Friday, December 16, 2022

Maybe it's not everyone's lane

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Silly string ~ diary ~ window screen ~ financial difficulties ~ kitchen knife

It was submitted by:


I opened my prompt for this post seeing words that are primed for discussing the Darlie routier case. These are pretty much all elements found when going over the tragic death of her kids and her ultimate imprisonment from the silly string moment used against her in court to the cut window screen and the financial trouble the couple had experienced and problems found in her diary, and she has been long suspected of using her own kitchen knife to do the crime, but I don't think anything good comes from me discussing what I think about her guilt or innocence this publicly based on the things we know or think we know because of the true crime industry. I do have an opinion, but I'm not sure that opinion belongs in the public sphere.

I guess after that first paragraph it goes without saying that I do enjoy true crime as a genre myself. I knew as soon as I saw the prompt what these words were referencing because of the sheer vastness of the coverage of this case. It's hard to miss. As much as I enjoy the listening and reading and watching when it comes to true crime, I think we've gotten a little bit out of hand with it all. I mean Peacock gave Casey Anthony of all people a paid platform to lie some more, so we must be doing something wrong here if anyone still gives a second of a care about her opinions or excuses. Even if you removed the fact that she very likely murdered her own child, she's still a godawful human being who absolutely lives for the notoriety and attention, and we just keep giving her that.

There are elements of true crime that are beneficial. I've listened to multiple podcasts now that helped solve some cases. Kristin Smart's family finally got a conviction for her murder nearly 30 years after the fact because of a podcast. Tara Griner's case has a solution. Some men in Georgia were recently released after a podcast uncovered proof that police had manufactured evidence in the case in order to get a conviction. The Unsolved Mysteries podcast (and show) are still bringing conclusions to cases. Without the attention these podcasts have brought, I'm not sure anything would have changed. People would still be without answers. But then there's that Jeffrey Dahmer Netflix series which violated victims' families all over again and unnecessarily dramatized an already terrifyingly dramatic real life situation. I've listened to a podcast, well all of 15 minutes of it since this made me shut it off and never look back, that said Jon Benet Ramsey had a "knowing" smile. Or podcasts like Sword and Scale that repeatedly victim blame or True Crime Garage that repeatedly celebrates police brutality... The point is that it's a fine line to walk between good true crime and exploitive true crime, and the general public has yet to be as discerning as they should when it comes to what we watch or read or listen to but especially with what we think we unwaveringly know to be true.

Two different people can believe with the same degree of certainty very different truths about any given case to the point where we kind of forget very real people are involved. The perfect example of this is the Betsy and Russ Faria case and Pam from the multiple variations of The Thing About Pam that have happened on 48 hours and podcasts and 60 minutes and forensic files or whatever and despite all the evidence proving Pam killed Betsy for insurance money along with very likely her own mother for the same reason and another completely innocent and unrelated person to try to reframe Russ since the first time only took for 10 years, there are a lot of people that still think he's guilty for one. But people have gotten so caught up in the craziness of Pam that they forget Russ lost a decade of his life behind bars, that he lost his wife and never got to grieve, that he has to live forever under the weight of survivor's guilt and with the weight of prison trauma and dealing with the fact that so many people believe he's a murderer. We forget the system got it wrong... And gets it wrong way more than we should he comfortable with. We forget that Pam isn't some character in a dramedy being absolutely deranged for our entertainment. She killed real people and she got away with it for a long time.

I don't think that means every aspect of the genre is off limits by any means. But I guess letting the guy from AHS handle cases might have been a bad choice. And going around staking your reputation on just what you know from taking part in both the good and bad coverage of a case isn't maybe a great choice either. It isn't for me anyway, and so I'll just end by saying that a broken industry built off information gleaned from a broken system is ripe for bad opinions. Tread carefully.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

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