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.

Read More

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.

Read More

The Man Who Never Was

Marco Polo occupies, for many, that weird historical space between legend and fact. We cannot be sure, for instance, if a William "Braveheart" Wallace ever really existed. Nor can we be sure of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. But for me at least, the question of whether or not there was a Marco Polo— who sailed to China and returned in glory— is resolved in the negative. The Travels of Marco Polo is no more historically accurate than L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth.

Read More