Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

by Dick Lehr & Gerard O'Neill

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fireflydances
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Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:28 am

Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI and a Devil’s Deal paints Whitey Bulger as an evil man with absolutely no redeeming qualities. He is even described as a bad child. Do you think the authors consciously decided that such a portrait made for a stronger, more thrilling story, and thus more book sales, or do you feel they simply reported the facts?
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Re: Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:33 pm

Probably both.

They did the research, interviewed people, studied the history....I'm sure they reported what they thought to be the truth.

I don't know that the story needed any more embellishing, but I'm sure the juicy tidbits helped with the sales.

Who wants to read a book about a good guy? :bigwink:

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Re: Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:56 pm

SnoopyDances wrote:Who wants to read a book about a good guy? :bigwink:


You hit the nail on the head. :cool:
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Re: Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:03 pm

I agree with Snoopy's assessment...I believe the authors were very thorough in their fact-finding and research. It's possible that they put more emphasis on Whitey's bad side and perhaps glossed over any good qualities--if, in fact, he actually had any good qualities.

From seeing other accounts of the man, though...it looks like the authors pretty much hit the nail on the head.

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Re: Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:53 am

I will probably blur a lot of what I read between Black Mass and the biography.
I don't believe the authors made stuff up when they wrote the books. They had access to massive amounts of research material, and I think they went through all that information meticulously and reported factually for the most part. Unlike today's broadcast news shows which seem to be more about entertainment than reporting, the authors seemed to me like real journalists.
They do talk about Whitey being the kind of kid who helped ladies carry their groceries. Even when he was shooting people in the head and having them buried near the shore line, he was doing nice things for people in Southie. He had a reputation for being a sort of Robin Hood in the area and a lot of people felt gratitude and loyalty to him. There was some question raised as to how much of this was manipulation and a way to control/smooth the way in the community, allowing him to continue his criminal activities, but nonetheless there was a benevolent side to him. The fact that he could live in California for so many years, quietly and more or less normally, implies that he could probably be a perfectly nice guy when he wanted to be.
But there is a limit to how many pages a book should contain, and the focus of the books was Whitey the FBI informant, Whitey the Irish Mob Boss. The story is naturally going to be about how he began his criminal career as a thief when he was a child, his years as a bank robber and a prisoner, and his rise to power in the mob. I am not sure there was much of the other stuff to soften that story. Even in his personal life he was dishonest, having two women both thinking they were in a committed exclusive relationship with him for several years, at the same time he took care of Theresa Stanley and her kids.

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Re: Black Mass Question #16 Authors' Choice?

Unread postby Liz » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:35 pm

Ideally, reporters should report the facts, and they should be objective. Correct?

A columnist gives an opinion, though. Did they veer into columnist territory and not mention that they were doing so? Hard to say.

I think that I would be more equipped to answer this question if I had read the bio.

My gut reaction while reading the book was that they were just reporting what they thought happened, based on their research and interviews with Connolly. To me it was very dry and matter of fact. So, based on that, I never really questioned their objectivity or biases.

Their focus was Whitey and his relationship with the FBI.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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