Fine essay perfectly captures what it’s like to be obsessed with some morbid 20th century event in general — and explains (to me, finally) the “Manson thing” in particular, which I didn’t understand previously (ew, hippies, etc):
This isn’t a constant obsession, but one that likes to crop up when things are going wrong. A good barometer of my mental state is the books on my nightstand…
When you’re depressed, or fifteen, reading about Charlie is strangely soothing. Pigs and nooses and speed and Death Valley and the Beach Boys, freckle-faced Squeaky Fromme and “Look at Your Game, Girl” (which I find myself accidentally humming all the time) and Doris Day’s son:
it’s real life melodrama that confirms some dark truth you’ve always suspected the universe was hiding.
The comments are also revealing.