Well damn…you will never guess what was in the mail box. Photographic proof of the Loch Ness Monster? A detailed map to Hoffa’s grave? Why no! Something much more elusive ….a Ripper Notes publication! So, tearing off the paper yielded immediate disappointment… The book color is sh!t brown. What the..?!! Who made that rancid coloring decision? Ripper Notes are usually jewel toned or stark black and white but surely the need to go through the entire color scheme isn’t a sufficient cause to plop a turd on the bookshelf. Pastel Pink would have been much preferred. Anyhoo, one opens it and finds that the editors have bowed to the inevitability of publishing incompetence and there is no longer a year/four issues subscription available but only a four issue subscription time frame unknown. The editorial makes mention of the delay once again citing “computer problems” and confidently asserts that Ripper Notes is going to have a “great year”. That's refreshing. Wolf (the non-insane one) and Alan (of the sexy Irish shins) are now full-fledged editors. Good. Hopefully the additional staff will make for a more regular output. Fiber One can help there too….(the brown is really getting to me). The editorial also mentions the website for Ripper Notes Extra and states it will be for “Ripper news as it happens as well as book reviews”. Well that’s interesting. Hasn’t that been its stated aim for over a year now? So I for one am extremely puzzled by the table of contents which shows 30+ pages of reviews for long-over conferences and book reviews. Now the 5-months-past Wolver conference is on the bounds of “news” but the Maybrick trial review? Are you kidding me? While I love to read anything the Sharpster writes as I imagine it all being sung in that sexy brogue of his, seriously….the MAYBRICK TRIAL review?! This should have been slapped up on the Ripper Notes extra site ages past and not been used as paper filler. Trees died for this. I applauded the idea of a website for current reviews and news, but if they are going to say that’s what it’s for, then that’s what it ought to be for, and not conveniently overlooked when they need to up the page count.
First article starts the magazine out strong with a refutation of Feigenbaum’s candidacy. Well written, well punctuated and very few clankers on the ear with the possible exception of this sentence which came after a long detailed description of Feig being electrocuted: “he was pronounced well and truly dead”. I think most electrocuted people might take exception to being pronounced well after the fact. But anyhoo. A nice smooth flow, an effortless read.
As almost anyone who knows me or has ever asked me for my opinion on one of their writings can attest, generally I fervently, devoutly and passionately hate first-person narration. Rare is the first person narration that is sufficiently entertaining to capture my interest. This of course refers to fiction. I fervently-passionately-devoutly detest first-person writing in non-fiction as well. Unless it’s an op-ed piece or you are writing a memoir of your life, there is absolutely no need for there ever to be an “I” used in any professional writing. So I am definitely not the person to review the next article “Heartless”, because this article goes one horrific step further and starts the article out not even with first person narration but, god have mercy, second-person narration and reads like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. “You see torches on the wall. You come to a fork in the tunnel, do you go left or do you go right? You go right….oh you’re eaten by a troll.” I hated those things. The article continues on in first-person narration with every jarring “I” taking me further and further out of what might have been an intriguing look at the possibility of Jack copycatting himself or believing his own press. To all people everywhere: Can we just STOP with the “I’s” already?
Next up is an article discussing the Myths of Jack the Ripper. It starts out with first-person narration. Sigh. After the personal account, one we are all familiar with—the reactions of people when you tell them you are interested in the Ripper case—it goes on to describe the common perception of Jack the Ripper as a legendary top-hatted fog-swirly figure. There’s nothing really at all wrong with this article, it’s just that the ground here is already so well-trod, including the personal account that one doesn’t even really need to read it. You already know it. But it’s well written, and you could photocopy it and hand it out to Ripper neophytes if not for the fact that Dan would come after you with a forty pound hammer screaming about copyright violation.
And that is all for now. I will be back with my much-lauded opinings when I get round to it.
Let all Oz be agreed;
I'm Wicked through and through.