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Lifetime’s New Lizzie Borden TV Movie

Looks like the Lifetime Network is doing a True Crime makeover with their forthcoming Lizzie Borden TV movie starring Christina Ricci. (via OUT and H/T Ryan Brazell.)

Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks

After years of books, nursery rhymes, operas and movies, Lizzie Borden is finally getting the Lifetime treatment! The new made-for-TV flick stars Christina Ricci as a young woman who was tried, and later acquitted, for the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother.

Why the network waited until now to make this film is beyond us, but we’re terribly excited.

Other little tiddly bits for Black Dahlia

While in class today I looked up some really awesome facts about the Black Dahlia and Geneva Ellroy cases, as well as different news reports. Here are some of those links.

The next few will be about James Ellroy’s “My Mothers Killer”

Women are crazy, but men are Crazier

While reading the assigned passages one thing really jumped out at me and that is men are not to bright in making decisions when women are invloved. What im saying is that men will do anything for a women they love. Let’s take George Swearingen who was a well liked man with a prominent job as a lawyer as well as a lovely and respectable wife. Now enter Rachel Cunningham a well known prostitue and non intellegent women who somehow swept this man off his feet. (Side note: I fell in love with the author who was writing about this women because through the entire article he was making fun of her and pretty much saying that she was gross). Why in the world would you to through sooooo much trouble for this women when she is not that interesting intellectually….. the answer children is that SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE. Men will do anything for some action including kill there wives and say that they got thrown from a horse when in all reality they killed them because thier mistress was hiding in a house that their wife was going to go into. I feel bad for George’s wife because all she wanted was a nice stable home to raise her daughter in, but all she got in return was an unfaithful husband which led to her death. Women are seen as these can-do-no-wrong people which is not true becasue there are tons of women killers. Women can manipulate a man to DO anything that they want (guess George didn’t get the hint in time). The funniest part of this story is that this women was almost attacked by a mob and thrown out of her house for being with George. George not being very bright saved his damsel in distress only to end up being hung for killingn his wife. So the women who was almost killed a couple of times for being a prostitue endend up getting off scott free while George died.

Video that just proves women are crazy and evil: Women from Michigan tried to hire a hitman to kill her husband..little did she know that it was an under cover cop.

Discipline and Punish: Genealogy as Method

Currently the trucrimers here at UMW are reading the first two chapters of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1975). One of the most salient sections of this immensely influential study of crime and punishment is in the first chapter wherein Foucault lays out his methodology (which he refers to as a genealogy):

This book is intended as a correlative history of the modern soul and of a new power judge; a genealogy of the present scientifico-legal complex from which the power to punish derives its bases, justifications and rules, from which it extends its effects and by which it masks its exorbitant singularity. (23)

Soon after this, Foucault unnumerates four general rules his study “obeys” (23-24). First, regard punishment more than simply repressive effects, but consider it more broadly as “a complex social function.” Second, “regard punishment as a political tactic.” Third, “make the technology of power the very principle of the humanization of the penal system and of the knowledge of man.” Fourth, and finally, “study th metamorphasis of punitive methods on the basis of the political technology of the body.”

What does he mean by this? How do these basic guiding principles for his analysis and reading define a way of approaching this idea of a genealogy he lossely frames? Danielle Sharp, while an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, tried to explain this “notoriously difficult” concept in his post on the Philosophy Forum:

Genealogy, according to Foucault, does not inquires into the timeless conditions which endure in the subject throughout history, but rather examines “the constitution of the subject across history which has led us up to the modern concept of the self”.

What does this mean? How might the concept of the modern self in the 18th century colonal crime narratives of Levi Ames and Owen Syllavan be udnerstood as distinct from those of Esther Rodgers and Patience Boston? Can they? Is this the basis of a critical study of the changing nature of crime and punishment in colonial America? How does this relate to questions of Power?


I found it very peculiar, while reading, that the author described that torture as a whole disappeared during the Revolutionary period 1760-1840.  The body became a sacred. Torture was aimed more towards the soul now. We talk about torture as only something that occurs in wartime scenarios. But I didn’t think that torture would become such a taboo this early in the crime life. I thought that it faded out more recently. The trial process also became very in depth. The judges would question the defendant about every little thing. Before they would just ask if you were guilty or not. Defendants could now plead to a mental illness and be sentenced a smaller crime, and to take medication.

Even thought the public executions and tortures faded out in the late 1700s, it originally wasn’t the most popular form of punishment. There typically was banishment and fines sentenced to many criminals. Its refreshing to see that they weren’t because basically all the readings we’ve seen talk about the executions.

I was confused thought throughout the different readings, because I read the first Foucault section, where it was talking about the revolutionary period, then it jumped to more recent times. However in the second reading, it jumped back to the 1700s. I had to put myself in the right time period again.

In the second reading, Foucault compares the public execution to the coronation of a king. That really struck me, why would you celebrate a death like you would welcome the new king? He mentions that it became a real tradition and almost a ritual.

He also discusses how the public started to riot when they thought that a person sentenced to execution didn’t deserve to be killed. He mentions how they rioted because a servant was  sentenced to death for a petty theft. The public turned into a sense help. They were beginning to realize how wrong this was.