We Thank You, Italy, for Embracing Witchcraft

An Open Letter to Italy

From Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Dear Italy,

We recently noticed that your court in L’Aquila convicted six scientists and a government official of manslaughter and sentenced them each to six years in jail because they did not accurately predict an earthquake. (See Italian Scientists Resign over L’Aquila Quake Verdicts.) This earthquake was a terrible tragedy, killing over 300 people and leaving hundreds more injured and homeless. We extend our sincere condolences to the victims of this natural disaster.

L’Aquila in highlighted Abruzzo region, image by TUBS on wikimedia commons

We also, however, extend our condolences to the people of Italy, who find themselves governed by such imbeciles. The one thing geologists and geophysicists throughout the world all agree on is that science is not yet able to accurately predict earthquakes. We find it amazing that judges and prosecutors in Italy presume to hold Italian scientists to a standard beyond that which is currently possible anywhere on the planet. Apparently in L’Aquila, they expect their scientists to employ witchcraft to predict earthquakes since science cannot do it. Note to L’Aquila prosecutors: Dumbledore is dead. You’re stuck with the scientists. But not for long . . .

Now that Italy has indicated a clear preference for witchcraft over scientific method, we would like to extend an invitation to your most capable scientists and engineers to come live in the US. Our gullible public and corrupt officials are currently less gullible and less corrupt than the Italian judiciary. Your scientists can, to our benefit, practice their skills without fear of being arrested or held to a standard of omnipotent knowledge that one would expect of God.

We realize that, as you watch our election process, you must have your own doubts about the sanity of our people and the integrity of our main political parties. You should carefully note that we have never had someone as vile and corrupt as Berlusconi in our top office. However, we do recognize that’s probably only because Berlusconi’s been at it longer than the youngsters we have in charge over here.

Since Italy apparently no longer has any use for the scientific method, we will happily welcome your best scientists and engineers here. We’d like to thank those few employed Italians with enough money to pay taxes for supporting Italy’s university system all these years. We promise to appreciate the contributions of your intelligentsia.

Before these excellent scientists leave Italy and bring their skills to the New World, we recommend that the seismologists protect themselves from criminal prosecution by issuing a blanket warning of ultimate earthquake disaster for the entire of Italy. Astronomers, no doubt equally as appalled as we are by this conviction, can join in with the proclamation that the sky is falling. Italy can call it the ‘Proclamazione di Chicken Little’.

As you fine Italian citizens consider where to relocate during the forthcoming mass evacuation of Italy, we would suggest to you our own Italian republic, which we call New Jersey. The Italian population of New Jersey has been declining precipitously in recent years. We are certain that state’s social problems could be greatly alleviated with a sufficient influx of some genuine Italians. Please take care of that embarrassing Snooki problem when you get there.

If you don’t mind taking on the work, a million or so fresh Italians relocated to Brooklyn, New York would undoubtedly improve the social conditions there, as well. Across the East River in the Bronx, the Yankees are waiting for the next Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, or Phil Rizzutto, and we’re hoping you’ll be bringing him with you. Note: Italian lawyers, politicians, and other dangerous criminals not welcome.

We should take this opportunity to thank you, people of Italy, for improving our own scientific communities with your finest minds that you went to great expense to train. Let’s face it. They have no place staying in a country that convicts them for not practicing witchcraft.

This certainly is not intended as an insult to the Italian people. We, too, have our own corrupt officials and ignorant slugs in the US who love to confuse witchcraft with science. As a general rule, though, they are too busy blaming homosexuals and abortion recipients for earthquakes and other natural disasters and therefore don’t have time to harass scientists.

Unless, of course, those scientists are also homosexual or abortion recipients. In fact, now that we think about it, we recommend that homosexual scientists avoid small towns in Kansas altogether and relocate instead to San Francisco, Boulder, or Austin. They will find themselves quite at home with teaching positions at Cambridge in the UK, as well.

Mind you, we only want your brightest and most industrious scientists and engineers seeking employment in the US and the UK. Your less magnificent scientists should obtain teaching positions at Le Sorbonne in Paris, where they can’t possibly do much harm since the students are unlikely to end their strikes long enough to attend any classes anyway. Enjoy the wine.

People of Italy, we look forward to your arrival. Some of us are Irish so we’ll leave the light on for you.

