Current Events: I was Amanda Knox

I was really excited when the announcement was made on Friday that Amanda Knox was once again exonerated by the Italian courts for the murder of one of her college housemates, Meredith Kercher. The story was buried behind an endless looping of coverage of the Germanwings airline crash in France so it didn’t get much play and I thought I would write a little about it now.

In 2007, brutally murdered college student, Meredith Kercher was found inside her house by one of her three roommates, Amanda Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Quickly and without any physical evidence, the italian prosecutor pointed a finger and Knox and her boyfriend. With the help of the media, Amanda Knox was condemned for a series of seemingly callous actions like taking a few pecks from her boyfriend while police searched her house and doing a cartwheel at the police station. Back in 2007, I was 22, and didn’t care about the news too much. Don’t get me wrong, I gobbled up the occasional news headline for conversational pieces, but couldn’t stay focused enough to actually digest a story. I, like the rest of the world looked at the Amanda Knox story and thought to myself that she must have done it and I hope she fried. About the time I outgrew my 20’s selfish phase (or did I ever? Still figuring that out), I began to find crime drama stories fascinating. Perhaps it was the mask of invincibility that faded off of me that lead me to indulging in a genre that is actually quite terrifying.

Even though I had paid attention to this story over several mediums, it was a 2013 episode of 20/20 that broke down the entire Amanda Knox story that left me jaw dropped. Seeing the big picture of the entire case there was no way this girl could have committed this murder. To start, there’s startling proof that the prosecutor, who looks like he rose from the grave specifically to take on this case, fluffed up a sexy headline grabbing story of a satanic sex party gone wrong just to advance his legacy. Secondly, there is photographic evidence of sloppy police work, unlogged police evidence and a strong case for tampering. Third, they have DNA and a confession of the actual person who killed Meredith but decided to cut him a sweetheart deal to serve just 16 years IF he confessed that Amanda and her BF were involved as well. And with that, Amanda was convicted of murder and served a long and painful 2 years inside an Italian prison until one of her appeals finally overturned the corrupt conviction. The girl got hosed and yet the hate directed at her on the streets of Italy was thick enough to cut with a knife.

Sure, it seems hard to explain the strange and emotionally distant behaviors of Knox at the time of the murder, but when I began to take into account the actual circumstances of her life at that moment, the picture made total sense. Amanda was a 20 years old kid from Seattle going to school abroad. It was by all accounts, her first taste of freedom and she was lucky enough to be living it in a country that offered her a range of experiences she would have never been able to find back home. Amanda had only known Meredith and moved into the house five weeks prior to her death and it seems with their busy schedules, they didn’t know each other all that well except for some friendly banter and the occasional bickering about matters such as cleanliness that roommates so often have. Meredith was a cute girl, I’d say far cuter than Amanda and so it’s not hard for me to relate to my inner 20 year old and think, gee I get a lot more attention when I am out solo over being on the prowl with a cuter and more outgoing girl my own age, so that makes it seem totally plausible that in 5 weeks neither took the time to develop any strong bonds. In addition, Amanda was in a brand new relationship with a boy and they were in that obsessed with each other phase, so I doubt she has much time to throw around at things like making girlfriends when her world was dominated by overwhelming first love.

Could I see 20 year old me smooching my love while he comforts me during a time of need? Yes. Could I see myself after a 18 hour day stretching my body and acting in a careless manner inside a police station? Yeah, especially if I had nothing to do with the murder and didn’t really know or care too much about the girl in question. After all, I am 20, I am selfish, my number one priority is to get back to drinking legally, making out with my boyfriend and learning Italian. Not to say that it isn’t a tragedy, it is. But we were all 20 once and being selfish and stupid goes along with the territory. For a lot of people, especially those who grew up in a household without it, empathy is something that grows and improves over a long period of time. And for the simple reason that she was lacking it, Amanda Knox lost her innocence and the best years of her life. It’s scary to think how quickly a good person’s life can derail.

It was actually considered a long shot for the Italian High Court to reach a final decision in Amanda’s favor, and after all she has been thorough by being wrongfully convicted twice, it’s nice to think there is always hope, even in situations where injustice has run amuck. I know she will breathe a little easier each night and day, just as she should.

What do you think about the Amanda Knox case? Post your thoughts in the comments section.

