeful, bloody and ruthless with her anger.

The Arias trial raises as many questions as it answers.  Did anyone see the signs that Arias had, at the least, “anger management issues?  Did anyone see her previous outbreaks  as a prelude to disaster?

What part, if any, did friends, family, expectations and frustrations work to fuel this very physical attack where a man’s head was literally ripped from his body.

Was this preventable? Or was this just a fluke? Was it a onetime situation, or will there be more to follow if Arias finds her way back to society?

One things is certain. Arias has to be removed from the public. She has shown she is dangerous. Now it is up to a Jury and a Judge to figure out what to do next.

As we wait to see this all come to a conclusion, there will be those who profit from this crime one way or the other.  When crime becomes a cash cow, anticipate that someone will figure out a way to milk this for all it is worth.

What is next regarding Arias memorabilia?  Will her drawings be shown?  Could her image become a shirt, a candle holder, maybe a protective cell phone case?  Will the Arias bed collection start showing up at Bed, Bath and Beyond?   Will a marketing genius create the Jodi Arias Shower Curtain?  Could this crime become more vulgar than it already is?

We will have to wait and see. Tune in for the next exciting episode of Woman Gone Wild.  If this turns into a video game, don’t be surprised.  You have been warned.


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