Sincerely,

Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

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93 comments on “We Thank You, Italy, for Embracing Witchcraft

  1. Every time I think I’ve seen it all, I see or read something even more . . . preposterous. Sheesh! This one leaves me stupefied!

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Unbelievable! Talk about scapegoating. That will scare off any kid in Italy considering a science profession. Thanks for posting on something I didn’t even know about – interesting and maddening at the same time. ;)

  3. Rolling in laughter…with tears (must be from the joke, right?)
    Certainly found it interesting the sentencing of those men last week…
    now the US is dealing with 3 – yes that scary number 3 – horrors: Halloween, Hurricane Sandy, and an election…
    Been waiting for prophets on the streets….
    Oh, fortunately there was an earthquake in NJ (so it’s no longer 3 horrors…)
    And there’s a cold front approaching the east coast …which makes 5 horrors…an odd number, that 5? (do not even think that “cold day in…”)
    Great post!

  4. That is so freaking crazy, I’m typeless!

  5. “Please take care of that embarrassing Snookie problem when you get there.” Snort. This post made my day!

  6. Well done Piper! This was a great love letter to Italy and its people.

  7. Wonderful post… but what a crazy world we live in!

  8. Oooh! I love when I wake up to snarky Piper & Holmes in the morning! ;-) Hilarious.

  9. shantnu says:

    Well done.

    There is also the case of Amanda Knox, where the Italian prosecutors took great pleasure in attacking her morals and spreading salacious stories, but didn’t bother to gather any evidence.

    “Dumbledore is dead.”

    Thanks for reminding us. Just as my tears had dried…..you had to go & open the wounds……….

  10. Imelda Evans says:

    It truly was staggering. I still am having trouble believing that this could happen. Next they’ll be bringing back the Oracles and beheading for bad rune casting! I’m hoping that I will wake up and find it was some bad dream…

  11. Andrew says:

    They like to harass science teachers I hear as well. Scopes Monkey Trial anyone? haha. Sure that’s an old example. Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board is a more recent example. Being a bio guy and working toward teaching it, I’m not looking foward to the anti-science mentality I’ll have to deal with, both from students and parents. Facts are facts, folks. Like it or not, believe it or not, the universe couldn’t care less. It just does its thing regardless.

  12. Diana Beebe says:

    I heard about this trial a few weeks ago. I can’t believe they convicted them! Next, they’ll be arresting the meterologists for not predicting the weather accurately.

  13. Good laugh guys!

    The Italian legal system is weird. They’re pretty good at charging people who attempt, but fail, to save someone’s life (formula 1 having a couple of examples of that). Even Ayrton Senna’s racing team was investigated for manslaughter after he died in a crash.

    I guess captain Schettino was hoping someone else would get the blame when he jumped ship too.

    Cheers!

  14. Rob Mahan says:

    This story harkens back to the good ol’ days of that snarky heliocenterist, Galileo Galilei, who spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest in his Italian villa. I don’t think he predicted any earthquakes, either.

    Thank you, Ireland, for birthing our ilk, and making us the welcoming sort, and BTW, for saving Civilization.

  15. beadstork says:

    First, congrats on the Fresh Press! Second, this letter was JUST so freakin’ funny, even though the subject is very pathetic and ridiculous. Those poor scientists never saw THAT coming, I’m sure. Science will think twice before it rears its head in Italy any time soon.

  16. Dena says:

    I found you on Freshly Pressed and was intrigued by the subject of witchcraft in Italy (I lived in Italy as a child and yes, look up La Befana! Her bonfire was right nextdoor to my house), but THIS is not what I expected. It’s sad to think these scientists had to endure this while in the U.S., murderers and rapists walk away without conviction because someone failed to file the proper paperwork. Gah. (Thanks for the laughs on this election day)

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Most welcome, Dena. We figured everyone could use a laugh about now. I envy you living in Italy during any part of your life. It is a beautiful country with some amazing sights and food. I’ll be sure to look up La Befana. Nice to meet you.

  17. Blog Raju says:

    Just to be safe, all meteorologists in Italy should predict deadly storms everyday.

  18. Before you bragg about the acceptance of science in the USA, consider how much so many here do the same thing, denying the science of climate change, the science of evolution, the science of geology…

  19. If every judiciary convicted people like those Italian judges convicted the scientists, George Bush would be in jail for ruining the economy.

