By Roy Lichtenstein
I was researching Richard Speck, a homegrown serial killer from a small town in Illinois. That quote is his, as he was born December 6, 1941 the day before the Pearl Harbor attacks. I wasn't around at the time of the murders in 1966 but have known people tied to the case, one of them had been a reporter then sent to write about the crime. Even the top ten songs of the time were telling: Paint it Black, Black is Black I want my baby back.....this person, a writer assigned to the crime, was pretty devastated after seeing the scene.....I wonder why they sent the media to something like this usually that doesn't happen. Not to my knowledge.Watching the documentaries I recognize the .....well, Chicago. The churches that are built with a different kind of rock than those of the East Coast or Europe.....like more of a sandy color. That flatness of the midwest, the sky that is unnatural Easter Egg blue, the sun that is overwhelming and blinding, unshaded by mountains or tall trees, endless fields .....in spring it's bright and colorful but you step outside and it's chilling and windy. So anyway.....I wasn't going to say anything ........ and I won't. This happened during a Chicago summer and July is the hottest month. I think the news broke about this crime on July 17 which is PJ Soles' (the other "scream queen" from Carrie, Halloween) birthday
It can be stunning when suddenly the things that you read about in the news or internet, what have you, suddenly touch you in your life. It's someone you know, or you nearly who are a victim. Amanda Knox said that prior to what happened in Perugia (which sounds kind of like Peoria, where Speck's trial was and also Betty Friedan's home town) my mind is going a mile a minute......"I thought tragedy was something that happened on TV." When it finally touches you personally and you see how it happens to anyone, it doesn't discriminate......someone you have a personal connection to has done horrible stuff unbeknownst to you, or someone you know was a victim or it was nearly you.....what is so out of the range of everyday experience you simply can't wrap your mind around it.You feel dirty and ashamed, low, as if you did something wrong. Like you failed somehow. But realized, as someone obsessed with crime shows and such......like I said before living in Jersey City going home after work on the path, the endless waiting in cold train stations at 4am, is when I would buy the National Enquirer or the like and read this stuff. Or the books. I mention Betty Friedan because she was one of the original second wave feminists and herself a victim of domestic violence, a 50s suburban soccer mom who was also a writer with a radical past......suddenly woke up to "the problem that has no name" but point being she shied away from issues of violence against women as she thought it was "wallowing in that victim state." However, one of her more brilliant essays was on "Progressive Dehumanization" about the disintegration of American society partly from living in denial, with a lack of any substance and compared it to the mental trauma suffered by concentration camp victims. Digression but anyway this is the kind of thing that you feel before you understand. I always do anyway.
Anyway I thought .....or wondered if serial killers are an American phenomenon so I did some googling and randomly chose serial killers French and got this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Vacher
this is an AMAZING modern painting of the famous Beatles songs by