Jack the Ripper and the sensationalist media

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In 1988, a terrible serial killer known as Jack the Ripper haunted the cold streets of the East End of London. Although he only killed prostitutes, the newspapers and the media accentuated the citizens’ fear by publishing Jack’s grotesque and explicit letters to the police and not hiding any details from the murderer’s crimes. My opinion on this matter is that, nowadays, these kind of horrors should be kept away from the general public.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about how impressionable people might be affected by these type of crimes. Nowadays, everyone has access to newspapers, television or the Internet, including little kids or mentally ill people who could be triggered by the situation. If the details from the crimes are divulged with no initial thought whatsoever, this could affect people’s lives forever.

Although I consider myself to be a curious and open person who doesn’t want to be lied to by the government or the media, I care way more deeply about the health and well-being of people around me, and wouldn’t want to risk these vital aspects of someone’s life just to know the truth.

Finally, I need to point out how, in 1888, Jack the Ripper sent a series of letters to the police laughing at their uncertainty and giving details about his next work. These letters are believed to have been written by different people as the written expression significantly varies from one to another. Although numerous theories discuss the possibility of Jack the Ripper being more than one person, the letters are more likely to have been written by impostors as a way of entertainment. We can’t risk this happening nowadays, seeing that it could lead to fake clues and only keep the authorities away from the real criminal.

In conclusion, I believe that, in general, the truth should not be hidden from the citizens, but there are cases in which there’s no alternative because it could alter their welfare, like it happened more than a century ago with Jack the Ripper’s case.

Elena A.

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‘From Hell’ letter handwritten in blood, allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper to Scotland Yard in 1888

“Jack the Ripper” might be the most well known killer in the world. But do people know about the real story that lies behind? Or do they only know what the journalists said about him? His murders were horrible, atrocious and insane; but he was never caught by the police.  Apart from that, the police didn’t give much information about his crimes so the sensationalist journalists invented stories.

Here’s the problem of keeping the information away from people. Everyone wants to know what’s going on with the murders, the killer… so if they don’t have the information, they’ll probably invent it. By the way, the people need to know what types of dangers they are exposed to. Imagine that the killer murders at night in a particular place, so the police need to warn people not to be out at night alone in the dark…

That way people would be safer, because they’d know what the killer does. Also, it’s really important that the information the police gives to the journalists doesn’t change. People need to know the truth, it doesn’t matter if it’s grotesque or terrible because the story hasn’t changed.

In conclusion, the truth is the most important element when fighting against crime. In the case of “Jack the Ripper”, if the police had given more information about it, the journalists wouldn’t have invented stories. Maybe some people wouldn’t have sent fake letters to the police and maybe the case could have been solved with everyone’s help. But we’ll never know who “Jack the Ripper” was and all the murders he or she committed will never be punished.

Eider V.

The issue of drug legalization

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Since the Victorian era, drugs have been legalized and prohibited once and again, depending on what country one resides in. The question is, should we legalize, regulate or prohibit the use of all drugs? I, for one, support regulated legalization of only some drugs because of quite a few reasons, although I’ll be centering on marijuana.

For starters, I’d like to press on the fact that I think drugs like cocaine, meth and heroine should be completely prohibited, due to being highly addictive and extremely harmful. This leaves marijuana, which I consider the only drug that should be legalized, albeit while regulated by the government. Here’s why:

When put under government regulation, drugs are subjected to a higher standard of quality, eliminating the illegal and toxic substances some dealers add to their product. It would also make it more expensive, more so than cigarettes, as it would be taxed as a recreational drug. This would also factor into the loss of appeal for the younger generations, as it would be legal and would lose the “coolness” of being illegal.

Aside from these legal and social benefits, marijuana also presents some benefits to our health when consumed in its natural state. For example, it is used for people with anxiety to calm them down and by some asthmatics to relax the throat muscles.

Lastly, the legalization of marijuana would be key when talking about the eliminations of the cartels and crime related to drugs. By presenting a legal, higher quality product, people would stop depending on these criminal associations, thus causing their decline.

In conclusion, I support the legalization of marijuana as long as it’s regulated so as to ensure a safer, higher quality drug, at the same time as reducing the population who takes drugs, earning more money through taxation and exponentially reducing crime linked to drugs.

Paco S.


Durant la conferència l’autor ens va parlar de la seua experiència amb la literatura valenciana, la história d’aquesta i la projecció mundial que en té.

Joan Francesc Mira i Casterà va nàixer a València el 3 de desembre de 1939. És escriptor, antropòleg i sociòleg. També és soci d’honor de l’Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana, acadèmic de l’Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua i president d’Acció Cultural del País Valencià. En l’àmbit polític, és simpatitzant i ha estat candidat del Bloc Nacionalista Valencià els anys 2000 i 2003. Ha traduït obres de la cultura grega molt importants i altres com La Divina Comèdia, de la cual ens va expressar la dificultat que ha tingut i el reconfort que li va produir traduir-la.

Va ser educat al castellà fins al vint anys més o menys, després va descobrir autors com Ausiàs March, Joanot Martorell (amb Tirant lo Blanc) i Ramon Llull. Per a el tota aquesta literatura va estar amagada a Espanya i finalment va descobrir-la a l’italià.
Es va adonar que hi havia una parada a la creació narrativa i està prou orgullós de haver ajudat a reconstruir la nostra tradició literària. Per començar a escriure va dedicar-se a llegir tots els clàssics. Ha treballat molt durant molts anys i gràcies a això la seua producció a fos molt ampla i important. El segle XV és el seu període literari que li sembla més important perquè és l’època de més plenitud i també part del segle XX quan la producció en valencià va tornar.

