ProPublica, Watching the Detectives

There’s a journalism project that I think is important on many levels. [Note: this is part of the post category I’m dubbing “Making an Appeal” (get it?!), which is to highlight the projects (sites, podcasts, other goings on) I come across that are relevant to this blog’s topic (true/crime/etc.) and seem worth checking out.] ProPublica … Continue reading ProPublica, Watching the Detectives

Netflix’s “The Ripper” and Joan Smith’s ‘Gender-Critical’ Influence

When I set out to write about the new "Yorkshire Ripper" documentary series, I didn't expect to end up writing about TERFs. And yet, here we are. Netflix released The Ripper at the end of 2020, a limited true crime docu-series about the so-called “Yorkshire Ripper” who terrorized the West Yorkshire community, committing at least … Continue reading Netflix’s “The Ripper” and Joan Smith’s ‘Gender-Critical’ Influence

Will the Current True Crime Moment Shift Cultural Anxiety from the Victim to the Accused?

I've been wondering about one possible outcome of the cultural turn, over the last decade, towards true crime representations of problematic prosecution procedures. I'm thinking of podcasts like Serial or documentary film projects like The Staircase or Making a Murderer or the short Netflix film, Long Shot.  Each of these productions draw audience attention away from … Continue reading Will the Current True Crime Moment Shift Cultural Anxiety from the Victim to the Accused?

Gifting Tables, White Feminism, and the Gender of Criminality in ‘Murder on Middle Beach’

HBO’s Murder on Middle Beach, a four-part mini docu-series about the unsolved murder of Barbara Beach Hamburg in Madison, Connecticut in 2010, has been critically acclaimed by many media and true crime watchers since it aired at the end of 2020. What has caught viewers’ and critics’ attention is the relationship of the filmmaker to … Continue reading Gifting Tables, White Feminism, and the Gender of Criminality in ‘Murder on Middle Beach’

When, and Why, are Forensic Tools Culturally Biased?

According to various measures, including FBI statistics, Black men are the most likely to be homicide victims in the United States. That includes unsolved cases, for which new genetic technology such as genealogy databases are increasingly playing a role. You’ve probably heard of some recent high profile breakthroughs using this genetic genealogy to solve the … Continue reading When, and Why, are Forensic Tools Culturally Biased?

Sexuality, Suspicion, and The Staircase

I want to talk about The Staircase. And I want to talk about one specific yet crucial aspect of the documentary and the case: sexuality and suspicion. In December of 2001, Michael Peterson made a 911 call from his home in Forest Hills, North Carolina. His wife was not conscious but breathing, he told the … Continue reading Sexuality, Suspicion, and The Staircase

Nose-splitting, Buttocks-stabbing, Pregnant-belly-kicking, and Other “Ritual” Gendered Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Pieter Speierenburg is a historian of criminology who describes his own work as being “at the crossroads of history, sociology, anthropology and criminology.” He has an affiliation with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and has had visiting professorships at Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley. In 2008, he published a history of personal violence in Europe, … Continue reading Nose-splitting, Buttocks-stabbing, Pregnant-belly-kicking, and Other “Ritual” Gendered Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

The Valhalla Murders, My Favorite Murder Podcast, and Paranoid/Reparative Engagement with True Crime and Crime Fiction

I recently watched the Icelandic police procedural series, The Valhalla Murders (2019, 2020). It is loosely based on a national scandal from the 1940s about a state institution for troubled boys who, after being put in state care, suffered abuse at the hands of staff, according to this MEAWW article. The Nordic Noir series re-imagines … Continue reading The Valhalla Murders, My Favorite Murder Podcast, and Paranoid/Reparative Engagement with True Crime and Crime Fiction