The Amanda Knox case

A reader sent, and I’ve read, the long Vanity Fair article by Judy Bachrach on the murder of British college student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy in November 2007. Charged in the case are Amanda Knox, an American who was 20 a the time, her Italian boyfriend at the time of the murder, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast. The facts of the case are very much up in the air. What is clear—independently of the unsettled question of their guilt in the murder—is the absolute depravity of the suspects, who are extreme examples of the casual nihilism that our aggressively secular society has unleashed, particularly among young people. William Jennings Bryan was right. Convince human beings that there is no God and that they are animals, and they will begin to act that way.

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A reader writes:

Please don’t quote me by name because my ideas about Amanda Knox are completely subjective and I have nothing concrete to back them up. To me she is a walking contradiction. The first time I saw a photo of Ms. Knox, I was completely taken by her beauty. It was perfection to me.

Then, after I read details of her case and looked at countless videos and photos of her, her vile spirit became increasingly visible to me.

It’s something which appears in her expression and in her eyes. I don’t believe in witches, but she impresses me as a great beauty who has been possessed by something evil.

John B. writes:

She’s not that good-looking—and besides, the white race has never lacked for women who, in the power of their emergent (and short-lived) sexual appeal, delight in brutality. The record on that is clear, I suspect, from ancient times to the present. It’s just one of the several ugly manifestations of vanity, which is the race’s hallmark—and which most whites parochially regard as an element of “human nature” (like drunk driving). Liberalism, not incidentally, is merely the same vanity—stupidly directed against the race itself.

LA replies:

I reject this current notion I’ve hearing more and more lately, seemingly coming out of the decadent Roissy world, that women’s sexual appeal is short lived. Yes, there is a period, in the late teens and early twenties, when females have some special quality that is hard to describe in words. The fifth century B.C. Athenian scultpors caught it. Though it’s short lived for each individual, it’s also a timeless thing, recurring from one generation to the next.,

However, that stage is just one stage of life. It is not the most complete. And I think it’s a kind of materialistic idol worship to think that it is. It is a stage of youth. And it does not represent the height of female sexual attractivenss and womanliness, because females of that age are undeveloped emotionally and are self-centered.

Also, since when do females of that age have a monopoly on brutal crimes? Clytaemnestra was a mature woman when she slaughtered her husband.

And brutality is the outcome of vanity? I don’t know what you mean.

November 23

John Hagan writes:

Ann Coulter read the trial transcripts of the Knox case, and in this column cuts through all the noise that surrounds this situation in my opinion and implicates Knox. What a mess the American press is !

LA replies:

Well, this was a tonic after reading the Judy Bachrach article in Vanity Fair, which creates the impresion that the facts are difficult to determine and it’s not at all clear that Knox and her boyfriend were involved.

Robert writes:

I spent several hours trying to wrap my brain around this case and Amanda Knox by reading everything I could find. Her supporters point out that the forensic evidence (knife) with her DNA on it found at Raffaele’s apartment couldn’t be the murder weapon and was likely improperly handled. I suppose both assertions are quite possible. However, from what I have read, it’s pretty clear that the crime scene was staged and partially cleaned up. Glass shards in the bedroom were on top of the clothes strewn about the bedroom floor and a footprint outside of Meredith’s locked door had to be lifted using Luminol. Why would Guede clean up one foot print and not the bathroom? Why would Guede stage a burglary?

More interesting to me is this: You’re a 20 year old female college student in a foreign country. You’ve been there for two months and your roommate was brutally raped, sodomized and killed. What do you do? Go shopping at Bubble for thongs? Act as if nothing had happened? Complain that the police are wasting your time? I would have thought a more probable course of action would have been to move to safer housing, or ask your landlord to secure the building, or to board up your bedroom window and put a large lock on your interior bedroom door. Leaving aside the possibility that she didn’t like Meredith, Amanda should have at least been concerned for her own safety.

The African immigrant, Guede, was a one-man crime spree. A few weeks before the murder, he had broken into a lawyer’s office in Perugia and stolen a laptop computer, which was later found with him when he was sleeping in an office he had broken into in Milan, a couple hundred miles away. There were similarities between the lawyer’s office break-in and the staged break-in at the Perugia rental house. Why do Western countries continue the practice of importing criminally-inclined immigrant groups? Why do they not immediately deport criminals at the first sign of trouble? Would the residents of Perugia during the Renaissance have tolerated criminal immigrants to remain free among them?

