Being Wronged By Kathryn Schultz Part I

New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schultz

This article is in response to Kathryn Schultz who just wrote an article published in the New Yorker highly critical of filmmakers’ Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos and Making A Murderer.  It’s one thing when Nancy Grace or someone from tabloid land writes or bloviates in an ad captandum vulgus style by borrowing the talking points of man like Ken Kratz, but it has heretofore been my opinion that the New Yorker holds itself to a much higher standard.  And given that the New Yorker’s readership consists of some of the most influential people in the world,  what is published within its pages delivers an impact that wouldn’t be guessed by its circulation alone.

Public opinion has already begun to crystalize around the notion that Making A Murderer was essentially dishonest and manipulative since it left out what Ken Kratz keeps insisting was crucial evidence.  In fact, he’s gone on record saying that eighty to ninety percent of inculpatory evidence was omitted.  And like Ken Kratz, Kathryn Schultz brings up the DNA of Steven Avery’s found on the hood latch.  But Kathryn fails to mention, perhaps because she did not know, that it was all the more curious that the DNA was found without any accompanying finger prints of Steven Avery’s.  She also fails to mention, again, perhaps because she didn’t know, that Teresa Halbach had been at Avery Salvage no fewer than on fifteen prior occasions.  Would it be terribly surprising if, on one of those visits, Teresa asked Steven to look at something underneath the hood of her Toyota RAV4?  He might not have been the brightest person in the world, but there is an excellent chance that he knew more about automobiles than most people, and that knowledge might have been recognized by a twenty-five year old woman who obviously knew Steven Avery had to be familiar with cars.  Leaving out such troubling “evidence” was doing Ken Kratz and the gang a favor, if anything.

I feel it especially urgent to take pains to directly address the many weaknesses in Kathryn Schultz’s article because there is nothing more unfair and inaccurate than the narrative being set at the moment, and at some point in the near future, the public’s mind is going to be made up, and once this happens, it will be impossible to change it even if it happens to be wrong.

 

In the summer of 2010, when I was living in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was in a bookstore perusing the the inventory when something caught my eye.  It was the recently released work, Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schultz.  Being Wrong?  What an ingenious idea for a book!  If we think long enough about how we think we might come to puzzle out the occult phenomenology of this process.  But we would likely do no better than Ms Schultz herself who brilliantly explores the topic from what seems like every conceivable angle.  So there, in the aisle of that quiet and desolate book store I forthwith began to sample the first few hors d’oeuvres on the book’s jacket, and in the preface of what would turn out to be a magnificent intellectual feast which, in a way that nourishment for our corporeal being cannot, has sustained ever since.

So struck by the originality of this work, I sent her a brief note of gratitude.  I believe she was relatively unknown at the time, but this began to quickly change when Bill Clinton profusely and publicly praised her work.  She would go on to first be the editor of New York Magazine before moving on to an even more prestigious position as a New Yorker staff writer, the ne plus ultra of every aspiring writer the world over.

And there was even further contact between us, however slight.  Several years back I also saw quite to my astonishment that Ms Schultz was on OK Cupid, her profile yclept with the sobriquet HEYPDX, or something very close to that, and that she was living in Portland Oregon where I too resided.  My excitement was short-lived, however, because the message I sent her offering to discuss this and that over a single malt scotch, something she listed in her profile as a preferred beverage, wasn’t returned.

At this point I’d pretty much forgotten about Kathryn Schultz except for hoping that she’d write another book someday as good as first one, but one day, as I was reading the New Yorker, I’d seen an article with her name attached.  I went to her profile page, and the picture confirmed that it was she.  Just on on a lark, I went to OK Cupid once again to see if her profile was still active, and indeed it was.

 

 

So began yet another exchange, I being N_Complete, and she being Heypdx.  I should note that I’ve had other profiles on OKCupid up before under different names.  The one I had the most luck with, comically enough, was Sexual_Messiah.  I already know what my detractors are going to say, but I’d conceived of it as a pure joke, and nothing more.  Eventually, however, I established a following of many very beautiful, very accomplished women who didn’t seem at all to mind whatever might have been implied by such a moniker.  N_Complete was inspired by a famous kind of math problem known a NP Complete, the definition of which, from Wikipedia, is as follows:

In computational complexity theory, a decision problem is NPcomplete when it is both in NPand NPhard. The set of NPcompleteproblems is often denoted by NP-C or NPC. The abbreviation NP refers to “nondeterministic polynomial time”.