  20. segmation says:

    Hi Piper, I hope that the scientists do win this on an appeal! This is bizarre, don’t you think! Thanks for sharing your blog!

  21. Should politicians also be held responsible for not foreseeing an economic crisis? Of not predicting an enemy attack? Of passing any law that turns out doing more bad than good? In that case most politicians should be in jail … which would undoubtedly serve the common good! ;-)

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi John Galt. As near as I can tell about a third of Italian politicians belong in prison based on the laws that they already have in Italy. I suspect that about a third of ours belong there as well.

  22. Should have the govern in jail instead. Can’t they understand the context of ‘predict’? Unless the scientists doing negligence I can accept the penalty but if it’s the other way around, hope the scientists win! PREDICT.

  23. susielindau says:

    Congrats Piper! OoooooO! OooooO! Happy dance for being Freshly Pressed!
    Love this post! It is hilarious! Hahaha! New Jersey will look forward to a rise in home sales…

  24. It’s a shame that the world depends so heavily on science to be the answer to everything….

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi truth Speaker. I see no evidence that “the world depends so heavily on science to be the answer to everything…”. In fact there is an astounding ignorance of basic science all around the world.

      What most scientific people routinely suggest is not that science answer “everything” but that science simply answer scientific questions. It is a rational way to seek scientific “truths” for those that wish to.

  25. amelie88 says:

    I am giggling over here about the French university remark. I studied abroad in Toulouse for five months and I think I attended a grand total of 4 classes on the university campus. The students and professors kept going on strike due to some huge education reform that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out. The professors of the classes I was enrolled in very nicely came to my college’s satellite campus in Toulouse to give the American students private classes, since we had visas that expired at a certain date and had to get back to the US the following semester. We did not have the luxury to wait around for things to resolve themselves like the French students.

    And I’m pretty sure I was in Italy when this earthquake happened. I was in Rome sightseeing for a few days when I noticed at the end of the day my parents had left me messages asking me if I was okay and had I felt an earthquake. It wasn’t until we had dinner in a restaurant with a tv that had the news on that we caught on. I didn’t feel the earthquake, but I remember it was a pretty devastating one.

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi amelie. As a High School student I hated attending classes and preferred to simply show up and take the finals. It was only natural that I tried to convince my Dad to send me to Paris to attend college. Unfortunately he knew enough about French universities and after laughing loudly at the idea he refused to finance a four year vacation in France.

      Thanks for pointing out that although the University of Toulouse was on strike the Professors took the time to tutor the visiting students. We owe them a loud and sincere “Thank You” for their noble conduct.

  26. w6bky says:

    Love your post.

    It seems that we here in the U.S. of A. are not the only ones with fumblementalists trying to run things.

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi w6bky. I think I would go one step further by claiming that they are not true “fundamentalists” but half baked imitations that do things like blaming homosexuals for natural disasters.

  27. Italian politicians are corrupt, stupid and uninterested. they manipulate the courts. ITALY IS DEAD.
    (a italian citizen)

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi occultoantonio. “ITALY IS DEAD.(a Italian citizen)”. I am hoping that you are wrong. If all other nations were lead by pure and honest statesmen then Italy would be unable to compete for needed resources in the world market. Unfortunately all nations are suffering some degree of corruption in their governments.

      Although I truly would like a few million Italians to move to the USA I’m going to be an optimist and predict that Italy will be reborn again thanks to the fact that the vast majority of Italianos are decent people.

      • Thank you, you’re kind. But the news didn’t have much resonance, even at all according to me. This is a very serious symptom: the clever Italians are submissive, also. I hope for better times.

  28. JackieP says:

    Hmmm I believe those judges in Italy would give witchcraft a bad name.

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi Jakie. You are right.Since they are judges that are local to the scene of the disaster they also give the judicial system a bad name by failing to recuse themselves from the case.

  29. I can´t believe this… Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  30. cartoonmick says:

    Weird decision !!

    Politics have a strong influence over the courts in many countries.

    The boundaries between science and the inflexible authorities are often too broad, and very hard to communicate across.

