True-Crime Genre Is Out of Control



The murder rate is way down over the last 20 years or so, and most people who do get killed are men. You wouldn’t know from the voluminous true-crime podcast genre. Show after show, often hosted by women, offer grisly recaps of cases with female victims. All of which prompts Emma Berquist to declare in a piece at Gawker: “It’s time to admit that true crime has rotted our brains.” The problem, she writes, is that the barrage of coverage is “making women paranoid.” Berquist makes her case from a unique perspective: She herself was stabbed multiple times by a stranger while walking her dog and nearly died. (She has written about this elsewhere.) “But anecdotes aren’t data, and the fact remains that statistically, what happened to me is incredibly rare.”

She shudders to think her own case might have become podcast fodder had she not survived. “I think I would rather get stabbed again than have TikTok users descend like vultures on my social media, zooming in on pictures of my messy bedroom to analyze the tedious minutia of my deeply average life.” Becoming hypervigilant to the point of paranoia is a typical PTSD symptom for victims like herself, but it’s an unhealthy way to live. True-crime podcasts are making even non-victims feel the same. Berquist ends the piece by noting that another woman found her after the attack, talked to the operator on the 911 call, and stayed with her until help arrived. “The one fact I can cling to when fear threatens to override my empathy is that there are more people like her than people like the man who hurt me.” The full piece is worth reading here. (Read more podcasts stories.)

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