Another fascinating aspect to this case is the whole “study abroad” practice. I have yet to figure out what Amanda was studying, but it can’t have been a very rigorous program. She seems to have spent more time bar hopping, smoking dope and dating than studying. Outside of language immersion, the whole study abroad program seems to be subsidized form of tourism for our young people—as if young people in the West don’t have enough ways to delay adulthood. Study abroad seems to be a particularly attractive avenue for young women to sample the young men of a different culture without the word getting back to mom and dad.

We’ll probably never know Amanda’s exact role in the murder, but it seems totally unlikely that she would help Guede stage a crime scene if she had absolutely no prior involvement. Why would a young woman risk spending the rest of her life in prison to protect (up to that point) a petty criminal whom we are told was a casual acquaintance? Is this remotely consistent with the behavior of someone who is clearly a narcissist? I think she’ll be found guilty in a couple of weeks and every prominent feminist lawyer in the U.S. will make a bee line for the nearest microphone.

November 24

John B. writes:

Amanda Knox is not that good-looking—and besides, the white race has never lacked for young women who, in the power of their emergent sexual appeal, delight in brutality. The record on that is clear, I suspect, from ancient times to the present. It’s just one of the several ugly manifestations of vanity, which is the race’s hallmark.

LA replies:

How is brutality related to vanity?

John B. replies:

The women are aware that no matter how viciously they behave, their sex appeal will not be reduced. That’s fun—and they indulge it. That’s why I say their viciousness is born of vanity.

Here, by the way, are three more who were not really much to look at—all dressed up for court. From left to right, they are Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Susan Atkins, co-defendants of Charles Manson in his trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders.


LA replies:

With their facial expressions, they look like real-life Bacchae, fresh from dismembering a human victim, and intoxicated by their exploits. You can almost see the bloody flesh of their victim on the lips of the one at the left. We don’t know what experiences the Greeks had that gave them such insight into the depths, but the truth of it speaks for itself. 2,500 years ago, Euripides precisely described certain women in 20th century America.

John B. replies:

I can say only that I agree.

John continues:

You might want to read a 1990 New York Times article about John Moran’s opera The Manson Family. The opera’s director, Bob McGrath, says:

I wanted to show the Manson family characters as representatives of the same archetypes you find in Greek tragedy.

I liken it to the story of the Bacchae. If you think of Manson as Dionysus and the Manson girls as the women of Thebes, it’s amazing how it all follows.

Roger G. writes:

Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous:

“With their facial expressions, they look like real-life Bacchae, fresh from dismembering a human victim, and intoxicated by their exploits. You can almost see the bloody flesh of their victim on the lips of the one at the left.”

What is horrible about these monsters is that they can look like that at the Manson trial. Taken out of this context, they are attractive young women with pleasant expressions on their faces. I defy you to show that picture to anyone who doesn’t know its origin, and get the reaction that there is anything intrinsically evil in it.

LA replies:

In reply to Roger, I don’t agree that the expressions on their faces are just normal and pleasant. Especially with the one on fhe left and the one on the right, there is a self-conscious naughtiness, a disturbing, even depraved looseness about their mouths. I can’t say for certain how I would have reacted to these photos if they hadn’t been presented in the context of the Manson trial, but I can tell you for sure that I would not have said that these girls merely had pleasant expressions. I would have said, at the least, that there was something not right about them.

Matthew writes:

I was surprised by your comments about Amanda Knox. While it is obvious that her moral standards are somewhat different from your own you do realise that she has been framed?

I would have thought that since the perpetrator of the killing of Miss Kercher is Mr. Rudy Guede (a national of the Ivory Coast) who has been convicted and Miss Knox is shall we say a “traditional American” now being blamed despite not even knowing Mr. Guede (her alleged co-conspirator) your usual attitude towards racism directed towards white people might well have been aroused. Surely targeting two innocent white people (Miss Knox and her boyfriend) despite it being an open-and-shut interracial murder would concern you more than Miss Knox’s hedonistic philosophy?

