PS These are only the ones I would let my mother read.
By Kristi Belcamino
Sometimes I feel like I've lived many lives. Here are some of the odder things that have happened in my life. So far.
What percentage of work that a magazine publishes is written by men? What percentage by women? How many books reviewed are written by men? How many by women?VIDA asks these important questions. What we wanted to know: what happens when we ask similar questions about magazine editors who decide what to publish and who to review? So we we started counting editors >>>
So, I saw this headline over the weekend:
Seems like a pretty big deal. What’s more shocking – or not surprising at all – was this part:
“Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favoured prosecutors in more than 95 per cent of the 268 trials reviewed so far..”
95 percent of the “overstated forensic matches… favoured prosecutors.”
It seems like such old news now, the authorities breaking the rules, cheating, lying to get a conviction. The science being manipulated – for one side, in 95% of the cases.
And yet, in popular crime fiction science has become the star. Years ago someone said, “I’m not really into forensics, so I don’t watch much TV.” For a while there it seemed like every other show had people in white lab coats solving crimes. Pretty much always honestly, always above reproach. It was science and science doesn’t lie.
Did crime fiction show too much faith in accepting science? Or in underestimating the lengths people will go to get what they want? (This is a pet peeve of mine, how a lot of crime fiction actually sees the world as completely honest – except for the fact that everyone in a small town could be a calculating, cold-blooded murderer, capable of not only committing the most serious crimes but also of going about their lives as if nothing has happened.)
Another article I saw this week was from Cracked.com about why The X-Files won’t work today. Reason #4 was, “The attitudes towards the military are from a different era,” and pointed out that, “Americans now trust the military more than they do religious leaders, doctors, or teachers. Whether you think that's fair or a result of media brainwashing, the fact remains that repeatedly involving the military in a dark television conspiracy today would be about as popular with audiences as aliens disguised as and played by cute kittens that needed to be slaughtered at the end of every episode.”
Reason #2 was that “The conspiracies are all real now,” and said, “while there has never been a time when the U.S. government's actions were 100 percent peachy, the '90s was definitely a low point for shady government activity. Now, compare this to today. In the last 10 years, we've learned that the government has gone to war for no particular reason, tortured innocent people in secret prisons, and repeatedly executed American citizens without trial. In theory, this should give the new X-Files some great plot fuel, maybe even enough fuel to melt steel, I don't know, the truth is still out there about that. In reality, though, I think it works the opposite way. After the last 10 years or so, the mind-blowing conspiracy theories we saw revealed on the X-Files seem kind of ... quaint, like a kid finding out for the first time why their parents share a bed.”
There’s a joke in Canada that we’re always on the brink of, “Coming of age,” and we never really do (one of our prime ministers once said, “The 20th century belongs to Canada,” and we’ve now revised it to, “The 21st century,” and I expect we’ll keep revising that forever) and that Americans lose their innocence every thirty years.
So now, according to Cracked.com, the 1990’s were a low point for shady government activity. I think maybe a new X-Files will work really well as it seems we’re almost due for another loss of innocence.
"What it was that aroused him, Joe Edison didn't know, but he suddenly was wide awake and after a tense moment he sat up. The night was bright with stars and half a moon. He could see the homesteader's wagon quite clearly, and near it the blanket wrapped figures of the homesteader and his young wife. Not far beyond the wagon, three horses were staked out, his horse and the team that pulled the wagon. Nothing else caught his attention, but in what he had seen, something was wrong. The three horses were pulling back, straining at the stakes that held them.
Joe Edison's holster gun was under the blanket which had served as his pillow. He found it, tucked it in the waistband of his trousers, then pulled on his boots and stood up." -- Gun Code by Philip Ketchum
"Choc was having a quiet digestion dream of coffee and eggs when things started happening that brought the nightmarish Tulsa siege into his sleep. He woke with a frightened "Yeah!' and gripped the automatic that his Indian Pearl shoved into his hand." -- Pretty Boy by William Cunningham
"When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed. He heard the plop of a silence behind him as he rolled, and the bullet punched the pillow where his head had been.
He landed face down on the floor. His stubby, pregnant .32 was clipped to the springs under the bed like a huge black fly standing upside down, and Parker's hand was reaching out for it before he hit the floor." -- The Outfit by Richard Stark