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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Media > Books > Ripper Authors

View Poll Results: Are errors acceptable in history books, sites, articles?
Any error (name, date etc) however small, is unforgivable because we rely on books to be accurate. 5 29.41%
Small errors in names, dates, places OK but authors must not present theory as fact. 12 70.59%
If twisting the truth a little make for a more interesting story, that is OK. 0 0%
So long as it's a jolly good read, really I don't care. 0 0%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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  #21  
Old 07-11-2012, 09:53 PM
Cogidubnus Cogidubnus is offline
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Quote:
Some say he landed in the drink, some say he was a barber. Some say he was never just one man and some say he was a cobbler.

Some say he was heir to the throne and some say only a painter,

but I say who was that guy that time is making fainter.
But all of us (right pond at least) know he's The Stig...

Dave
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2012, 10:25 PM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenaWojtczak View Post
...Nothing wrong with speculation. My gripe is with people who deliberately make things up and present them as facts because it supports their pet suspect.
Those who have witnessed any number of repetitive arguments on Casebook will notice how easily conjecture turns into fact. There does seem to be a somewhat serious problem with what a writer or poster perceive's to be a fact, and what is truely factual information.
Insisting one's interpretation is fact does not make it so.


Quote:
I have to disagree with you there because I think you can build an argument (i.e. promote your pet suspect) from the facts.
Absolutely you can. Though any conclusion arrived at will often be a matter of choices. Which may mean your suspect will never be more than a 'maybe', which is not strong enough for some.

Quote:
But to make up lies in order to make your weak suspect look like a strong one is, to me, utterly reprehensible and almost a hanging offence.

If making up 'lies' includes manipulating, or misrepresenting what we know, which I think is more commonplace than actually making up lies, then yes.
One of the problems I see is this, the proposer has so convinced him/her self that what they are saying is true, they don't see the falsity of their argument. We seem to have a frequency of arguments where the basis is nothing more than assumption built on top of assumption.

It only takes repetitive assertions of these assumptions before a handful of readers will begin to believe them.

Regards, Jon S.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2012, 10:30 PM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
Some say he landed in the drink, some say he was a barber. Some say he was never just one man and some say he was a cobbler.

Some say he was heir to the throne and some say only a painter,

but I say who was that guy that time is making fainter.
Very clever Beowulf.
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2012, 11:15 PM
Robert Robert is online now
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I had completely forgotten my earlier post and tonight voted for option 2 (though I didn't like the "OK" bit). Obviously I am an unreliable source, even concerning myself.
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  #25  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:51 AM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert View Post
I would say that if a man says "X had red hair," then that statement carries an implicit assertion - that if someone looks at the man's hair in "normal" light (which is easy enough to define) then his hair will appear red. Of course, things aren't really coloured but that's not really what we're talking about. If someone says that the man's hair is red, when in fact it's only red because of a neon light, then I would say that the man has (unintentionally) not told the truth, because he has got a fact wrong. If he had said "The man's hair looked red to me" then he'd have been telling the truth.
Fact vs. Fiction, Truth vs. Lie, easy enough. The man told the truth as he saw it, so he did not lie, but he was incorrect and therefore not factual. None of which has any bearing on reality. Philosophy exists for a reason. It's because this crap is not easy to sort out.

Fact is not truth is not reality is not rational is not concrete. It can be all those things, but usually isn't. A fact is that which can be proven. Truth in theory has to do with accuracy, but more often has to do with fidelity. Many truths can never be proven. Reality has to do with how things are, rather than how they are imagined to be, but even that is completely subjective. Rationality is all about reasoning, which we all know has little basis in fact truth or reality. And concrete simply means tangible.

The speed of light is a fact, is probably the truth, has little to do with reality, and nothing whatsoever to do with rationality or concreteness. My religion has nothing to do with fact, everything to do with truth, a lot to do with reality, nothing to do with rationality, and isn't concrete in the slightest. And the platypus is both real and concrete, but I think thats the most we can give it.

And don't even get me STARTED on honesty, which can be preserved while engaging in none of the above traits.

To the point of this thread, truth is much dodgier than fact. I could say that Jack the Ripper was some guy named Ed Smythe who was a shoeshine. Clearly I can't prove that. So it cannot be a fact. But 50 years down the line, they may find that holy crap, Jack the Ripper was a shoeshine named Ed Smythe. Which meant that I told a completely fact free truth.

The vocabulary will kill us all one day.
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2012, 04:17 AM
Barnaby Barnaby is offline
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The poll is missing the all to common case where someone creates a jolly good read that has absolutely no basis in reality yet still does not err in the basic facts.