El que la literatura catalana es va perdre ací i es conserva a altres parts del món, a causa del procés que seguí el país durant els últims segles. La recuperació comença a València quan la gent comença a anar a la universitat, molta gent valenciana varen començar a estudiar.

L’autor ens va parlar de què la postguerra va influir poc conscientment en la seua producció literària, ja que de petit vivia als afores de la ciutat i per això no pot parlar de experiències relacionades amb la postguerra. En la seua obra El tramvia groc ens parla de la seua infància i de les seues experiències.

Al voltant de la temàtica valencianista i històrica cal destacar les seues obres Crítica de la nació pura (1984), que discuteix el concepte de nació, Sobre la nació dels valencians (1997) i Els Borja: família i mite (2000).

                                                                                                                                 María P i Miguel E

The greatest mystery of all

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Human fetus (source: BBC)

Out of everything that is mysterious to us, out of all the things we wonder about and frighten us, I think we are the most mysterious of all. We are, in essence, animals, like dogs or owls; but we do things that are abnormal for an animal to do, no matter how high the evolution chain is.

First things first, we are the only animals to discriminate other members of our own race because of something as trivial as their appearance, and we are also the only animals to kill our own kin out of emotions like hatred or envy. I don’t think I have to say we are also the only animals to organize and go to war over something as insignificant as oil.

Secondly, while we may be the most intelligent animal on the planet (well, some of us are) we still created and worshipped an invisible power just because we couldn’t understand why we, or anything, existed: that power is called God. Or Allah. Or Yahweh. Not to mention we’ve also used their name to justify murder for centuries, even millennia.

And finally, I want to talk about our capacity to survive: human beings have been faced with so much destruction, and even near extinction, over the course of our history, and yet here we are, alive and kicking. We’re like overgrown cockroaches: surviving even when the odds are completely against us.

However, the greatest mystery about ourselves is why we are like this. Why do we kill? Why do we steal? Why do we discriminate? Why do we worship God? Where did we get the capacity to reason like we do? It’s because of all I’ve talked about in this text, and more, I think the human being is the most complex, intricate, mysterious and terrifying thing on earth, maybe even in this universe.

Paco S.

The best novel within Gothic fiction

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Cut from Dorian Gray (Oliver Parker, 2009)

Gothic fiction is one of the main literary genres of the 19th century. For me, the most representative Gothic novel is “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. This novel was written in 1890 by amous writer Oscar Wilde. The main themes are horror, youth, beauty, society, love, friendship and portraits. In the past few years there have been several adaptations from the original novel.

The story is about the life of Dorian Gray. He was a lovely and nice man until he met Lord Henry. Dorian started living under Lord Henry’s influence, which stated that youth and beauty were the most important things in life. Gray starts committing a lot of crimes, such as killing his own girlfriend. His soul was reflected on a portrait that his friend Basil painted one day. So Dorian Gray was always young and beautiful, just as the portrait was created.

The painting got older and uglier day after day, but Dorian didn’t. Because of this reason I think that “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is the most representative novel of Gothic Fiction. It shows true human horror, but with some supernatural elements.

Agostina C.

Life on Mars?

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Cut from The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)

What would you find scarier, thinking about how there may be life on other planets or about how we might be completely alone in the universe? The discourse on aliens has been a popular subject throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, and it’s even grown more popular with the recent discoveries of NASA. Everyone has their personal opinion on this matter and I just can’t find a reason why someone would cross out the possibility.

As of February 23, 2017, there hasn’t been a discovery on life outside our planet. However, just yesterday NASA announced that 7 new planets have been found in a solar system not relatively far from ours, and that three of them appeared to have the ideal conditions for life. And that’s just in one solar system, in an investigation that cost NASA months, even years of research! The universe is so immense that, even if there was life, we most likely wouldn’t be able to find it. Following this argument, I think saying life doesn’t exist in other planets is a bit selfish. When most people think about aliens, they refer to big, green, scary creatures with circular-spaced spaceships. I think of aliens as organisms living outside the Earth, whether they follow this imaginative description or simply are microscopic bacteria that live underwater.

Moral matters are also to be taken into consideration in this subject. What would happen if we, after all, found aliens? The word ‘alien’ comes from the Latin adjective ‘alius’, which means ‘other’. The human race has always shown mistrust towards individuals that aren’t alike. Take into account, for example, the Nazi Holocaust. This human massacre was entirely based on hate. If humans can be so monstrous with one another, how cruel could they be with other creatures?

In conclusion, life in other planets is entirely possible based on the fact that the human mind can’t prove it otherwise, and that the universe is so huge that choosing not to believe in it would not be a wise decision.

Elena A.

What is it like to be ‘crazy’?

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Inmates at Pilgrim State Hospital, Brentwood (NY), 1938

I’m sure you’ve heard about it, someone has been murdered by a mental disordered person, or a traumatic experience for a young boy made him commit suicide… A big mystery for doctors is the way they have to treat those people, what they think and what makes them do such horrible things. What do they really feel? Can we help them? Is their destiny already written?

The first we think about when they ask us about a mental illness is, “those people are crazy” or “they just hear voices”, nothing outgoing, just a passive reaction. But no one really knows what’s happening in their “originally” innocent minds. Maybe they are pushed to do things they don’t want to, or their imagination takes control of them… We don’t even have a small idea of what they really feel, and with no information we can’t help them.

Doctors treat them as a patient with a number, so usually they aren’t treated as they really need. It’s a mystery now we can help them and the way we can get them out of that terrifying state they are in. It’s an unknown world that only people get in, and normally never get out.

In conclusion, we should start more investigations about this problem, not only to help those people. We should treat them with more respect and try to get to the bottom of this case.

Carmen K.