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-461

    Cheers

    Mick

  31. Tracy says:

    Excellent post. I love Italy’s countryside but hate to say there is so much that makes no sense at all. Including the church’s position on abortion, the use of condoms to help fight AIDS and child sex abuse scandals that, thanks to corruption within the church, have taken place for years in at least 10 countries around the globe that we’re currently aware of. You only have to drive (or attempt to avoid colliding) in Milan or along the Italian riviera to realise Italy is beautiful and almost completely insane.

    • Jay Holmes says:

      Thank You Tracy. I agree with you about driving in Milan, but I would prefer to not blame Italy for whatever the Vatican does. The Italians were wise to never demand the complete subjugation of the Vatican city state to the Italian nations state. The notion of an Austrian Pope could be the topic of a whole other comical but contraversial blog. In fact now that I think of it I might write a musical about Pope Benedict.

      • Tracy says:

        Hi Jay, I agree, we shouldn’t make Italian people responsible for what Vatican city does. But the primary religion of Italy is catholicism and the catholic church sure does have a lot of not so pleasant secrets :-( I look forward to the musical on Pope Benedict – Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a sensation so I’m sure this could be too :-)

  32. J Holmes says:

    Hi Cartoonnmick. We certainly thought it was weird.

  33. [...] Thank You, Italy, for Embracing Witchcraft. [...]

  34. Matteo Gagliardi says:

    Hey, nice post. Just to give a quick context to this awful decision, the Italian Government under Berlusconi failed to deal with the effects of the earthquake sufficiently. It is believed this decision was politically motivated to take the attention away from the politicians who failed to restore L’Aquila back to normality. This “car-salesman” strategy of diverting attention away from the real issue at hand is a common ploy in Italian politics, as it creates a smokescreen with which to conceal the real errors. Berlusconi did it all the time – that’s why all we used to hear about him was his sex scandals and inappropriate behaviour, rather than his corruption and economic/political mismanagement.

  35. J Holmes says:

    Hi Mateo. Thanks for the perspective. It seemed remarkable that local judges were even allowed to hear the case. Your explanation fits the situation well.

  36. Great post. As a Canadian expat living in Italy I was appalled at the court order. I shook my head in shame at the lame attempts of blame; because in Italy it’s always someone’s fault.

    • Jay Holmes says:

      Hi Jennifer. “In Italy it’s always someone’s fault.” It’s a shame that while the scientists endured a medieval inquisition so many corrupt officials continued with business as usual. Beleive me. If I coulid do it, I really would import all the best Italian scientists, doctors, engineers and professors to the United States. I’m sure that the average Italian would rather export all of the corruption in Italy to a distant planet.

  37. mbrizz says:

    I may be wrong here, but as far as I know, the prosecution took place because while scientists on the ground were begging their bosses to warn people that an earthquake was imminent, those higher up refused to do so. Had they done what those scientists wanted them to, there may have been far less deaths. I agree Italy is a crazy place (I live there) but news reporters should not oversimplify the issues to such a great extent. Have a nice day all.

  38. renpiti says:

    Educational, entertaining and witty. Of course, I’m always smitten by sarcasm, when properly applied.

  39. Jay Holmes says:

    Hello Renpiti. We’re happy to supply a little sarcasm whenever we can pull it off.

  40. [...] shirking my own writing. Shame on you for pitting me against myself with your funny lists, and your witty rants. It’s not helping me stay focused on…whatever it was I had planned on writing [...]

  41. No, Italian scientists have been declared guilty because they announced that wouldn’t happened nothing.. for no other reason. The judges have done well. Scientists were in bad faith.

  42. Dear Bayaer and Holmes, i’m italian and you should have read the sentence of the italian court before writing this article. The scientist were not being condemned because the did not predict the earthquake, but because in that week there were many earth tremors and they told people to stay home and that nothing bad was happening. So people listened to those “experts” and died under their collapsed houses. I hope you’ll corret this misleading article. Thank you form Italy.

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi chihauccisobotticelli, Cool name. Sounds Italian.

      I respect your views. I regret the loss of life in Italy. I disagree with the court’s decision. The problem seems to me to have been political in nature. Scientists can not yet quite predict an earthquake. In any regard all Italian scientists, engineers and professors would still be welcome here in the USA. The influx of science would help us.

  43. Reblogged this on Funny shit on the internet and commented:
    Here come the Italians!

  44. Snarky! I love it! Esp. being a retired geologist, growing up in the US and now living in Europe. Ireland of all places! You got it right on the money there! :D

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