Also, as a follow-up to the original poll: What about Ripper fiction? Is it imperative that fictionalized accounts have the basic facts correct?
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  #27  
Old 07-12-2012, 05:27 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenaWojtczak View Post
That made me laugh, but shouldn't the first two lines rhyme and the second scan?

And who was the cobbler?

Let's work on this and make it better!
well, I'll have another go at it:

Some say he plunged into the drink
some say he was a cruel barber
some say he ended up in the clink
some say 'went mad' from strange ardor

Mystery abounds. Was he heir to the throne
or a famous painter acting alone
a cobbler, a butcher, a poisoner, a robber
Endless search for the springheeled dauber

A man on his own or two of a kind
a white rabbit was he
and we are his blind.

Btw, I look forward to reading your book, the one about the *cruel barber
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  #28  
Old 07-12-2012, 07:06 AM
HelenaWojtczak HelenaWojtczak is offline
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Hello Jon
Which may mean your suspect will never be more than a 'maybe', which is not strong enough for some.

I thought all JtR suspects were only a maybe. If one was a certainty, this entire guessing game could end.


If making up 'lies' includes manipulating, or misrepresenting what we know, which I think is more commonplace than actually making up lies, then yes.


Sometimes people only tell half the story, the half that supports their suspect. Again using Chapman as my example, people are forever citing the fact that he lived in the East End during the Ripper murders, a short walk to all the murder sites. On the face of it, that looks very suspicious -- until you add the information that 250,000 other men lived there too.



There does seem to be a somewhat serious problem with what a writer or poster perceive's to be a fact, and what is truely factual information.
Insisting one's interpretation is fact does not make it so...... It only takes repetitive assertions of these assumptions before a handful of readers will begin to believe them


In "The Cable Street Dandy" dissertation on this site, we are told that Chapman 'took a knife to his wife...in New Jersey and threatened to cut her head off with it, causing her to flee back to England in terror—as reported by The Daily Chronicle, 23 March 1903" '. AFAIK, nobody has queried the source of this story, and yet no document, newspaper or witness statement contains it; not even the newspaper cited in the dissertation, which states that Chapman "told her that he meant to have cut her head off". It does not mention fleeing home in terror. Despite this, I've seen people cite the incident as a fact, and the fact cited as evidence that he was JtR.

arguments where the basis is nothing more than assumption built on top of assumption.


This reminds me of the backwards assumptions made by R. Michael Gordon. He conjectures that Chapman (in order to become a poison-killer) must have had a violent childhood. He then cites the purported violent childhood as a fact when he uses it to support his argument that Chapman was the Ripper.


What depresses me about this whole subject is that most readers trust authors to be presenting true facts, most especially if their writings have been published on a reputable website, in a respected magazine, and most of all in a book. Readers can't go off and research the entire subject of every book and article they read in order to check up that the author hasn't made anything up, we trust. Where would we even start to research something if we cannot use other books? 99% of people are not able to spend their lives poring over primary sources in far-flung record offices, and that is why we have nonfiction authors - they do all the legwork, and then tell us the results. IMO, for such an author to present invention as fact is doubly wrong, because it's an abuse of the trust that is placed in them by readers.

And we really are taught to trust what is in a nonfiction book -- look at when we are at school/university - you want to know anything, you look it up in a book. Books are implicitly trusted, believed and then cited to back up our subsequent essays and dissertations. If we all stop believing nonfiction books, how can anyone be taught anything at school or university?


Helena
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Helena Wojtczak BSc (Hons) FRHistS.

Author of 'Jack the Ripper at Last? George Chapman, the Southwark Poisoner'. Click this link : - http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/chapman.html
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  #29  
Old 07-12-2012, 07:14 AM
HelenaWojtczak HelenaWojtczak is offline
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Errata
Your post is totally brilliant - what a brain!

Barnaby
I am sorry my poll isn't perfectly worded

What about Ripper fiction? Is it imperative that fictionalized accounts have the basic facts correct?

IMHO, no. In fiction you can write absolutely anything you like. You have no responsibility to the truth whatever.

Beowulf
Some say he plunged into the drink... etc

You've done a blindingly wonderful job there!

Could you weave a sailor in it?

Helena
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Helena Wojtczak BSc (Hons) FRHistS.

Author of 'Jack the Ripper at Last? George Chapman, the Southwark Poisoner'. Click this link : - http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/chapman.html
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  #30  
Old 07-12-2012, 09:18 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Default Jack verse

Salve all,
While we're all breaking out in rhyme, how about this?

There once was a killer called Jack,
Who had the the whole world on his track,
If he got away,
Some people might say,
His pursuers were kept off his back.

Regards,
C4
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