I have no idea what any of that means except that it sounds like for problems to be described as NP_Complete they have to be so hard that the word “hard” is inadequate to describe how completely hard they are.  But there is always an obscure vocabulary used by professionals.  People in the insurance business can’t speak of money as money (probably from guilt), so they resort to double speak, and use “premium” instead.  In the same way an exalted mathematician is unlikely to throw up his hands and say, “Boy that problem is “h-a-r-d, hard!”, but instead simply describe it as being NP_Complete, which has the same meaning.  I had a lot of what seemed like good reasons at the time for going with N_Complete, but for those not versed in somewhat obscure mathematics, it just sends the wrong message, and any attempt to explain why I chose it only makes matters worse.  I should have just stuck with Sexual_Messiah even though I eventually found it difficult to live up to that title.

In the opening salvo, I write to Kathryn about her most recent New Yorker article, (April 7th, 2015)…

N_Complete: Interesting article in the NewYorker. I thought this insight gets it right: “The phrase “No, totally!” seemed to suggest, instead, genuine engagement: a startled, joyful discovery of common ground…”  One question if I may…how many people on this dating site recognize you as Kathryn Schultz the writer?

At this point Ms Schultz gives no indication whatsoever that she has any idea who I am or that I’ve written to her before.

Heypdx: Ha. So far, precisely one, and it’s earned you a reply. (There haven’t been a lot of those, either.) Although that bit of induction on your part might just as easily have nixed a reply, since I don’t aim to be recognized; quite the contrary, actually. I divide my time between New York and Oregon (I know, I know; I should probably include that detail in my profile, but it is, like so many things, a long story), and I don’t use a NY address here because I suspect the recognition rate would be considerably higher on the East Coast. (Possibly also the interesting-response rate — but who knows.)

Out of curiosity, how did you put two and two together?

K.

I was pretty exhilarated that she responded though.  I could already tell, however, that reeling her in was going to take a level of social adroitness that I hadn’t then mastered.

N_Complete: First, you have nothing to worry about as far as I knowing that you keep a profile here. I’m good at keeping things hugger mugger. To answer your question, after I read the article, What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand?, I noticed that your New Yorker bio photo is also one of the photos in your profile album on OKC. As an aside, it’s funny to think that a writer manque might spend his entire life trying to get noticed.

Now that you know all about the induction and what to do [to] make any future ones all the more challenging, there is something in your response, I’m afraid that prompts yet another question: Why do you respond so infrequently? Is it owing to a paucity of suitable suitors, perhaps?

In retrospect, it’s a good rule of thumb to never bring up the word “mugger” especially when you’ve already been convicted of burglary in any response you send on OKC, but to me, at least, it’s just such a funny word that I wasn’t able to resist.

 

Heypdx: > Is it owing to a paucity of suitable suitors, perhaps?

Yep. No doubt there are many lovely people on here — but I’m picky, and whatever else can be said about it, it turns out that OKC is excellent at making incompatibilities obvious.

It was at this point that I began to make elaborate plans with Kathryn’s brother to bump into her as she was alone, leaving a salvage yard in Wisconsin.  Kidding, kidding.  Calm down.  Truth is, I thought it was funny at the time because if OKC could make incompatibilities obvious, that’s the same thins as saying that it makes compatibilities obvious, and it does no such thing.  I wanted to remind her of what she herself had taught me about Being Wrong, but I thought there was no way of doing that without seeming to be super annoying, not that I didn’t find other ways…

N_Complete: With so much choice, and so much info provided on matters specifically relevant to compatibility, I’m sure there’s every reason to think that eventually finding the right one is all but failsafe

Here I am mocking her.  It didn’t cause her to come rushing back, alas.

N_Complete:Tell Gopnik I said hello. There is a quality of kindness in his writing that shines through. Yet, no writer for the New Yorker has ever written anything as profound as Being Wrong. I think about Being Right and how that would introduce the ultimate incompatibility to existence itself. Not knowing, being wrong and finding out are as important as water and oxygen.

