Naming Jack the Ripper: A Conversation with Russell Edwards

Russell Edwards is an entrepreneur, author, historian, and licensed psychotherapist from Regent's University, London (2017). Between 2007-2014, Russell dedicated a considerable amount of his time and financial resources to solving the infamous “Jack the Ripper” case, and out of that experience came his book Naming Jack The Ripper. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Russell about his journey, both in revealing the identity of a notorious serial killer and then writing about it.

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Jefferson & His Enemies

To read Jefferson is not to read the archaic and irrelevant ramblings of a pile of bones. To read Jefferson, instead, is to read the warm correspondence of a curious old friend. I admit that to have such deep affinity for a man who died 165 years before I was born is, to put it mildly, strange. Normally when one thinks of heroes, role models, and intellectual father-figures or mentors, the mind travels only to the living and normally to the near. Nevertheless I do have a deep affinity for Jefferson and consider myself a disciple of the Enlightenment he held so close to his heart. Yet to speak of Thomas Jefferson in such glowing terms is to find that even he is not immune from the wrath of the Holy Order of Perpetual Offense...

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Shakespeare or Fakespeare?

I'm going to confess something to you right off the bat: I cannot— cannot— with all that is in me, stand William Shakespeare. Honestly, as a lover of literature and the arts, I don't understand the hype. To begin with, I have never found his stories to be as breathtakingly brilliant as many claim. In fact, Shakespeare seems to have a habit of creating protagonists that are impossible for the reader to identify with or see themselves in. That's an entirely subjective opinion of course, but can we all at least stop pretending that Shakespeare was a literary genius? And perhaps my rebellion against the bard is due, also, to the pretentious assholes who claim to enjoy reading him today. Enough with the act! Unless you're reading a modern translation of his work (which I certainly did), you simply do not understand William Shakespeare. You don't. Nobody does. But it is without a doubt Shakespeare being called "the greatest writer in English literature" that really chaps my khakis. Charles Dickens trounces Shakespeare in eloquence of language, complexity of plot, and moral depth. As does Voltaire, as does Alexander Dumas, as does P.G. Wodehouse. The idea that Shakespeare's writing is unique in its "beauty", distinct from the aforementioned writers and many others, is an idea I have yet to see backed up with any sort of strong argument. In short, Shakespeare may in fact be the most overrated writer in human history to date. Much ado about nothing. So now that you know my feelings toward the writings of William Shakespeare, let me tell you now why I wish to deprive the man even of his gross mediocrity.

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