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Just my 2¢: Classic Shamecraft

Welcome back,

I had a very interesting interaction this morning on Facebook and it inspired me to take a look at what I call shamecraft, a gathering of like minded, though not necessarily right minded, individuals who sit high on their mighty horses trying to police everyone’s morality. The typical tactics being; reacting overly sensitive to a matter at hand, voicing a very specific outrage (typically based on little to no facts, just feelings), finding others who are like-minded and gravitate to controversy and then trying to verbally beat an apology out of whomever created the source of the outrage. The internet can be a low down dirty place where the most meekish accountant can throw off his gloves and be in a constant verbal Fight Club, slinging around words he would never utter in real life. I think it’s the anonymity of it all that makes people embrace the worst of themselves and I guess when there are no consequences most people are failing to tame the monsters that rest deep inside.

It was an article I read about an editor at Vogue who posted a picture of a homeless person sitting down in the street, reading the magazine – the editor added the caption “Paris is full of surprises. . . and @voguemagazine readers even in unexpected corners!” Now, when I read this I thought two things; man, Paris is so cool even the homeless are interested in fashion, then hey, it’s really great to know because I have a huge stack of magazines I would have never thought to donate to a homeless shelter.  Of course these kind of optimistic reactions were swiftly muted by the raging mob that would attack this woman.  Not all mob members are equal, you have the more calm folks who stick to simple name calling and then you get the more extreme side that will wish harm in every way imaginable. Who are these kinds of people that were brought up in a way that they would actually wish someone bodily harm or to become unemployed and penniless? Would they want a bunch of people wishing that on them? I bet if all of these people were willing to step out of the shadows and allow us to dissect the complete history and words of their actions there would be a thousand things they themselves could be thrown to the wolves for. I am sure it could be done if you look closely enough at anyone.

In the Vogue situation, a public apology was later released after the editor posed initial resistance to the backlash by asking people why they considered what she was doing to be cruel. I can just imagine the magazine stockholders gathering frantically, voting with ease to throw the editor under the bus and issue and apology rather than risk any possible loss in profits. So what played out more like the begrudged action of apologizing has only fed into the rage mob’s ego and made their monsters stronger. At what point is enough enough? Who exactly does and does not have a freedom of expression? Who is the person who is determining exactly how much morality each stranger on the street should possess and exactly how they should use it?

So, I posted some of my feelings and a link to the story and got a quick response from one of those FB Friend-ish types that you don’t really that well and haven’t spoken to directly for several years. This person claimed that the Vogue situation was exploiting homeless and that the wealthy editor should have been giving that person money. An interesting thought, but not one I agreed with since the photo was a real life moment and not staged, and also I doubt the tweeted photo drove up sales of Vogue magazine in any way. I also suggested to Friend-ish that we have no idea who this editor is on the inside, for all we know she could be the most charitable living editor in the business today and its not up to strangers to tell her how to spend her money. Bottom line is that in my opinion we just don’t know enough to judge, but I did appreciate the FB Friend-ish’s point of view because it give me a chance to gather that particular train of thought. I did however, found out the gratitude was one sided when Friend-ish quickly ended the conversation by unfriending me after reading my response. To each their own, but it’s kind of amusing and a bit serendipitious that someone became so easily offended by something so slight. Don’t worry, I will not be losing any sleep, I love a good debate, I love when my ways of thinking are challenged and my mind is opened to making connections I may have not thought of on my own. I can only conclude that Frend-ish’s real motive in initiating the conversation on my page was just to give me a piece of her mind and maybe teach me a thing or two, and that makes her come off more like a member of the rage mob than not. So, it’s important to pay close attention to your social media connections because as you can see, they are everywhere.

Just my 2¢

Megan

What are your thoughts? Are we as a society becoming too sensitive? Are you guilty of participating in shamecraft? Be sure to leave some feedback in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this bog and share with your friends!

Just my 2¢: So, about that Brian Williams

As I sit back to watch yet another episode of NBC’s recently lackluster Nightly News, I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit of my thoughts on the Brian Williams scandal. It’s been several weeks now since BW has been bumped out of the chair, and I blame myself, really. I remember watching that Rangers game live on TV and I got so excited when a two-shot of Brian and Tom Hanks sitting in the stands popped on my screen. At that very moment I thought to myself, wow, how cool is it that two of the most upstanding public figures are actually friends (this is not at all an exaggeration despite what you will come to learn about me).  And then boom, that very night after the game Brian says something to the press that incited the snowball that knocked the great Brian Williams off of his throne. People were outraged and seemingly excited by the whole thing. But, I was not. I like Brian Williams, and even though Lester Holt is a fine broadcaster, I’d prefer his dark and sinister voice delivering the intro packages to Dateline and not my news rundown. For those of you who don’t know, Brian was caught talking about going down in a helicopter overseas, when it actually turns out he was in an different one that did technically go down, but in the exact way it was suppose to and not in a crash as he implied. Ok, this is bad, but is it really banish worthy? Oh boy, if someone was fact checking my life, I would be exiled off the planet along with almost everyone I know.