I imagine that Adam Gopnik can’t be seen in public, so great is his stature, so I thought maybe Kathryn could relay a message for me.

 

N_Complete: Your smile in this picture http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Kathryn-Schulz.jpg

 

 

New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schultz

OfficalNew Yorker profile picture of staff writer Kathryn Schultz

Reminds me of the smile in this picture

Photograph of Edgar Allen Poe wearing scarf

Edgar Allen Poe

 

I’m sure that a lot of people will think that I was being mean to Kathryn, but that isn’t so.  I just thought she had chosen, I would suppose deliberately, a strange picture for her New Yorker profile.  I find her reasonably attractive enough to propose going out, I was saying nothing at all about her overall appearance which I actually find pleasing enough.  It’s just that, as I was looking at that picture long enough, it finally hit me that Edgar Allen Poe wore a very similar expression on his face in more than one famous photograph.

I was trying to say something to Kathryn, but I don’t think she got the message.  I was trying to vouch for my own powers of observation which should already have been established since I was the only one of all the people who’d read her profile that recognized her as a staff writer for the New Yorker.  It is she who asked how I put it together.  So I wanted to show her what else I’d put together.  And I was also paying her a compliment by comparing her to Edgar Allen Poe by implying that maybe such an expression could only have been caused by similar powers of observation, and similar strains of thought.

Part II tomorrow

 

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35 comments

  • Heypdx: Ha. So far, precisely one, and it’s earned you a reply

    I am saddened you wrote her back after this tone. I know what I would send back if a guy gave me that reply on a personals site. Especially if this was 2010? I know what you looked like then and she. It is why I never like to meet people I am a fan of.

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    • They haven’t been deleted. Repetitive comments that have nothing whatsoever about Making A Murderer have been moved to the comment graveyard. I’m speaking with various zoning authorities at the moment to try to find the best spot on my site to put them. More than likely they’ll be buried somewhere in the footer when I get around to it.

  • Where’s Part 2?

  • She states the film makers set out to sway public opinion in favor (or against the guilt of) SA and BD, but a I tend to disagree. I don’t know it for a fact, but I suspect they collected tons and tons of footage and tediously pieced it together into a really good piece of work. Friends who are in the film industry have remarked on the structure, quality of editing…etc. To put a 10 part series together with no narration (voice over) and tell such a good story is pretty awesome in my book. The general public is not looking at the documentary from the perspective of what it takes to actually MAKE a documentary. The GP looks at the humanistic features. And though she must be a sharp cookie based on your synopsis/opinions of her other works, apparently she has fallen in the barrel (oops couldn’t resist) with the GP re:MAM. Seems she has decided to get a little rise (hopefully) by attempting to oppose what she thinks is the intent of the doc–kind of a rote journalistic technique says me. Maybe, once all the footage was put together, given all the information they were able to use, the story of innocence tells itself. Just like the story of lies tell themselves too….on the faces of the liars. The characters are themselves…so if they are bad actors..so be it.
    Anyway, she cannot possibly know that any of the “left out” information is any more valid than that information that was included. The whole sweat DNA car latch is from Ken Kratz, and that was not evidence that could be used anyway since it was likely from sloppy investigators contaminating the scene if not blatant evidence planting. Just like she “heard” that evidence somewhere, I “heard” the investigators did not change gloves when they checked under the hood of the car to corroborate BDs claims about the battery cable being removed. I read somewhere the investigators also had swabbed SAs cheek for DNA and of course there is no way they could tell the hood latch DNA came from sweat vs saliva vs a dirty t-shirt vs a contaminated glove. TBC….

