my fantasy true crime podcast
what? don’t you fantasise about the hyper-specific true crime podcast you’d host?
Bailey Sarian is a true crime and makeup YouTuber who kind of invented that genre by simply telling the story of a crime (like a podcast) while putting on makeup in front of a camera. For a busy brain like mine, it’s relaxing to let my eyes zone out watching her apply makeup while my brain is engaged in the story of that episode.
But she constantly receives comments about how it’s insensitive to the victims and their families to have their stories told by someone applying makeup. Most commenters mention a few podcasts they feel are appropriately ‘respectful’ of the subject (usually hosted by men).
My first question: how do they know what those podcasters are doing while they’re speaking into a microphone?
My second question: when they consume whatever true crime content they deem acceptable, do they listen while sitting straight up in a chair with their heads bowed like they’re in church? Or do they maybe listen to horrific things happening to victims and their families while they, oh I don’t know, do their makeup?
I ask these flippant questions not because I don’t care about victims of crime and the ripple effect that has on family, friends, and communities. I ask because the complaint itself is flippant and disrespectful in how it turns victims into objects with which to police another woman’s behaviour.
If they want to focus on the victims and the impact of violent crime, let’s do that. We have a lot of information about a lot of violent criminals and how they were or were not caught.
The problem with current true crime content is not (in most cases) how the information is delivered. The problem is that the information demands action.
How many podcasts have you listened to where the murderer was released from a sexual assault prison sentence 10 years early? Where the murderer was tried for increasingly violent crimes but just never seemed to get convicted? Where the murderer was tried for attempted murder but the fact that his victim survived meant he spent 20 days in prison and then successfully killed someone else less than 20 days after being released?
How many times have you heard about the judge who told Ted Bundy, with full knowledge of his crimes, “Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity, I think, as I’ve experienced in this courtroom. You’re a bright young man.”
For clarity: the tragedy and total waste of humanity was NOT the many women he killed, but the fact that he had killed them and thus had to go to prison robbing the world of his brightness.
Now, let’s combine this shit-slide-show of the criminal justice system with the knowledge that black U.S. Americans are incarcerated at 5x the rate of white people, and that black people are given harsher sentences for the same crimes. It should go without saying that it is also horrific that police rarely face any consequences for killing black people, but I want to keep the focus on the court system here.
In my fantasy true crime podcasteach episode would take a judge, like Ted Bundy’s best bud, and examine their other cases. Did he sentence a black man for having a bit of weed in his pocket with the same poetry and empathy as he gave Ted Bundy? I doubt it.
Episode 2, we can look at that judge who sentenced rapist Brock Turner to 6 months in prison. How many 6-month sentences did he give to non-white guys? I would guess none. I want to know this judge’s harshest sentence, what crime was it for, and who was the perpetrator?
Find a true crime podcast, scroll to an episode, and I bet you’ll find a judge who displayed astoundingly fucked up judgement. I’m just curious how that might have affected their work performance in which they exercised incredible power over people’s lives.
If you want to talk about disrespecting murder victims and their families, I’m not sure what could be more disrespectful than a judge lamenting that your murderer has to go to prison :’(
on topic this week, my favourite true crime podcasts:
Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad
(i really, really tried to get into My Favourite Murder but it felt like i was trying to start watching a hospital drama in its 15th season).
while I will never be able to do this myself I still claim ownership over the idea and if you want to produce this podcast I will need a cut of the profits k thx