This left me thinking to myself, who hasn’t done the equivalent of telling a tall tale about crashing on an aircraft? Personally, I have actually told a tall tale about crashing on an aircraft! You see, I come from a long line of exaggerators, no really, I’m pretty sure my great–great-great-grandsomething was the ruler of The Valley of Selective Memories and then was married off to the queen of Make Believeia and they spent their days breeding unicorns and spinning thread into gold. It was quite the pairing. Of course, the inherent traits and wealth dwindled through time and each generation got a little more normal and poorer. So, I am lousy at making thread into anything really, but your girl can still spin a tale.

I was once working on a documentary that sent me back to Detroit for the very first time since I had moved away at age 14 1. The city was cold, dark and depressing and made me feel the same sick way that walking into a war museum always does. After a day, I caught a flight down to Tampa and just after hitting our cruising altitude we hit an air pocket, the entire plane went dark and suddenly we began dropping altitude.

Now, do you think this calm description is anywhere close to how I recalled the story for the first 5 years I told it? Heck no! Here is how 20 something me told the glory story:

I was on a plane making the very same trip that me and my family took every year to visit Disneyworld 2, and I was feeling all emotional because fate had brought me back to my hometown and made me face the reality of the depth of poverty and depression my neighbors have been going through 3. Anyway, those planes can really hold up, so part of me thinks that just maybe that exact same TWA aircraft from my childhood and my whole life was coming full circle 4. As soon as we leveled off the entire plane lost power and we were falling thousands of feet into a sea of orange clouds 5. The big, strong man next to me coward in fear and we gripped tightly onto our shared armrest. Not one word was spoken by anyone on the plane, but the sharp ping from everyone’s gasps filled the air 6. Eventually, we leveled off but for a full hour afterwards nobody from the crew surfaced. When we got close to the Tampa airport we were making circles with other aircraft, which was very odd. Figuring this was for an emergency landing, I began to sweat through my clothes and work on the Skymall sudoku, praying that God not to let me die before I solved one of these freaking things 7. Once we landed safely, I was so overjoyed, I ran out of the airport 8 and got down on my knees and literally 9 kissed the sidewalk.

So, you can see the first hand de-evolution of my tale as time went by. The whole thing became more emotionally distant and less important as I filled my mental scrapbook with so many other exciting life experiences. I know I am no journalist and there is suppose to be a fine line of trust there, but it seems like a pretty easy thing to jump from one row to another, so long as you are staying in the same ballpark 10. I just have a hard time thinking that a man should lose his entire career when at this point he is really just reading news that his media outlet has already put their own spin on anyway.

Just my

Megan

FOOTNOTES:
1 Exaggeration #1, I technically lived in the suburbs 30 minutes north of Detroit!
2 Nope, we always flew into Orlando.
3 I have never known anyone to live in Detroit’s city limits
4 Yeah, TWA went out of business in 2001, well before this happened, but at least I added the word maybe.
5 I have no aviation skills, it could have been 200 feet for all I know.
6 Shockingly, this part is true.
7 Still all true, though I found out after we landed they were doing construction on the runway and that was the reason for the airline conga line.
8 30 minutes later once I got my baggage – but who needs to hear that?
9 NOT literally!
10 Ok, in this case, it’s jumping full sections.

Beyond The End: Wrap up

There you have it, in no particular order! Thanks for taking the time to stick this out with me, there will be a lot more stuff coming out soon.  Be sure to follow my blog and share on your social media.

A very special thank you goes out to my Cousin, Jennifer Miller, who helped me clean up and edit my last few postings.

I welcome anyone who wants to offer up any additional film couple suggestions in the comments section. Let me know what you think about my conclusions and anything else you would like to see.

Until next time,

Megan

Beyond The End: Review 10 – Jerry McGuire – 1996

Couple:

Jerry McGuire & Dorothy Boyd

Why I love it:

“You complete me.” Sigh, those are the three best words I have ever heard as a substitute to “I Love You.”   I was at my peak of being an observer of love, taking everything in like a sponge and making lists of qualities the man of my dreams would possess. It tuns out that Jerry McGuire had quite a lot of them.

Synopsis:

Jerry McGuire is a playboy sports agent with a special set of skills that are only shared with the shadiest of used car salesmen. One night, Jerry unexpectedly grows a conscience and attempts to start a very vocal revolution that would offer better care and consideration of his fellow man, but deeply hurt the pockets of his stockholders. After losing his job, fiancée and money, Jerry struggles to start his own company with the support of a lowly secretary who surprisingly decides to throw away a secure job and go all in with Jerry. Feeling responsible for this woman and her son, Jerry jumps the gun and marries Dorothy, but the two experience the rockiness that accompanies marrying a relative stranger. In the end, Jerry realizes that despite the rapid speed that temporarily derailed the relationship, Dorothy ultimately had everything he wanted in a spouse.

