Monday, 3 October 2011

Foxy Knoxy

I write this as the verdict has just been announced and the prisoners freed. There is live TV coverage of the crowd who are shouting 'Murderer' outside. Stephanie Kercher, the sister of the murdered Meredith, fears that her sister is being forgotten in all the fuss about Knox. Whether this means she believes Knox is guilty or that someone must be guilty is not clear.

I am making no guesses about what happened for the very good reason that I have no idea, but it is clear that there is only one story here and, as Stephanie Kercher feared, it is Knox. Why?

There are two contrasting ways of reading this. The first is the conventional feminist way, regarding Knox as a representative female victim, whether she is guilty or not. Knox is pretty, Knox is photogenic, Knox is an aspect of the scandalous feminine. Knox is a symbol. She was called 'a sex-loving she-devil' by the prosecution. She is a devil. In any case she is a scarlet woman or a virgin. And this is Italy where scarlet women and virgins still count for something. The fact is people are interested in her.

There is another person involved, Raffaele Sollecito, but no one is interested in him or ever has been. Who he? He too has served four years in prison, apparently innocently. He's a blank. He's handsome enough but that's all. People care what happens to her, either way. Very few care what happens to him.

Meredith Kercher continues dead. Rudy Guede, convicted of her murder, is in prison and has been for close on three years.

In the meantime the news frenzy continues. It is as if Amanda Knox were leaving the Big Brother house.

I predict a shower of doctoral theses.


Anonymous said...

Reading round the case this morning, it is no wonder she was freed. The forensic evidence against them was non existent, the compiling of it a joke and the prosecutors went through about five different theories of why they were involved. The third person involved, a convicted thief who was found guilty in a seperate, 'fast track' trial he had elected to undergo due to the lesser sentence the accused recives if they go this route and are found guilty - is clearly guilty. He changed his evidence in his appeal, after Knox and her co-accused were potted, introducing evidence he had not mentioned during his own, first trial, clearly trying to pin his guilt on them, making up utter nonsense.

The fact they both spoke up pleading for themselves, Knox without notes, suggests that they are oscar winning actors or simply innocent. The amount of people in prison who she cmae across and think she is innocent, the legal people who came across her and came to think she was innocent, all point to it being so.

And then we have the prosecutor, like the prosecutor in the Assange case in Sweden, making it up as they went along, and, tellingly, alone in the court when the verdict was read out. First the prosecution said it was some ritual sacrifice, then sex-games gone wrong and basically, unable to come up with any motive apart from what was in their own lurid fantasies.

Then we have the 'pigs', Italy a totally corrupt shithole, slapping her about, lying about it and then prosecuting her for slander when she stuck to her story about then slapping her about.

You only have to look at the primeminister, a pensioner sleazeball lying through his back teeth, a queue of twenty-somthing showgirls waiting in line to hump the lizard.

Fair play to her. Imagine the kind of stuff you could write under that pressure. You only have to read the dock speeches of Irish rebels facing the scaffold, to know how powerful one's mind gets when put in these kind of situations.


George S said...

You are probably right, Doris, in fact I expect you are, though Berlusconi's sleazeball status seems a different matter to me, unless the implication is that all Italians are corrupt sleazeballs simply through being Italians.

My post wasn't about her case as such - I have followed it sporadically - but about the contrast between the interest in Knox and Sollecito.

The whole case seems to have been a cross between medievalism and tabloid excess.

James Hamilton said...

Yes: the expression on Knox's face and her general bearing when she entered the courtroom were powerfully affecting, and I join the list of those who forgot about Sollecito. The cheapest point might be the truest one here: that "we" simply don't expect articulate, attractive young American women to commit acts of pointless murder but the idea has a dark appeal. "We" are, on the other hand, innured by the memories of war to the idea that handsome, articulate young men are capable of just about anything.

panther said...

Sollecito is a young Italian male. He isn't a virgin. Past a certain (young) age, he wasn't expected to be a virgin. Knox, on the other hand, is a "sex-loving she-devil" who (shock ! horror !) carried condoms in her handbag.

The flaw in this attitude is of course this : who are the Sollecitos of the world meant to have sex with, if not the Knoxes ? Because I don't think the people who have this attitude (N.B not just some Italians) are advocating widespread male homosexuality.

Depressing : That the age-old double-standard is still alive and well

Less Depressing : That the judicial system finally saw through the irrelevancies (and the rubbish DNA-collecting and analysis) and reached a just conclusion.

Dafydd John said...

People make powerful and convincing cases. But as I watched some of the coverage last night - mea culpa - I too was shocked at how 'even the BBC' concentrated almost exclusively on Knox. It's easy, all too easy it seems, to forget that Sollecito, too, was originally found guilty, and he also spent four years in prison.

panther said...

It's a variation on the Dead White Female trope, isn't it ? The Attractive Female Defendent. It should have absolutely nothing to do with it but if Knox had been a, shall we say, Plain Jane, this case would have got far less attention all round.

George S said...

From university in a fleeting ten minutes...

I think the gender double standard cuts both ways. Panther is right that there would have been far less interest in the case if Knox had been plain. In some respects then she is a perfect exemplar of what feminism began to argue forty years or more ago - and think where it's got us, you might say. To which the answer would be: at least noticing such things when they occur.

But, like James, and like so many others, by no means all male, I'm not immune to the compulsiveness of the beautiful. In other words, I too ignore Sollecito. Maybe it's for the reasons James sets out: such crimes - particularly such crimes - are less expected of beautiful young, educated women.

But the double standard does Sollecito no favours. I doubt he will get the book deals Knox will get. He'll live in Italy - if he continues to live there - under a constant intimate shadow.

But then double standards may exist because of some innate differences. It is not impossible.

Dafydd John said...

You ignored Sollecito, George, because he was invisible.

Innocent but invisible.

Anonymous said...

"Italy a totally corrupt shithole"

Such vulgar rubbish invalidates the whole of what feminist "Doris" has to say.

Anonymous said...

Reading the Mitcheli Report on this case, there is strong evidence that puts all three defendants in that house at the time of Meredith's murder. The two scum bags cleaned-up after the event, leaving Rudi's DNA untouched. Knox and Sollecito are full of deceit and justice will prevail. It may take some time. People need to understand the true facts of the case by reading the extensive case file made public following the first sentencing and not read secondhand tabloid spin where facts can be mis-represented.

Anonymous said...

I think a part of the willingness to accuse Knox was that the crime was described as an 'extreme sex game.' It's such an overwhelming image people saw little else... (and people were so disgusted by the *idea* of it they couldn't see past that to her potential innocence.) If the supposed crime had been provoked by jealousy or happened in the midst of an argument, I don't think Knox would have been simultaneously so villified and defended. There's little more horrific a false accusation for Knox or her family to have dealt with...