    • Sorry, afraid I would lose that book I just typed before posting… Anyhow, I can see she feels some empathy or sympathy for the known victims, Teresa and Penny. She says “they turn people’s private tragedies into public entertainment. If you have lost someone to violent crime, you know that, other than the loss itself, few things are as painful and galling as the daily media coverage, and the license it gives to strangers to weigh in on what happened.” She does go on to express that this would be OK if the intent was for some greater public good to occur, however she purports that that is not what has happened here.
      My total down and dirty opinion here is that she has a little negative aura hanging around her she needs to ditch! From the sad/serious Poe-face to the sad fact that she can’t find any suitable suitors in NY or Portland. She should have more confidence and charisma for such a good writer, and a little less ego and she might smile more! She should SUPPORT other artists doing their craft instead of criticizing too. Oxymoron.
      And for the haters and crazy callers- “There is no beauty without some strangeness” per the serious faced man. Y’all keep showing up don’t cha? Doers are movers and shakers.

  • I find it humorous how on every post there are people who are ridiculing and being downright nasty to Daniel. If you think he is such an awful human being, why are you continuing to read his posts?

    • Why? Because he is passionate about something? What difference does it make to you?

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        • There’s a comment form that you can use to send a private message, if you’re that concerned. To come to the site day after day to post essentially the same message isn’t achieving much except to make people start wondering a little about you especially since you stated:

          What difference does it make to me? In the big picture not much I guess

          So if you really don’t care, why do you keep posting the same thing over and over again? And why wouldn’t you care? If I thought you were mentally ill, I would definitely care, and the last thing I would do is make offensive comments, and insinuate that you’re a phony on a public forum. If you ever do encounter someone who is mentally ill, maybe show a little compassion. And if you’re unable to manage that, probably best to keep quiet lest you metaphorically throw the cat over the fire for your own perverse amusement.

        • Anon106… Not sure why you keep trolling. Maybe not be so anonymous and we would understand.

    • Making these judgements and assertions only expose the person making them.

      German-Swiss poet, novelist and painter Hermann Hesse once said: “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”

      Abu Dhabi, “When suppressed concerns and feelings, such as lack of self-esteem; self-defeating thoughts and behaviours; guilt; and anger, for example, are not treated or dealt with, the person uses insults to unleash anger, to escape dealing with the pain or trauma experienced or as a way to exert control [over another person] and feel powerful.”

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    • Is that a polite question to ask someone? For people who you think have mental health issues, try compassion instead of ridicule.

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        • THIS COMMENT WAS DEEMED OFFENSIVE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT, YOU CAN PURCHASE THE ENTIRE ARCHIVE OF IMPOLITE COMMENTS. PROCEEDS WILL GO TOWARD MY OWN PERSONAL MENTAL HEALTH FUND. IF I AM EVER ABLE TO COLLECT ENOUGH MONEY, I WILL BE SEEING A PSYCHIATRIST AND ALL SESSIONS WILL BE RECORDED AND POSTED BACK HERE ON THIS WEBSITE.

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        • At least you recognize that what you’re saying is redundant then?

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        • This comment section is really for talking about Making A Murderer. You’ve made your point. If you keep this up, I’m going to set up a harassment depot, and all of your comments will be moved to this location so you are no longer a distraction to everyone else.

        • Honestly, I think he’s just passionate about something. It looks like he was wrongfully accused of something in the past and he may have a mission to help out those in the same position. The fact that you keep coming back to harass him makes me think you might have mental issues… lack of empathy… much like psychopathic traits.

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    • I didn’t tell her that she looks like a man. I told her that her crooked smile reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s crooked smile.

      • As you noticed, I am just starting to comb through your blog. I want you to know that I like your comparison. I use to tell my mother, who was a chemist and quite brilliant , her messy hair and her office space was quite like Einstein. She always laughed. She had far better things to think about than curlers and cleaning. I think this is an odd compliment, but one I understand. I was never so blessed with intelligence and would love a comparison of any sort in the same nature.

        • Thanks for the nice words. BTW, I reject the notion that you weren’t blessed with intelligence. I have come to the strange view that most people are, paradoxically at the same time, far more dumb and far more intelligent than they realize. It is actually a credit to your intelligence that you have recognized the former. Now all you have to do is recognize the latter. In any case where once people spoke of wisdom they now speak of intelligence, but what is one without the other except that it is far better to have wisdom than smarts than it is to have smarts without wisdom. Wise is better than smart, and the good news is that wise is easy.

        • Thank you and pray we never have the wisdom Avery has to have.

        • See, I knew you were smart..

        • *Come to have

          Meant to write