Couple Conclusion:

This may be the most controversial, but I think these two will make it. The fact that Jerry already had a long history with the sweet bachelor lifestyle and then passes on the opportunity to return to it free from guilt tells me the guy is ready to be a committed man. So, as long as he holds on to that charisma and leadership attitude, Dorothy will stay by his side and be the greatest cheerleader anyone can ask for. Plus, Jerry loves her son and if the end of the movie is any indication, that kid went on to be a pro-ball player under the guidance of his very proud stepfather, Jerry.

Beyond The End: Review 9 – 50/50 – 2011

Couple:

Adam Lerner & Katherine McKay

Why I love it:

This was a movie that I waited to watch on DVD for fear of having a total meltdown in a public movie theater. We can pretend that the line between life and death is more of a theoretic thing until we are forced to walk so close to it that the comfortable distant fuzz surrounding it comes into razor sharp focus. Experiencing the tremendously difficult loss of an on-again, off-again boyfriend myself just 9 months before it’s release may be the reason this film sticks out in my mind.

Synopsis:

Adam Lerner is a 27 year old man who did everything right. He ate healthy, jogged, and worked endlessly to make his ungrateful girlfriend happy, but in the end it didn’t spare him from developing a cancerous tumor in his spine that would leave his chances at life at 50/50. Adam’s positive attitude became more difficult to obtain after he catches his girlfriend cheating on him. Reluctantly, Adam begins attending therapy sessions, lead by the inexperienced 24-year-old Katherine McKay. Adam’s apprehensions surrounding the novice therapist only begin to crack when his health begins to deteriorate and he is forced to undergo a very risky procedure. Though he has a good support system, Adam’s glimpse into the dark emptiness of death pushes him to break down in front of Katherine, the only person he feels that can help him shoulder this burden. She manages to awaken a spark of hope that he holds on to through a full recovery.

Couple Conclusion:

Though, I can’t possibly imagine ever finding a reason to say no to the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I have to believe that the high emotions of the situation were running this romantic train. The girl is starting the relationship with a huge career no-no by engaging too personally with a patient. And, yes, technically they didn’t get together until he was no longer under her care, but I think she still knew deep down planting those seeds of love early on was improper. I think this will make her struggle with the bigger picture of her ethics down the road and a small feeling of guilt will begin to grow. All I have to say is that it’s ok, Katherine. I’m pretty sure most of the things I did when I was 24 consisted of no forethought as well.

Beyond The End: Review 8 – Sixteen Candles – 1984

Couple:

Samantha Baker & Jake Ryan

Why I love it:

Many of my girlfriends who are 5 to 10 years older than me consider this film to be the holy grail of romantic comedies. Though, I can share in the appreciation, I was never prepared to chop off and dye my hair red, like so many of my fellow gal pals. This flick is always cute, quick watch and pretty much solidified Molly Ringwald as the 80’s queen teen. On a side note, did you know that Jake Ryan’s house and Cameron’s Dad’s place from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off happen to be less than half a mile apart? Now, that’s a neighborhood I wouldn’t have minded growing up in.

Synopsis:

Samantha Baker is having the worst week. Her family has all but forgotten of her existence in the wake of her older sister’s wedding, which falls one day after her sixteenth birthday. They very un-sweet day passes without so much as an acknowledgement from any of the extended family staying under the same roof. To top it off, her high school crush, Jake Ryan has intercepted a sex quiz that embarrassingly reveals her hidden feeling towards him. Jake comes to the realization that his current two-dimensional girlfriend could never compare to what Samantha has to offer. After breaking it off with his current fling, he runs off to give Sam the birthday celebration and attention that she always deserved.

Couple Conclusion:

Not to be a cynic here, but it’s hard to believe that there are a high percentage of people out there who can hang on to a man beginning at age 16. I think Jake, who is a senior, was meant to cross paths with Sam to help build up the confidence she will need to apply for the rest of her life. I see them enjoying a very innocent coupledom until the day Jake leaves for college. I think he will frequently look back to those days and wonder exactly why he didn’t make more of an effort to keep her in his life. But, he will realize that at some point his adoration would have become smothering to their independent growth and he will accept and endorse the choices he made. So even though they don’t technically make it, I wouldn’t rule out a post-first or second marriage reunion for this couple in their late 50’s.