I read Carlton Smith's article with disgust, largely because I can picture him lengthening this piece on Jacob Sherman into his 17th bestselling book (he's best known for co-authoring The Search for the Green River Killer back in 1991) and laughing all the way to the bank. I was also disgusted with how he delved into various voyeuristic details, from Jacob's mom's rape by a fellow cop to his separated father's detachment and other lurid details of this "dysfunctional" family. These details would be relevant in a book length analysis, but seemed to lean more towards the sensational in this short piece. |
Then there's his horribly simplistic statements and assertions: we're told Jacob was a "gifted, idealistic student" who was "captivated by [Tre] Arrow's charisma and the siren song of violent nihilism" so strongly that in six months' time he was completely metamorphosed into an elf. In my mind the word 'captivated' does not begin to address the complex transformation that Jacob apparently underwent, but this transformation is described in a predictable, banal way: in late summer 2000, Jacob was "an outgoing and extremely bright" "preppy" student, who degenerated to sporting "a somewhat hippy appearance" by late fall, and then fell into "negative" politics (after all, he "wrote frequently about the Zapatista insurgency in Mexico and quoted Che Guevara"). By midwinter Jake was "growing edgier, harder as he found himself echoing the charismatic Arrow."
|"use of the term 'ecoterrorist'... generally serves as a pretty good indicator that 'this particular article is a piece of shit and is so biased as to be nearly useless'"|
At last we have a culprit: it's all Tre Arrow's fault. I love Smith's inclusion of a quote from a psychiatrist who testified at trial about how Jacob was groomed: "Tre Arrow [came] across him [Jacob]. And for some reason that is not very clear ... Mr. Sherman got picked out in a way which I would describe as being very similar to the kind of grooming behaviors that you see where you're looking at, say, sexual predators." Ooooh ... scary men with kiddie porn. Smith neglects to mention that expert witnesses are hired to say whatever it takes to keep their side's client on or off the hook, depending on which side is hiring them. Come on, Smith ... can't you at least make one reference to Michael Jackson's bedroom while you're at it?