Friday, December 4, 2009

Being Labeled

As I've said, it is not my intention to comment on the leading stories, instead I want to ferret out those stories that  resonate with me, make me laugh, or which I can put the Bad Lawyer lens on for you.  But this being my Blawg--I can do anything I wish--so let me comment on the Amanda Knox murder prosecution.

The New York Times reported this morning that Miss Knox spoke to the jury in a closing remark--which by the way is unheard of in the US, unless the defendant is self-representing, a gross mistake as John Allan Muhammad could attest to if he were still alive.  According to the NYT, Miss Knox told the jury, in fluent Italian and a trembling voice she told them that she is afraid to be "labeled" a murderer.  While I would normally allow for missed nuances, the Times reporter seems to have a flawless command of Italian as evidenced by (1 the reporter's Italian last name (Donadio); and (2 the reporter's description of Ms. Knox's fluency.

After I read this probing piece of crime writing you could have hit me in the forehead with a 2 x 4 and I doubt that I would have noticed.  Here is what I assume happened (and while my impressions are secondhand, I've followed the case since Miss Knox's arrest), as if it matters;  Miss Knox in the throes of excitement and hormones launches into her year abroad equipped with excellent Italian.  Miss Knox is pretty, she's popular, and she's hip--so she thinks.  In a drug and alcohol night of sex and fun one of the predator males kills the roommate, that Miss Knox has been mocking as an unhip "prude."  Holy Shit, still under the influence the trio cover-up the crime and try to cook alibi's and lay off suspicion.

What strikes me about Amanda Knox is that in a shaking voice, she says--I don't want to be labeled a "murderer."  Wow.  You, Miss Knox, are responsible for participating in the events that resulted in your roommate's head being nearly severed from its shoulders, you covered up the crime, and you tried to blame an innocent party who is wrongly arrested and jailed--but, you don't want to be labeled.   If you were some fat hillbilly chick in a trailer park in Wheeling, West Virginia your story would be over--and no one would give a shit.

We identify with Miss Knox and the family that loves her, because we have daughters.  We intuitively know what our children are capable of in their carelessness and unsophisticated worldview (btw, look at Gayle's Bard Blog   for a detailed discussion of just these issues, especially, in her brilliant look at Romeo and Juliet, it's a tale as old as time.)

More importantly, I identify with Miss Knox.  I know what it is to feel sleepless anxiety over a label--as my self-view crumbles away.  Grow accustom to the label, little Miss Knox you are alive,  Meredith Kercher is dust.


  1. I too have been following the story, owing to an interest in Italian justice (oxymoron?)--and Italian misogyny. From a purely cultural point of view, the whole trial seems to me to exhibit really well the Italian take on women: madonna/whore, end of story. Appalling what passes for a fair trial there, at least where women are concerned.
    That said, Knox seems to me to be, sadly, kind of dumb. Intellectually challenged in the extreme, despite her fluent Italian. And yes, amoral, too. But from a PR point of view, if you're going to give a little "don't convict me" speech, maybe it would be good if it wasn't all about you. Or even mostly about you. What a moron. And her lawyers must be bad indeed, to let her do something so stupid.
    Haven't read this particular article, but I will.

  2. The internets are reporting that a verdict has been reached and will be announced at 6pm EST.

  3. Guilty.