Grantland.com features author Chuck Klosterman interviewing sports writer and historian, inventor of sabermetrics, and Red Sox’s senior advisor on baseball operations Bill James about his new book Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebrations of Violence. James’s books takes an in-depth look at crime (and society’s fascination with it), murderers, and how unspeakable acts are depicted in literature.
Below is an excerpt:
Obviously, there are millions of crimes and millions of criminals. But is there some unifying element among the type of people who become murderers? What is the fundamental difference between the kind of person who kills someone and the kind of person who never could?
That’s an interesting question. In a lot of true crime stories, you will see that someone testifies for the defendant and talks about what a good person they are, and that this person could never commit the crime in question. I would like to think of myself as someone who would never commit a crime. I’m sure a lot of people would. But I don’t think that’s a good argument for anything. If I was on a jury, the claim that the accused was “too good a person” to commit the crime would not be an argument I would buy. Rabbis commit crimes. Ministers. Priests commit terrible crimes. Now, are they committing these crimes because they’re not really good people and they’re just pretending to be good, or are they truly good people who simply fail to deal with certain situations? I think the latter is more often the case.
Click here to read the thought-provoking interview.
Klosterman’s The Visible Man: A Novel (Scribner, Hardcover: 9781439184462, eBook: 9781439184486) will be released this October.
Austin, Texas therapist Victoria Vick has been contacted by a man who believes his situation is unique. But as he reveals himself to her slowly and cryptically, she becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions. Y_, as she refers to him, is a scientist who has been using cloaking technology from an aborted government project to render himself nearly invisible. He uses this ability to sit and observe individuals in their daily lives, usually while they are otherwise alone. Unsure of exactly what, or how much, to believe, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and his disclosure of increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales. Ultimately, Vick’s interactions with Y_ threaten her career, her marriage, and her well-being.