Friday, August 17, 2007

Junk Thief Luv Him Some Crime

Despite the name of this blog and its occasional tag line of being "your go to place for junk and crime," Junk Thief really hates crime, even the petty kind. You should just see him react to the frequent act of someone here in the Mission District urinating on the side of his 10-year-old Saturn. That's illegal, isn't it? Or at least a public health hazard.

However, books and movies about crime have always compelled it. Aren't gangsters sexy? Well, usually they're also Italian, so that adds to all of it. So last night while out for the evening meal on Valencia, as usual it was impossible to pass Dog Eared Books without stepping in. Junk Thief probably buys (yes, pays, not steals) 15-20 books a month from that place. There was a nifty little volume there by Giacomo Papi called Under Arrest (A History of the Twentieth Century in Mugshots). Junk Thief has always been fascinated by mug shots, though fortunately he's never been the subject of one, although he simulated one in episode 22 of Junk Thief TV.

What is it about mug shots that is so fascinating? Do they hold true the indigenous belief that a camera will steal your soul? Indeed, they are photos most would never want out on the net or media, but the more famous you are the more likely they are to be on covers than some artfully posed glamour shot.

Mr. Papi has compiled an intriguing array of shots. There are plenty of familiar and tacky ones such at the Hugh Grant/Nicole Brown, O.J. Simpson, Nick Nolte and other celebrities caught with their literal or proverbial pants down. There are a few that are a bit more unexpected such as Larry King and Bill Gates (for a routine traffic violation in New Mexico in the 1970s).

Plenty are political or document varying struggles for justice or social change, ranging from Malcom X, Emma Goldman, Jane Fonda, Jack Kavorkian and Fidel Castro. Of course, there are the outright criminals like Ben Siegel and really spooky ones like Jeffrey Dahmer and Timothy McVeigh. What's unexpected are some of the lump in your throat shots such as child prostitutes in China, Auschwitz internees and "homosexual criminals".

Since it couldn't be found on, Junk Thief felt compelled to bring the little volume to others' attention in case it shows up on a mark down table in your neighborhood.

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At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep an eye out for this book.
Gavin Elster (stealing internet time at work)

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Gangstas sexy?
Must be the pinstriped suits.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Gary said...

Gregg, I started reading a book on the plane yesterday entitled The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It is about the architects behind the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Well written, true, historical and entertaining. This post made me think of passing along the title to you in case you might be interested.

At 2:05 AM, Blogger WAT said...

Most of your pics JUNKY look like mugshots by the way.

But then again, I've been told most of mine do too.


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