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What I’m reading – Jack the Ripper: The Facts, various magazines

by  in Comic News Comment

I try to do this weekly, but it’s not always possible. But I’m back this week with more reading selections!



Yes, we’ll get to Ms. Wilde in a second. Mainly I’m wending my way through Paul Begg’s tome about everyone’s favorite prostitute-killing, kidney-harvesting, Alan Moore-inspiring serial killer, which is … exhaustive, to say the least. It’s a new version of the 1988 book, Jack the Ripper: The Uncensored Facts (apparently the “uncensored” goes without saying these days), which I’m fairly certain was one of the many, many sources Mr. Moore used in his masterpiece about the Ripper, From Hell (really, you ought to read it if you haven’t yet). It’s not the best-written book (waaaaay too many unnecessary endnotes, for example, which is annoying because you have to keep flipping back and forth), but it is riveting, mainly because Begg really knows the subject matter, so he goes over what seems to be every bit of minutiae about the crimes. He has a wry sense of humor, too, which doesn’t come out too often, but when it does, it’s appreciated. (One lengthy endnote ends with this paragraph: “All of which doesn’t detract from the fact that a man ran through the Tower Subway wearing false whiskers. Why? One cannot sometimes escape the feeling that Victorian society was distinctly odd and that at least these days television keeps such people indoors.”) I have just reached the chapter in which Elizabeth Stride dies, and there’s a lot to get to. One horrific aspect of the book is the photographs of the victims Begg includes. It’s difficult to imagine seeing someone butchered like that in person, and I’m glad I haven’t seen it in my life.

I’ve also been trying to get through a bit of a backlog of magazines. I have three months of History Today to read, I just buzzed through the latest issue of mental_floss and two issues of Sports Illustrated (I used to subscribe years ago to SI, then dropped it, but when the Phillies won the World Series and they offered that Championship package that they have whenever a team wins a title, I had to subscribe again, didn’t I?), but I still have the latest issue of Spin to read (which I only bought because they have an “oral history” of the making of Purple Rain; in fact, it’s the only part of the magazine I haven’t read yet), and of course there’s the July issue of Maxim. The only time I ever buy “men’s magazines” is when I get on a plane by myself, and then I curse myself for buying them because they’re so very, very stupid. This year I bought Maxim when I was flying back to Pennsylvania last week, and I still haven’t read the confounded thing. I’m not even sure if I will. I just find it curious that Olivia Wilde appears topless in the magazine, because you can clearly see the areloae through her rather short hair that covers her breasts. You don’t actually see the nipple, but I just wonder what constitutes “nudity” anymore. I personally don’t care, but it seems we’re getting close to the point where toplessness isn’t even that big a deal, and bottomlessness becomes the final frontier, at least in magazines that don’t come wrapped in a plastic bag and hidden behind the counter. Also: Olivia Wilde kicked ass in Turistas.*

What’s on your bedside table these days?

* I’m totally joking. God, that movie sucked.

(Oh, and I rarely plug my own blog, but when I was back in PA, my mom had dragged out a bunch of old photo albums, and I brought some old pictures of me back to AZ to post. Here’s the link if you’re interested, and there really is a special celebrity cameo in the post, I swear!)