Friday, April 18, 2014

Theme: Crime

  • The Manzano place was on a cliff of rock at the top of a steep drive. I pressed a pearl buzzer set in red brick. An old man in a coffee-colored suit opened the door and motioned me into a vestibule and then into a sitting room where a stout man with a lot white hair and a white linen suit held out a hand and said “Philip Ishering.” He offered me a drink from an oak and chromium bar. Across from the bar there were a pair of French doors.Read more
  • It was the summer of 1989 in Bodrum, a beautiful seaside resort on the southwestern coast of Turkey, soaked in sun, history, and nightlife. I was on vacation and it had been a long day. I had taken the bus from Iráklion, where I had caught the second-worst case of food poisoning I had ever had in my life, including two days in bed throwing up with backbreaking pain.Read more
  • I am not talking here about Jodi Arias’ obvious penchant for blood (or the way blood was splashed all over that bathroom and hallway as she butchered her on-again and off-again lurid lover, and all the images thereof, implied and actual, that we’ve been subjected or treated to). I am talking about the mob’s need for blood. I am talking about human need. I am talking, of course, about our need.Read more
  • When Tina Fly was eight years old, she put a firecracker in a classmate’s ear. Tina was a nearly illiterate child. The incessant teasing by other students compounded her behavioral problems, like the fire cracker incident, and eventually she was put in special classes. Her mother, Genia Jackson, remembers a doctor prescribing Ritalin for Tina when she was nine, which was the beginning of years of trips to the physician and psychologist.Read more
  • In the years before the American War of Independence, Colonial merchants were leading players in the Atlantic smuggling economy, most notably in the illegal importation of molasses from the West Indies for distilleries in New England. Read more
  • The cultural practice of the "perp walk" is a form of social performativity. The perp walk itself is not a performance, singular. Rather, it is a myriad of happenings, spectacles that are historically and ontologically specified, a genre of modern pop ritual recognized and claimed as an informal aspect of the judicial system, most specifically within the United States of America. Read more
  • Since the sad death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, there has been a lot of discussion of the extent to which the criminal prosecution hanging over him contributed to his suicide. Some have pointed their fingers at MIT, suggesting that, by failing to waive its complaint against him for using its network to download files, the university bears some responsibility for his suicide. MIT has now set up an internal investigation.Read more
  • Award-winning investigative reporter Ahmet Sik is no stranger to danger. In 1998, he was hospitalized after a pro-police mob, furious about a murder conviction against several cops in a torture case, attacked the victim’s lawyers, the prosecutor, and journalists.Read more
  • When Judge Hoffman mounted the bench in his courtroom on September 24, 1969, his marshal Ron Dobroski banged the gavel and there was the shuffle and stir of everyone rising—everyone except seven of the defendants. Judge Hoffman never seemed so slight as, with his right hand tucked in a languid Napoleonic fashion into his black robe, he looked over the courtroom. Read more
  • Perhaps no History in the World, either ancient or modern, can produce an Instance of any one Man's Life fill'd with so many calamitous Circumstances, as That of the unhappy young Gentleman, who is the melancholy Subject of the following Sheets; his Misfortunes may be said to be begun, if not strictly before he had a Being, yet, before his BirthRead more
  • While this has a certain superficial appeal, it can easily be countered. First, stealing from the porn industry is still stealing. Second, stealing from the porn industry does not seem to do anything to counter any moral badness of the industry-that is, the theft cannot be justified on the grounds that it makes things morally better. Read more
  • Jack “Legs” Diamond is little remembered today, but for the last eighteen months of his life he rivaled Al Capone as the most famous gangster in Prohibition Era America. Whereas Capone was famous for being the CEO of the largest criminal enterprise in the U.S., Jack was famous for getting shot, beating the rap and carrying on a highly publicized extra-marital affair with his Ziegfeld showgirl mistress.Read more
  • Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently; but when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding. Read more
  • The wonderful American poet Adrienne Rich pointed out in a recent lecture about poetry that “this year, a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that one out of every 136 residents of the United States is behind bars—many in jails, unconvicted.” Read more
  • Flanders’s book is more than a catalogue of crimes and their subsequent incarnations in popular culture. Over 500 pages it builds into an alternative history of the Victorian ageRead more
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