LA replies:

It seems to me that you’re the one looking at this through a lens, a racial lens, that makes you uninterested in the facts. In my initial entry I didn’t say I thought she was guilty. I said the question of her guilt was up in the air. I separated the depraved behavior of her and her boyfriend from the question of her guilt. Evidently you didn’t notice that, because in kneejerk fashion you charge that because I morally disapprove of her, therefore I believe she’s guilty of the murder, whereas what I said was the exact opposite of that. How about reading what people are actually saying, instead of just looking at things through your own preconceptions?

And by the way, since liberals in your view are setting up Knox as a “traditional white American,” how come the entire liberal elite media including the New York Times and Vanity Fair are pushing her innocence? That kind of puts a damper on your theory, doesn’t it? And why does Ann Coulter think she’s guilty? Because Coulter is looking to set up a white? It seems that also puts a damper in your theory.

Robert writes:

I was having a hard time buying into John B.’s observations until he elaborated. Now I understand where he is coming from. His photo of the co-defendants in the Charles Manson murder case really struck me. I am too young to remember much about the Manson murders … but look at these happy, normal-looking women! Without the context, one wouldn’t expect them capable of harming a puppy. (I wrote this before reading a nearly identical comment from another reader).

How could the Manson women seem so cheerful? How could Amanda Knox seem so non-threatening in the photos taken of her during the trial? I think it was Schopenhauer who mentioned the female tendency to live in the present. If you’re really not thinking too much about the Manson murder and you’re just walking down a hallway with your girlfriends and you’re really not thinking too much about the consequence of how the trial will turn out—then I suppose it is easier to be cheerful in that moment.

The perception of a woman’s sex appeal is much more disconnected from her behavior than that of a man’s. Everyone knows this, but there are two consequences that follow. The first, as John B. noted, is that women are aware that no matter how viciously they behave, their sex appeal will not be reduced. The second is that among people who generally equate beauty with virtue, the victim won’t be expecting viciousness or brutality, thus making their conveyance easier and their initiation more likely.

If these two suppositions are correct, then how can our nihilistic age not expand the range of behavioral pathologies facilitated by vanity?

John B. replies to LA’s reply to Roger

Interesting. I’m not sure I can say the same—but that might be simply because liberalism has led me to put my guard down.

Roger G. writes:

This is a point that can be tested. I think Larry should try what I suggested, show that picture to anyone who doesn’t know its origin, and see what reactions he gets.

I in turn disagree with Robert. These creatures know just what they’re doing. They’re posturing to the crowd, glorying in their evil. But I only think that because Larry informs us that these are Manson’s followers.

LA replies:

But the only test that would count here would have been to ask us, prior to our knowing who the girls are. Of course, many or most people will see nothing there. That doesn’t prove anything. Still, it would be worthwhile trying the test.

Roger G. writes:

By the way, when I made my “ridiculous” comment, I knew I wouldn’t have to waste valuable electrons explaining that I was attacking your position, not you. Your disparagers should note this point.

LA replies:

Don’t worry about it, it was clear that you thought that what I said was ridiculous, and your comment was reasonable.

Roger replies:

That’s what I mean. Of course you recognize the difference between a criticism of an opinion, and an ad hominem attack. But all of those who write back and forth, telling each other what a terrible fellow you are, apparently don’t.

November 25

Daniel B. writes:

While reading the post regarding Dionysus, maenads, female cruelty etc. I was reminded of two other incidents. First was the pornographically violent “poetry” written by Melanie Wells (the murdered daughter of the murdered pastor in Virginia). Secondly, the callous disregard demonstrated by Miss Knox is a mirror image of the seeming indifference shown by Casey Anthony in the wake of her child’s disappearance and death. Whether they are guilty of the actual murder or not, the callous disregard for life demonstrated by these women just goes to remind us what a dark place our civilization is in.

November 29

Matthew replies to LA:

Yes you are right. I should not have written such drivel. Apologies for wasting your time.

LA replies:

That’s ok. Not a waste of time. That’s what discussion is about.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 22, 2009 05:49 PM | Send

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