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"Skewering The Ripperologists" Bad Women Podcast- Hallie Rubenhold

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

    This may sound strange coming from someone interested in Victorian crime and the so-called Ripper murders, but I'm puzzled as to why Jack the Ripper would be taught in school.

    Personally, I would be flabbergasted if I learned that students in the U.S. were studying the Charles Manson murders instead of more mainstream history.

    I suppose it must be a shock tactic to get them interested in a previous century.
    I’m not sure that it differs in that respect from the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes was tortured, hung, drawn and quartered, and to celebrate that, largely for the entertainment of children, effigies of him were burned each year on November 5th. Kids love that sort of ‘Horrible History’. At least they did in my day.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    (Perhaps this is one for the other HR thread) I was rather disappointed by her selective description of prostitution in the Highway. She focused on the women who met sailors fresh off the ship and shacked up with in an almost domestic fashion for the period they were in port. She mentions the street walking alternative to that almost as an afterthought. Those sort of domestic arrangements certainly did happen and they conveniently segway into HR’s view of Kelly’s periods of domestic stability with Fleming and Barnett. Perhaps she did little or no street walking even when she was living in the Highway? I think that’s what we’re bring invited to consider.

    But at the other end of the scale from the cosy weeks-long arrangements was the practice of ‘lumbering’ - basically the enticement of often drunk sailors into an environment (brothel/dark alley) where they could be assaulted and robbed of their valuables - sometimes the very clothes off their backs. Sometimes they were drugged, sometimes beaten/stabbed, occasionally they lost their lives. Often they fought back and the lumberers came off worse. It seems likely that in a lot of cases, the promise of sex was never delivered - and may never have been truly on offer.

    According to Arthur Harding, Biddy the Chiver was a lumberer and, such was her reputation, a lumberer of lumberers. Did she ever have sex with a man for the sole or primary reason of financial gain? I don’t know.

    Where did Kelly sit on the cosy-lumbering spectrum? I don’t know that either.

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

    The full article is behind a paywall, but it begins:
    [I]"The way the Jack the Ripper murders are taught in schools is changing after a historian argued that GCSE textbooks peddled a dangerous myth.
    This may sound strange coming from someone interested in Victorian crime and the so-called Ripper murders, but I'm puzzled as to why Jack the Ripper would be taught in school.

    Personally, I would be flabbergasted if I learned that students in the U.S. were studying the Charles Manson murders instead of more mainstream history.

    I suppose it must be a shock tactic to get them interested in a previous century.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    How does it come about that an author who is unable to see the flaws in The Five is considered competent to produce a school textbook on the subject?
    I'm tempted just to say "market forces" but I don't have any real evidence.

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  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

    I’m planning to pay another visit to the LMA next week to do a bit more trawling through the Thames Police Court registers. One thing I noticed last time was that there were next to no records of arrests/convictions for soliciting or any kind of sex-related crime. And this was the court that would have covered the Ratcliff Highway. Which suggests to me that the police didn’t consider it worth their while to arrest women for that offence.
    Maybe you're right. Perhaps they felt it was like Canute trying to turn back the tide. But it's certainly good news that you'll be looking more into those records.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

    How does it come about that an author who is unable to see the flaws in The Five is considered competent to produce a school textbook on the subject?

    I wasn’t thinking quite along those lines, Chris, rather just about 5 (East End probably) women who hadn’t been made famous by the Ripper. I had Biddy the Chiver in mind as my contribution. :-) Your idea is probably better, though, in terms of a rebuttal of HR’s nonsense. Perhaps an example or two of women who were attacked on the street in the early hours and were not assumed to be unfortunates might be in order.

    I think HR has already dismissed Tabram as an unfortunate, hasn’t she? Having the police, the press and the victim’s close connections saying she’s an unfortunate isn’t good enough in HR’s eyes. I’m not sure what would be. Criminal convictions, maybe?
    I’m planning to pay another visit to the LMA next week to do a bit more trawling through the Thames Police Court registers. One thing I noticed last time was that there were next to no records of arrests/convictions for soliciting or any kind of sex-related crime. And this was the court that would have covered the Ratcliff Highway. Which suggests to me that the police didn’t consider it worth their while to arrest women for that offence.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    Thanks to Paul for contacting the author and posting the result. It's very believable that Rubenhold was making the most she could of her role in the revision. Sadly also believable that the author was unaware of the shortcomings of her work.

    Gary's idea is an interesting one. To do full justice it would deal with the lives of women who undeniably* turned to prostitution because the situation they found themselves in, and would address Rubenhold's implication that they were blameworthy for that reason.

    (* Edit: Not that I think it is "deniable" that the Ripper victims did that. Perhaps I should have said not deniable even by Rubenhold.)
    How does it come about that an author who is unable to see the flaws in The Five is considered competent to produce a school textbook on the subject?

    I wasn’t thinking quite along those lines, Chris, rather just about 5 (East End probably) women who hadn’t been made famous by the Ripper. I had Biddy the Chiver in mind as my contribution. :-) Your idea is probably better, though, in terms of a rebuttal of HR’s nonsense. Perhaps an example or two of women who were attacked on the street in the early hours and were not assumed to be unfortunates might be in order.

