Sunday, December 11, 2016
I thought James looked most silly (recognizing many others in baseball have seen him as silly and been wrong) attempting to elucidate the paradoxes of Lizzie Borden with a weird point system. I liked his theory of the JFK assassination, that the magic bullet was the accidental firing of a Secret Service gun, because why not? He seems worst to me on '60s crime more generally, veering toward Jack Webb territory with strained theories about liberals, hippies, and especially the Earl Warren Supreme Court. That theme became shrill for me and made me like or trust him less. On the other hand, we are broadly in agreement about the literature. Yes, it is full of ugly photos, bad writing, and human depravity. But it is actually about the most vital and profound issues: life, death, and judgment. Back of that, however, maddeningly, down in the nitty-gritty of the crimes and investigations, it starts to look like the bizarre subatomic world of physics, where forces are at work, but we don't understand them. That's what's so fascinating. We're not always even sure what happened. Thus, for example, the class of cases where people, such as Tim Masters in Fort Collins, Colorado, or indeed the West Memphis Three, are wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for crimes they didn't do. That's one of James's many classes of true crime literature quarks and such here. He does a nice job of sorting, among other things, and I came away with a long list too. I enjoyed this a lot. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the stuff.
In case it's not at the library.