Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BOOK REPORT Popular Crime Reflections on the Celebration of Violence

Eviliz is a lover of all true crime stories and frequents the library in search of the newest releases.  My newest read comes with a complimentary type up of the Charlie parts to share with the blog.-

Popular Crime Reflections on the Celebration of Violence   
by Bill James published in 2011.  

It’s your basic run of the mill A-Z true crime book.  Lizzie Borden and O.J. plus everyone in between.  The title of the book contains the words ~“Popular Crime Reflections” yet Manson and the Family are mentioned three times without even a description of the crimes and only mentions one victim, Sharon Tate. Were the crimes considered not “popular” or worth “reflecting on?”

The writer composed 18 elements which characterize crimes.

Here are 2 of the 18 elements I found amusing plus the one which mentions Charlie.

“The tabloid elements- which involve soap opera like stories and are media driven.

Killer on the loose story elements- receive attention due to the public’s perception that they may be in actual danger.  The Beltway sniper was a Killer on the Loose story, as were John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and Charles Starkweather.

Bizarre elements- cause stories to stand out from the mass of criminal events by gruesome, grotesque and extremely unusual features.  Jeffrey Dahmer is a Bizarre story, as is Charles Manson and Winnie Judd, the Trunk Murderess (1931).  Any story involving unusual amounts of cruelty could be called a Bizarre story.

Page 265~ “I have no empirical evidence to support what I’m saying, but go to the library, and look up magazines from 1965 to 1968.  You’ll find volumes of essays about the “generation gap,” the split of society into young and old.  Very, very few of those articles will make any mention of the assassination of JFK.   It’s an easy, after-the-fact dividing line between the generations, but it’s just not true.  On the other hand, the cultural impact of the Manson murders is enormously under appreciated.  The murder of Sharon Tate rocked the nation when the counter culture was just past its peak.  The arrest and trial of Charles Manson and his followers delivered to young Americans a simple message of enormous impact: that evil men, adorned with flowers, would look much the same as saints.  A culture based on categorical trust and unconditional acceptance was a balloon waiting to burst, and Charles Manson was the needle.

We didn’t ask ourselves what evil lurked beneath the skin of strangers, so long as they dressed like us.  Evil belonged to the other generations, to the hard cases among our generation who would not open their hearts.  Was this naive?  It was preposterously naive.  We were younger than young.  The sixties weren’t cynical, and they certainly didn’t come about after the loss of the nation’s innocence.  They were innocence personified, innocence run amok.  They could not co-exist with personified evil."

Page 286-  In the three cases ca. (Manson, Hearst and Power), career criminals, a few years older than the baby boomers, adopted the guise of revolutionaries in order to seduce young women – seduce them sexually, but also to seduce them into becoming accomplices, to seduce them into a life sustained by violent crime.

Charles Manson worked with society's least favored, with young girls who had run away from dysfunctional families, or who had been driven away by physical and sexual abuse.  He adopted not the central ideas of the revolution, but the marginalia- the clothes, the hair, the music- and used these to build a “family,” a cult of people who had abandoned normal life in order to do whatever Charlie wanted.  This cult he then used as a weapon against bourgeois society that he felt had humiliated him, intending nothing except to cause pain, to cause harm.

Pretty accurate wouldn’t you say?