christinawilder

I'll think of a damn title later

29we2#33WR@#)@$()!@*($#(%)_&*

172 Minions
154 Muses
4717 BOOKS


Currently reading

Hangsaman
Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Naomi Klein
Progress: 158/528 pages
"I want to perform an unnatural act."

- Lenny Bruce



"I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative. I don't like anything in the mainstream and they don't like me."

- Bill Hicks



"I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant."

-George Carlin



"The more I see, the less I know for sure."

- John Lennon

The Trial - Jen Bryant Jen Bryant tells the story of one of the most famous trials in world history in a fascinating, unique way. Told through quiet, effective prose in poem form, "The Trial" tells the story of Katie Flynn, a young girl who lives with her mother in Flemington, New Jersey. It's in this town that the famous Lindbergh kidnapping trial took place in 1935. Katie is bored with her small town, well noted by the opening lines in the book:"I've lived in this town my whole life, and I can tell you... nothing ever happens."The banality of her young life ends when the Lindbergh murder trial is set to happen in Flemington, and Katie asks her Uncle Jeff, who works at the Democrat, to be able to sit in on the trial and take notes for him since he has broken his arm. Katie's young conscience leads her to care for both the Lindberghs and Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the German immigrant accused of the crime who insists on his innocence."Colonel Lindbergh scattered Little Charlie's ashes over the Atlantic Ocean so no one could make a spectable of his grave.If the jury finds Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty, he'll die in the electric chair. But they won't bury him here. I wonder what his grave will look like. I wonder if anyone will care."Katie shows herself to be wise beyond her years, sensing that Hauptmann is getting an unfair trial and that witnesses are changing their testimonies. In a section titled "Truth", she muses that if everyone is indeed telling "the whole truth and nothing but the truth", then:"Truth must be like a mansion with many hidden rooms or like a lizard that's too quick to catch and turns a different color to match whatever rock it sits upon."The effects of the Depression are felt throughout the story, and one of the saddest anecdotes is of Katie's neighbor Mr. Mitchell, an elderly Civil War vet who had hoped to go to Florida to attend a Civil War veteran reunion. He receives a letter in the mail telling him that the reunion was cancelled due to lack of funds. Mr. Mitchell shrugs it off, noting the bad economic times, but Katie feels for him, noting that "this year, those ten thousand vets will have to remember that war alone."Keenly observant even of herself, Katie acknowledges her varying feelings about her mother dating Mr. Griffin, the editor of the Democrat ("My grown-up self keeps arguing with my childish self about how much happiness Mother should have"). Still, her views on justice become clouded after the Lindbergh trial and unfair treatment is unleashed on her friend Mike, who is unfairly accused of vandalism when a spoiled rich kid actually did the deed. Because of his alcoholic father and nearly impovershed life, Mike has to deal with the punishment of a crime he didn't commit. This microcosm of the trial (Katie increasingly believes that Hauptmann is innocent) adds a personal element to her reaction of injustice. After a serious of national and personal events change her life forever, Katie begins to feel helpless:"Some days I feel almost normal, but others it's like I'm riding a circus carousel and every time I reach out to grab that brass ring someone else yanks it away and I just keep spinning and spinning and spinning."In the end Katie faces her future with uncertainty but with determination, and where Katie's story ends the notes on the Lindbergh trial begins. The epilogue opens with a quote from Bruno Richard Hauptmann: "They think when I die, the case will die. They think it will be like a book I close. But the book, it will never close." Jen Bryant notes that the same "fame-seeking media" invaded Charles Lindbergh's private life and therefore "perhaps indirectly encouraged" Charles Jr.'s kidnapping and also could not provide a fair or quiet trial in Flemington. In the end, all suffered; Hauptmann was put to death, and the Lindberghs had to flee to Britain since they were still hounded by the media after the trail, and even began receiving death threats to their new son Jon. The sensationalism that surrounded this trial must have been like the one experienced during the O.J. Simpson trial in the 1990's. In the story, Katie recalls local shops selling supposed locks of the Lindbergh baby's hair, and small ladders that replicated the one used to snatch the child from the Lindbergh home. Part Three of the story begins with the lyrics of a song composed during the trial that mocked Hauptmann's German heritage. Katie also notices the treatment that German immigrants get by default because of the trial, with a local German bakery changing its name to sound more American. It can remind the reader of the prejudices against Arab Americans after September 11th and the Iraq War.Jen Bryant wrote this haunting story relying on historical research and her own memories of growing up in Flemington. Her grandmother was in high school during the trial and "recalls pressing her face against the courthouse window, trying to get a glimpse inside". The curiosity of those around the trial is understandable, but Bryant focuses on the actual justice system, wondering through Katie Flynn if Hauptmann was innocent. In the end, the tragedy of the Lindbergh kidnapping still raises questions about Hauptmann's involvement, and is a reminder that sensationalism and media frenzies around celebrities and noted figures is not a new occurence.