There's been an unexpected fixture in the courtroom during George Zimmerman's trial so far: empty seats.
For all of the "Million Hoodie Marches" across the world and media coverage after the shooting of Trayvon Martin last year, response to the trial so far is a resounding "meh."
Our collective culture would never have been so dismissive of Casey Anthony, Central Florida's other big claim to courthouse fame.
There wasn't an empty seat during Casey's trial. Ever. If a spectator was removed for bad behavior, there was a crowd waiting to seize the empty spot.
But don't confuse sensation with importance when it comes to these cases.
Casey had sex appeal, a dysfunctional family and the pictures to prove it. The trial was a Lifetime movie before it really was a Lifetime movie.
By comparison, Zimmerman's case has almost no tabloid appeal.
And we are a tabloid culture.
So it's no surprise that the courtroom was packed for just one day of Zimmerman's trial so far: the first day.
The Zimmerman case deals with weighty issues such as race relations, gun rights and what constitutes self-defense in the 21st century.
It's not a whodunit. Zimmerman admits he pulled the trigger.
The intrigue in the case is buried in nuance and legal statutes.
That's not the kind of thing that will lure tourists away from Disney to spend a few hours at the courthouse, as Casey's trial did.
Officials in Sanford are running a lottery each day to divvy out the 24 seats in the courtroom available to the public.
But since the first day, fewer than a handful of people have vied for the seats most days. Just three people entered the lottery for Wednesday's seats, and two of them didn't bother to show up. Only four entered the lottery for today's seats.
You might chalk that up to the dry nature of jury selection. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will be on their ninth day of questioning potential jurors today.
But compared with the trial of Casey Anthony, the modern yardstick for public interest in the court system, Zimmerman's trial isn't measuring up.
The courtroom was packed nearly every day during Anthony's jury selection, and that that took place over in Clearwater.
Jury selection in the Anthony case even developed its own sideshow when a spectator shouted, "She killed someone anyway!" as one possible juror was being questioned.
In the fifth-floor courtroom, where Zimmerman's jury is being selected, the drama reached its zenith when a court administrator sent an email instructing reporters on how to disable iPhone's Siri. The robotic female voice kept interrupting court and caused several members of the media to be kicked out.
Hardly the stuff of TV movies.
Another important difference between the Zimmerman and Anthony trials: Casey was easy to cast as a villain. Remember the party pictures taken while her 2-year-old was missing? Most people would never conceive of such a thing.
In contrast, plenty of people might wonder how they would have reacted if put in Zimmerman's shoes on the night he and Trayvon Martin fought.
Interest in the Zimmerman case is sure to pick up during opening arguments and testimony of key witnesses, especially if Zimmerman takes the stand.
Even that won't elevate this case to Casey status, at least, not in the eyes of the national media.
For now, Nancy Grace is occupied with the latest "tot mom."
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