Was James Brown murdered? (Even skeptics should read this.)


I also have aphantasia, though probably milder than Armando’s. I’ve avoided the face-blindness that’s often associated, for example. I thought until my early 30s that “the mind’s eye” was entirely figurative rather than somewhat descriptive. :)

I do sort of imagine things as I’m reading fiction, they’re just not visual. I form and remember complex conceptual constructions representing characters and places in the book. Visual descriptions of people will tend to slide right off though, they simply have nowhere to stick beyond a few basic facts.

Anyway, if there’s interest in discussing this further, let’s take it to Everything Else rather than threadjacking. :)


I visualize non-spatial ideas as three-dimensional shapes sometimes. Sort of how some people can “taste” colors I guess.


Yeah so anyway, the last chapter of this saga just kind … ends. I’m guessing there are more parts coming in the future?


I mean, it seems a strong possibility. Dr. Crawford going silent, the obviously inconsistent statements from law enforcement bodies that claim they investigated or looked into things in recent years and clearly did not.

And what’s really suspicious is the pastor not allowing them to test the vial of blood. Wouldn’t seem like you’d need much to test, and especially based off the testing of the shoe…


I don’t quite understand what it means to read without imagining. I mean, your brain is at least doing the work of stitching together cause-and-effect and getting interested in the characters and their personalities, I presume? Otherwise fiction would not bring much pleasure?

Are you saying that when someone describes a tree you don’t visualize a tree in your mind’s eye, etc.? Is it specifically a sensory recreation of the story unfolding that you don’t engage in?

I’m not sure I do, either – at least not to any great extent. When Dickens writes:

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun.

I don’t think I expend much mental energy in forming a picture in my head of what the mud looks like, or what the Megalosaurus looks like, or anything else. Yet the passage gives me great pleasure to read and in some sense serves its function of “setting the scene” (as well as establishing Dickens’s inimitable third-person narrative voice, and setting up a metaphorical point about the court of Chancery that pays off in the subsequent paragraphs). I feel that the words themselves are standing-in for the picture, if that makes any sense. Dickens has already done the hard work.

I do however construct vague impressions of characters in my head, not so much that I could draw their faces, but so that, for instance, I instantly know that Donald Sutherland was all wrong to play Mr. Bennett in Pride & Prejudice and James Broadbent would have been better.



Regardless of Armando’s apparent one and only fault, this is exactly how this piece reads, so far anyway. I read, watch and listen to podcasts about true crime stories. Setting the scene is imperative.

It’s either:

  • Sam murdered Linda with a shotgun.
  • It was a cold day in February of 1984, and the mountain passes along the Appalachian mountain chain still had snow left over from storms the week before. The town of Newland, North Carolina sits within those mountains as the center town and seat for Avery County. It was on that day that Sheriff Thomas Jackson received a call that would shock both him and the residents of sleepy Newland with a full dose of horror. Yadda yadda, Sam shot Linda with a shotgun.

I prefer the scene setting and that method of story telling, greatly.


The style makes more sense as you get further into the chapters too, with the author taking on the role of investigator, being contacted by random people involved in weird ways with James Brown, getting texts and emails at all hours of the night. Not to spoil a news article, if that’s even possible, but all the randomness starts to take on a more … coordinated feel over time.


Very much so. Moving the story from a mystery towards a procedural crime drama as it unfolds.


That style of reportage has become nearly inescapable; it’s by no means limited to true crime, although it seems best suited to that. I blame Hunter S. Thompson.


Yes, the scourge of beautifully prosaic long-form journalism. Someone save us from good writers applying their craft deftly.


This actually describes very few writers, especially in journalism, and most especially in the space of journalists inserting themselves into their stories. Most do it quite badly with a tangentially-related personal anecdote that sits on top of their article like a turd on an otherwise serviceable if uninspired cheese sandwich.

I really like Thompson, and I am really enjoying this article, but let’s not pretend that everybody shoehorning themselves into their stories is some kind of master craftsman.


Wasn’t talking about everybody. Was talking about this article.


Well in the comment of mine you replied to, my scope was clearly much larger than this particular article. I suppose I could have been more explicit that I don’t include the present author in my criticism, although I did say that style belongs, I believe, better with True Crime than with other types of reportage.


Some organizations excel at it though. I think they loosen the reins a bit and allow excellent writers to do their thing without cutting it to smithereens in the spirit of quick news bites. The Atlantic excels at that, honorable mentions for some of the crew at WaPo and Vice.

Or heck, here’s better offerings in a multitude of subjects beyond just Crime.


Entertaining and scary shit


Succinctly put, scharmers!


Too me a while to work through, but I finally finished it. This could easily be a season of True Detective.


Yeah it does have that whole southern gothic thing going on. Could use more cosmic horror though.