Author Archives: Sara Akbari

Reflection on the Course

This freshman seminar was truly a pleasure to be a part of. I originally just signed up for this because I love crime shows and true crime narratives and thought it would be an easy fun course, so when I realized how much reading we had to do I was a little concerned that I made the wrong choice signing up for the class. Although at times I thought we had too much blogging to do, I now realize it was key that we did have to blog because we learned so much by doing so. Having groups run the class week to week was also a brilliant idea because sometimes it is really boring just listening to a professor, but when you have a peer running it, you want to speak up more. I found tracing what true crime is from the beginning with Cotton Mather and public executions to the end with serial killers and gangsters was really fun. I liked the way it was set up too; having Groom there and Paul come in via Skype was really effective. I really feel that having both of them and their input made the class a success. I would recommend for the next time that maybe there be a rubric or something for the videos so that there would have been a clearer picture as to what was expected. It was a blast being in this class and I hope you continue to teach it because it is really a great course led by great professors!!

Random Post

I was watching a movie on Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo and it really portrayed Karla as a victim. I found this interesting because we talked about how the books we read humanized the killers and this movie very much did the same thing. I would catch myself feeling bad for her when I’ve grown up knowing that she is a horrible person. I remember when she was released from prison and there were a lot of people horrified by that. I wonder if maybe in books and films we humanize these killers too much. Why are we so preoccupied with making excuses for killers?

“Never rat on your friends and keep your mouth shut!”

I never liked the Godfather movies (I was a kid though when I saw them…) so I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this film. I love how there is the voiceovers of either Henry or Karen shedding light with the narrative of what is going on. It was amazing seeing in the beginning, when Henry was young, how early they start in the gangster life. Within the first 20 minutes there was the scene where Henry is introducing all the gangsters in the bar and I thought that was done brilliantly. Scorsese has the camera set up so its like we are Henry Hill’s eyes and the gangsters are saying hi to us. I also loved the gun scene when Karen holds the gun over Henry when he is napping and he wakes up to her threatening to pull the trigger. BUT my favorite part was the cooking dinner in prison. How awesome was that scene?!?! Loved Scorsese’s parents making cameos in the film (Catherine as Tommy’s mom and Charles as Vinnie in jail)

I found this movie to really make me question what true crime is. I never associated gangsters and mobsters to be in the true crime genre, I sort of put it in the organized crime folder instead, but this movie had me thinking what true crime is. This movie shows the killing, the robbing, and the drug dealing which is all true crime. True crime is just crime. At least thats what I think!

Interview with the real Henry Hill:

I especially like when they ask about how he felt when the FBI played the tape of Jimmy and Pauly conspiring to have him whacked off and all he says is “I couldn’t believe it. I was — I couldn’t believe it.”

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2009/12/i_was_a_witness_to_20_murders_goodfellas_henry_hill_opens_up.php

Some fun gifs I made from the movie:

goodfellas3

goodfellas4

Goodfellas2

Part two of Bundy-mania

The second part of the reading was good. I found the line “Despite the modern facilities, is was another ‘mom and pop’ jail.” (280) to be amusing because we normally associate mom and pop with small stores so to see it being used as a way to describe the jail he was in at the time was cool.

The last part below really hit me for some reason. Seeing all the names of the girls he hurt was difficult. He destroyed so many lives.

“When I grieve for Ted, and I do, I grieve for all the others who bear no guilt at all.
Katherine Merry Devine is dead…
Brenda Baker is dead …
Joni Lenz is alive …
Lynda Ann Healy is dead…
Donna Manson is gone…
Susan Rancourt is dead …
Roberta Kathleen Parks is dead…
Brenda Ball is dead …
Georgeann Hawkins is gone…
Janice Ott is dead …
Denise Naslund is dead…
Melissa Smith is dead…
Laura Aime is dead …
Carol DaRonch Swenson is alive…
Debby Kent is gone …
Caryn Campbell is dead…
Julie Cunningham is gone…
Denise Oliverson is gone …
Shelley Robertson is dead…
Melanie Cooley is dead…
Lisa Levy is dead…
Margaret Bowman is dead…
Karen Chandler is alive…
Kathy Kleiner DeShields is alive…
Cheryl Thomas is alive…
Kimberly Leach is dead…

One day, the earth and the rivers may give up more remains, all that
is left of the young women whose names are still unknown-the women Ted referred to when he said, “Add one more digit to that and you’ll have
it…”
None of them could fill the hollow soul of Ted Bundy.” (492-493)

I really did like the reading but I kinda wish it had not been a friend writing it since I feel like it was not as reliable coming from Ann Rule.

Ted Bundy

I love Ted Bundy – hopefully that’s an acceptable statement to say… Ann Rule does a fantastic job of portraying him. She honestly believed she was a good friends of a person who was just trying to get through law school while working on a suicide / help phone line. The thing that is interesting about Bundy is that people believed he was a normal person with great potential to become someone great if he finished law school, but a switch flipped and he went on his killing spree.

The passage on the end of page 73, I found the part about the hunt for Susan Rancourt to be interesting. How her mother said “She was such a creature of habit. She never went anywhere overnight without dental floss…” and that’s how she knew it wasn’t her daughters choice not to come home.

On page 99-100 when they discuss how Ted used a cast to lure Janice Ott by asking her to come help him get his boat and how “No one ever saw Janice Ott alive again”.

The 2002 film Ted Bundy is awesome in that it very much follows his crime spree. There was a TV movie based on Rule’s book, and I plan on watching that as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Interview with Beausoleil / John Waters and Leslie Van Houton

I enjoyed these two reading! Capote’s interview with Beausoleil helps to understand Beausoleil and his view on what had happened. I think Capote’s use of telling Beausoleil about how he knew Sirhan B. Sirhan and Oswald and the Kennedys helped him to get Beausoleil to open up more and discuss the case.  In regards to Waters’ article on Van Houton, he is able to humanize the killers in a way. He talks about who they were before, such as Charles Tex Watson being “a high-schol football star who turned hippy and came to LA like millions of other kids to find ’60s grooviness”. I also found it interesting how he dedicated a couple of his films to people responsible for the murders. I also found Charles Watson’s change in prison to be interesting. How he dropped the “Tex” from his name and became religious, marrying someone just as religious and having 3 kids through conjugal visits.

Article on Leslie Van Houton’s 20th parole hearing denied. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/05/18781859-manson-follower-gives-new-murder-details-in-20th-parole-hearing

 

Also fun fact John Waters and I both live in the same small town in the summer on Cape Cod. He is a weird man.