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Fri, 21 Apr 1995 07:23:13 -0400
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It may be that Twain simply had a fairly good grasp of how people behave in
groups. This requires observation and does not necessarily betray a cynical
nature. The outcome of any given group situation can be predicted with a
amount of accuracy if one knows people at all.
Duped people tend to conceal the facts of their having been made fools of.
Lynch mobs run out of bravery when confronted by a single man of strength
Audiences at circuses (or plays or operas) tend to get caught up in the
performance and suspend, for a time, disbelief.
And today, of course, defense attorneys, knowing all of the above, use the
"mob made me do it" strategy in attempting to keep thugs out of prison.
I do not think it has so much to do with crowds and mobs as it does with
Twain's knowledge of human nature.
Marcus W. Koechig