Thread: True Crime
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:20 AM   #28
Prestidigitweeze
Fledgling Demagogue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
Shows like Criminal Minds have had scenes based on that though too I think. Art imitating life at it's most truthful I'd guess.
Not to devalue your enjoyment of the medium, but every TV show I've seen has laid an insipid sheen over the true events, and used over-the-top music cues and dialogue -- tragedy's canned laughter -- to emphasize some insipid editorial gloss on morality. To be fair to you, I'll acknowledge that many true crime writers do that as well. But the best of them intend to be as true to the subject as possible, and that (ideally) includes sticking to actual recorded or recollected conversations.

I believe in doing away with glossiness and cues wherever possible and letting the audience formulate their own conclusions. I've always loved what Nelson Algren said in his Paris Review interview:

Quote:
If any writer can catch the routine lives of people just living in that kind of ring of fire to show how you can’t go out of a certain neighborhood if you’re addicted, or for other reasons, that you can’t be legitimate, but that within the limitation you can succeed in making a life that is routine . . . if somebody could write a book about the routine of these circumscribed people, just their everyday life, . . . just an absolutely prosaic life without any particular drama to it in their eyes—if you could just do that straight . . . well, you’d have an awfully good book.
Algren was talking about addicts, but I try to do this (albeit slightly ironically) with killers.

Quote:
I think I remember something of that (it's been a while since I read the books).
I particularly enjoy that exchange between Ressler and Kemper because it's instructive, and because Ed Kemper's characteristic thought processes amuse me.

Three people in my family are practicing psychologists. The one I'm closest to has the job you see in true crime shows: He's the person who does evaluations of violent criminals. His field is stippled with investigators, nurses and therapists who underestimate the danger of individuals like Kemper and some of them make disastrous mistakes -- not only for themselves, but for others who are then endangered.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 01-11-2013 at 02:35 AM.
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