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High-jinx in Court

Oct
31
2006

Italy’s highest court ruled recently that jinxing someone isn’t against the law. While it sounds like playground antics, in a superstitious country it is a big deal.


One of the most damning things that can be said about a person in Italy is that they bring bad luck (“porta iella“), a label once stuck on is hard to rub off. More dramatic than being a failure or a success — since either of those could be due to luck or perhaps family — being a jinx is a mark some are said to be born with.
Apparently, though, if you decide to cast yourself as Cassandra it’s a different story.
The case heard by the cassation court involved a text-message jinx where one man, identified only as Alex R., thumbed a heavy prediction to a friend who owned a cafè that her business “won’t last, you will lose everything, you’re fooling yourself.” (translation mine).
Alex was slapped with a €350 fine for verbal abuse and threats from the first judge in March 2005, but decided to defend his right to act as harbinger of bad fortune.
The court ruled that wishing his friend ill could not “be considered a threat when the bad event predicted doesn’t depend on the will or actions of the person predicting it.”
Still, Alex isn’t off the hook for verbal abuse and was ordered to pay €337 in fines. My guess would be that he’s sitting around with a voodoo doll of his friend — no mention of her name or what happened to her business in the newspapers — really, seriously, hoping things turn out badly for her.
Who knows, like the main character in Luigi Pirandello‘s “The License,” Alex may be back in court to get himself certified as a jinx so he can cast spells for a living.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 9:07 AM | Permalink

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