A skyrocketing homicide rate, a powerful American Mafia, and a burgeoning drug culture plagued 20th century New York. The high incidence of crime led to sensationalist news coverage and caused less privileged victims’ voices to go unheard. Our fourth episode focuses on crime, telling the stories of Kitty Genovese and Sally Horner, victims of violence whose voices were silenced, as well as psychedelic researcher Timothy Leary, whose work sparked public controversy. Dive into the nitty gritty of New York with our guests: archivist Thomas Lannon, authors Marcia Gallo and Sarah Weinman, and white collar crime investigators Jim Mintz and Irwin Chen of the Mintz Group. The episode is presented by your host, historian Claire Potter, executive editor of Public Seminar.
Here are some links and references mentioned in this podcast:
- Claire talks about the history of psychedelic research, and mentions Timothy Leary’s 1967 catchphrase “Tune on, tune in, drop out,” recorded on his 1967 album of the same name. Claire also refers to author Ken Kesey’s participation in Leary’s “Acid Tests,” which are featured in the 1999 documentary Tripping, and to Michael Pollan’s new book on the current science of psychedelic drugs, How to Change Your Mind.
- Thomas Lannon, a manuscript curator for the New York Public Library talks about a collection of Leary documents, including Leary’s book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
- The statistic that nearly half a million people are incarcerated for narcotics offenses was provided by the Prison Policy Initiative. The data for drug offenders in federal prison can be found on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
- Marcia Gallo, a history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author of “NoOne Helped”: Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy, offers a different perspective on the murder than that reported by mainstream media.
- A new study using surveillance cameras contradicts the concept of the bystander effect, concluding that the likelihood of a bystander intervening increases when there are more bystanders present.
- Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita speaks about the tragic kidnapping and abuse of 11-year-old Sally Horner, whose story was transformed and fictionalized in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.
- Claire talks with Jim Mintz and Irwin Chen of the international investigative firm the Mintz Group. Together they play their game Kleptocrat, pretending to be corrupt politicians trying to hide dirty money. The app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play.