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Well said, Michael! You explained that very well - if you don't mind my saying so.

In 'Life and How to Survive It' by the psychiatrist, Robin Skynner, and the comedienne, John Cleese, Robin explains why the optimally psychologically-healthy always appear naive to the, er . . . . . . . . . . not so psychologically healthy. It's a fascinating book and well worth reading if one is interested in the kind of issues you describe here.

"Everyone in Italy wants to believe the worst of others so they don't end up looking gullible. Above all, they want to be seen as furbo.""

Interesting post, Michael. What a dark picture it paints of (at least some) Italians. Did you walk away with the impression that they're worse in this regard than other nationalities? Certainly a controversial argument, if that's what the authors are really claiming.

"This potent cocktail of furbo, face-saving, and opportunism explains a lot about the Italian justice system. But I think it also provides an explanation for the behavior of at least some militant debunkers of the paranormal."

Sounds about right!

The authors do seem to feel that obsession with saving face is more prevalent in Mediterranean countries than in northern countries.

The Italian justice system seems to be seriously flawed, to the point where I would think twice before visiting that country.

MP: they are in the know. Potere, power, is that I know what you do not know.
In The Lonely Crowd, David Riesman called this stance that of "the inside-dopester." He said it was a feature of other-directed (social-approval-seeking) society.

Another question for you Michael, since you brought up the case: Based on what you've learned, do you feel confident that Amanda Knox is innocent? Her behavior, at times, has seemed strange. I've watched a documentary or two, and don't know what to think.

For a look at the tragedy of the Italian police system and the country's general mentality (oriented toward personal rather than impersonal goods), see the highly praised mystery novels by Donna Leon, especially this $8 Kindle item, Death in a Strange Country:

"One-upmanship" is a powerful motive, especially among guys, for whom being the top banana is a big deal. The authority on the topic is Stephen Potter, who wrote a book of that title, along with Gamesmanship ("how to win without actually cheating") and Lifesmanship. Those three titles are available in one volume here, used, for under $10. (There are other editions too.) (No Kindle edition yet.)
These are the ultimate in British humor: a play-it-straight pose atop an anarchic reality.

"Based on what you've learned, do you feel confident that Amanda Knox is innocent?"

Yes. The whole case against her was cobbled together out of nothing. She's clearly an immature girl whose behavior is odd at times, but I see no reason to think she's guilty of anything more than being a bit ditzy.

Hi Michael, I didn't read that book but I can confirm that the justice system in Italy is just flawed like that. There are countless other examples, one of the most infamous was the case of Enzo Tortora in the 80':

This attitude by authorities of refusing to change their minds reminds me of "the right man syndrome." which has been discussed here before.

Note to myself.... don't go to Italy. If I want to go out to eat Italian food go to Maggiano's Little Italy. I even have a coupon for $10 off our next meal there. {grin!}

Julie, the honest man never thinks anyone lies to him, the dishonest man always thinks everyone's lying to him.

I have to agree about the Amanda Knox case, too. I was appalled watching a documentary about it. Obvious facts were ignored by the police, who's only aim it seemed was to paint her as some kind of satanic witch. Crazy.

"Yes. The whole case against her was cobbled together out of nothing."

Thanks, Michael. It's a frightening subject, and "monsters" does seem like the right word to describe these prosecutors.

Of course, we've seen stories about this sort of behavior here in the US, too.

@Kathleen: "Julie, the honest man never thinks anyone lies to him, the dishonest man always thinks everyone's lying to him."

We see others as we are, not as they are.

I'm a child welfare prosecutor handling cases that involve extreme situations of abuse and neglect by parents and other adults (allegedly).

Although it is a very difficult job, some of the most rewarding moments of my career have been the denial and refusal to prosecute cases where I felt my burden of proof was too high and the amount of evidence I had too little. When you rely solely on witness testimony to bring you facts, and all it takes is the stroke of a pen to take action, it presents a tremendous amount of pressure, stress, and obligation. Not to mention I'm working in a very under resourced high crime volume office. The cases where you "just know" something happened, see the intense trauma in the face of the victim, and you know nothing will ever happen (sometimes because Im choosing not to proceed) is a heavy cross to bear...

but a prosecutor's responsibility is deeper than an emotional knee jerk reaction to horrible events. And I wish all of us saw it that way. Our way of life and our Justice system, although it may sound cheesy, is too important to me to take shortcuts. The trial part, for me, is actually the easiest, the decision has already been cast.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this:

Like the criminal who commits even the most grotesque, most heinous crime; the reasoning, the understanding, the motivation, resonates in all of us - even if it's at some basic reptilian, monstrous level. These Italian prosecutors, even if they are committing some of the worst crimes imaginable, also resonate with me at that level. Even if they are disgracing my entire life's work. It's not excusable, but I understand it.

Sleepers, You have my deep respect. -AOD

Excellent post, Sleepers. Thank you.

Very interesting and informative. Thanks!

Tonight, Wednesday, at 10 PM Pacific time (1 AM Eastern), on Coast to Coast AM:

First Half: Roberta Grimes had two experiences of light in childhood that prompted her to major in religion at Smith College and then spend her life studying more than 150 years of abundant and consistent communications from the dead. She'll discuss how quantum physics and research in consciousness provide a detailed picture of what we are, what reality is, and what actually is going on after death.


Here's an invitation to a free webinar called "Mediumship 101," sponsored by the Forever Family Foundation.

Thanks for the information about the webinar. I see it is April 15th from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend as this is the time I am sprawled-out on the floor trying to get my taxes finished so that I can get the return to the post office before midnight. - AOD

I agree with you Michael re the Amanda Knox case. There were graphic pictures of the flat after the murder, and a U.S. detective commented on how he evaluates a crime scene on first viewing to assert what took place. He said how it was fairly apparent there was one killer. With her pushed against the wall ( blood on wall) then bled on floor. One set of footprints ( hard not to get prints in blood at scene). And police using same gloves to handle evidence - thus cross contamination especially small amount on bra etc. They would not have gone to court in the U.S. Well written Michael, and so true in all regards. Lyn x.

Right on cue, there's a new (and welcome) development in the Amanda Knox case:

"Italy's highest court overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Friday, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated people on both sides of the Atlantic.... The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Knox and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito....

"The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year's convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial. The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by the evidence."

"Right on cue, there's a new (and welcome) development in the Amanda Knox case"

Wow, Michael. I'm impressed by how rapidly they responded to your comments. I hope to have you on my side next time I'm on trial for murder.

Once again we witness the awesome power of this blog.

I just saw on the Daily Mail that Amanda Knox is going to return to Italy to write a book? If this is true I think she is crazy. No way would I go back there if I were her.

"Amanda Knox in line for multi-million compensation payout as she prepares to return to Italy to write a book"

Read more:

I agree, Art. Knox is crazy to go back. If she gets rearrested, I'll have no sympathy for her.

This is sort of off-topic, and not proof of an afterlife, but it does suggest something. A woman in Mexico known for feeding stray dogs and general kindness towards others, died, and stray dogs in the area attended her funeral (photos provided). One skeptic noted that the dogs just wanted a cool floor to lie on. But those who worked at the funeral home said there were never any stray dogs around. And they disappeared afterwards. It's not easily explainable. The story and photos can be found at:

How">">How Much Does Italy Owe Amanda Know? A Lot

Vanity Fair article just out.

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