Kate Pendry om: BUGLIOSI, HELTER SKELTER and the origins of true crime
Foto: Jonas Jeremiassen Tomter
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Vincent T. Bugliosi Jr. was an American attorney and New York Times bestselling author.
During his eight years in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, which included 21 murder convictions. He was best known for prosecuting Charles Manson and other defendants accused of the Tate–LaBianca murders of August 9–10, 1969.
His book with Curt Gentry Helter Skelter (1974) is a detailed account of the Tate-Labianca murders and subsequent trial of Charles Manson and Family. It is widly regarded as one of the earliest and most important books in the true crime genre.
Bugliosi’s almost fanatical attention to detail and his profound sense of logic in jurisprudence single him out as both non-sensational and deeply reliable. His analysis of the acquittal of O.J. Simpson in 1994 (Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder) is regarded as a definitive account of Simpson’s divisive and controversial murder trial ‘of the century’.
His magnum opus Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, (2007) is 1200 page analysis of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the legion conspiracies that blossomed after his murder. Bugliosi persuasively concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin and debunks the alternate theories around the assassination.
In BUGLIOSI, HELTER SKELTER and the origins of true crime, Kate Pendry presents his three most notable works, with particular focus on the Manson chronicle. Bugliosi’s non-sensational, fact-based style of analysis and his disgust with speculation and conspiracy is a red thread that comments also on contemporary conspiracy culture. Bugliosi was revolted by Oliver Stone’s wild conspiracy-bombing in JFK (1994). Market research and not a few analysts have also concluded that Stone’s film led to a massive spike in distrust of government in the US and belief in conspiracies as valid explanations for extreme events. The fallout from JFK contributed to a descent into conspiracy- think has gripped the US to this day.
Pendry’s lecture ultimately explores true crime as a compelling allegorical strategy, rather than (as many view it) a guilty pleasure. We need monsters as much as we need heroes. But the stories should be well told.
Kate Pendry is a British actress and playwright who has been based in Oslo since 1995. She is known for her sharp use of language on stage, the red thread of allegory as social commentary that runs through her work – and her use of irony and dark humour. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently in 2022 the Norwegian Actors Equity award for Independent Artist of the Year (Frilansprisen).