    I think HR has already dismissed Tabram as an unfortunate, hasn’t she? Having the police, the press and the victim’s close connections saying she’s an unfortunate isn’t good enough in HR’s eyes. I’m not sure what would be. Criminal convictions, maybe?

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Thanks to Paul for contacting the author and posting the result. It's very believable that Rubenhold was making the most she could of her role in the revision. Sadly also believable that the author was unaware of the shortcomings of her work.

    Gary's idea is an interesting one. To do full justice it would deal with the lives of women who undeniably* turned to prostitution because the situation they found themselves in, and would address Rubenhold's implication that they were blameworthy for that reason.

    (* Edit: Not that I think it is "deniable" that the Ripper victims did that. Perhaps I should have said not deniable even by Rubenhold.)

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul View Post
    I contacted the author of the textbook History, who seems a very decent and friendly chap by the way, and he said that Hallie had overstated the scale and importance of what he had done. He explained (and I hope I am paraphrasing him correctly) that he was worried that the teaching of the Whitechapel murders in schools was increasingly focusing on the ghoulishness of the case and he thought The Five, focusing on the victim's lives instead of the murders, was a good corrective. He didn't say but seems to have been unaware of the criticisms of Ripperologists. I bought a copy of his book​, which covers a lot of topics of which the Ripper is but a small part, and I thought it was pretty good, although undeserving of the fuss Hallie seems to have made of it. Of course, from our perspective it's a shame that Ben Walsh gave such emphasis to a book that is far from a good example of correct historical methodology. My feeling is that The Times article was Hallie's puffery, not Ben Walsh's.
    Pethaps that should be taken a stage further and The Five be replaced by an alternative Five whose lives were not directly affected by the Ripper.

    You could advertise it as as book about ‘The Unknown Lives of Five Women Not Killed by JACK THE RIPPER.’


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  • Paul
    replied
    I contacted the author of the textbook History, who seems a very decent and friendly chap by the way, and he said that Hallie had overstated the scale and importance of what he had done. He explained (and I hope I am paraphrasing him correctly) that he was worried that the teaching of the Whitechapel murders in schools was increasingly focusing on the ghoulishness of the case and he thought The Five, focusing on the victim's lives instead of the murders, was a good corrective. He didn't say but seems to have been unaware of the criticisms of Ripperologists. I bought a copy of his book​, which covers a lot of topics of which the Ripper is but a small part, and I thought it was pretty good, although undeserving of the fuss Hallie seems to have made of it. Of course, from our perspective it's a shame that Ben Walsh gave such emphasis to a book that is far from a good example of correct historical methodology. My feeling is that The Times article was Hallie's puffery, not Ben Walsh's.

    Leave a comment:


  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    This looks more like what I remember her studying.

    https://schoolhistory.co.uk/edexcel-...he-inner-city/

    Her eldest brother’s course was more focused on the murders. The school arranged a Ripper walk and I tagged along. That would have been 10/12 years ago though, so the details are a bit hazy.
    Thanks, Gary. That looks like it's by the same organisation but slightly refined? When was Feigenbaum 'long suspected of being the legendary killer' as in my link .If we as researchers but tagged as 'Ripperologist' are tied to things like this it's no wonder people kick up a fuss
    My one and only Ripper tour was also tagged on to a school party tour and the tour guide then, who was fabulous, whispered to me and my friend beforehand that he apologised in advance for the sensationalism he had to inject to engage the school kids.
    Isn't that why the Whitechapel murders were chosen as a history curriculum subject to begin with? To engage kids through studying sensational subjects?
    My son's school chose not to cover the Whitechapel murders, which I believe was also an option ten years ago?

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  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by Jonathan Menges View Post
    “However, the police were so committed to their theories about the killers choice of victims that they failed to conclude the obvious: the ripper targeted women while they slept.”

    No one bothers asking her what "compelling evidence" exists of any of this.

    JM
    It's frustrating.

    Considering Rubenhold's book as a whole, I think it is necessary to have some detailed knowledge of the source material to understand just how factually inaccurate it is.

    But at the same time, I would hope that anyone reading the book with a critical eye would be capable of seeing it for what it is, and appreciating the difficulty of classifying it as non-fiction rather than fiction based on real events.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    This looks more like what I remember her studying.

    https://schoolhistory.co.uk/edexcel-...he-inner-city/

    Her eldest brother’s course was more focused on the murders. The school arranged a Ripper walk and I tagged along. That would have been 10/12 years ago though, so the details are a bit hazy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

    That looks similar to what my grandkids studied, but in addition there was a lot of contextual stuff about homelessness, doss houses etc.
    I’ll show Debra’s link to my granddaughter whe she gets home to see if it looks familiar. She went to the Emirates to watch Arsenal v Spurs (women) and is dead chuffed because Arsenal won 4-0. A DNA test is obviously required.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
    Is the information and worksheet on the Whitechapel murders in the link below a genuine example of the quality of the information available for study in schools?!
    https://schoolhistory.co.uk/industrial/jack-the-ripper/
    That looks similar to what my grandkids studied, but in addition there was a lot of contextual stuff about homelessness, doss houses etc.

    Leave a comment:

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