Since the release of Serial in 2014, there are few podcasts genres that have grown in popularity as much as true crime has. I like a bunch of shows, and as someone who doesn´t live in the US - i feel like i learned a little bit about the justice system and the culture surrounding it. But as a listener of true crime podcasts, i have always felt conflicted about them.
I guess that in general it is a question about ethics: To what degree do i, as a listener, play a part in a voyeuristic culture that seeks to extract the “entertaining” parts of stories about loss, pain and injustices that happened to real people? How is listening to a detailed description of a crime, any different from stopping at the site of a car accident, just to satisfy ones curiosity? And at what point does storytelling get invasive?
Because of the genres popularity, there is a million shows out there with different approaches to the questions i just asked. There are investigative shows like Serial or In The Dark, the “let´s discuss cases at a round table”-shows like The Generation Why Podcast or My Favorite Murder and podcasts that really double down on production and creating a narrative like Sword & Scale.
While I think that it´s great that the genre gets some acknowledgement, there are also certain aspects of a number of shows that i find troubling. For example I stopped listening to Sword & Scale after a couple episodes, because the host kept on making connections between mental health issues and crime rate. Two white guys seemingly unable to use the word “racism” in an episode about the death of Freddie Gray (The Generation Why Podcast), is also a good example of the missteps some shows take.
So - what are your takes on the genre? What do you like listening to and why? Do you sometimes feel like the entertaining factor of those shows, dont outweigh the bad feeling one can get? I would really love to read your thoughts!