The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The fascination with true crime

For education or entertainment?

The passing of O.J. Simpson this April reignited the public interest in his life and the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown. This public interest following his death has put a spotlight back on these types of crimes which usually create some in-depth conversations of the cases. The type of shows and YouTube videos made about such horrible cases usually fall under the category of “True Crime.”

Modern society has found a permanent place of interest within modern media and shows depicting true crime coverage such as popular series “Dahmer,” “The Act,” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.” More recently, there has also been a popular trend where content creators revisit and analyze these cases in YouTube videos. Usually these videos consist of someone describing the timeline of the cases whilst doing something to keep the viewer visually engaged, and the most popular YouTube creators who provide this type of content are Buzzfeed Unsolved and Bailey Sarian.

Though this new media coverage has created some interesting discussions about the possibilities of what led to these crimes being committed and the small details of the cases, why interest is so high remains to be a problem. With the increasing number of docuseries and monetized YouTube videos that are being continuously pumped out, new content about these horrible cases continues to be released with absolutely no consciousness of those who were personally impacted by these cases.

Content made under the true crime umbrella seems to always be breaching the line between what is trying to educate and what is simply just entertainment of the latest trend. Unfortunately, as time goes on, it seems that true crime was not made for the sake of educating about horrible situations one could find themselves in, but more about making light of situations and glorifying the actions of the perpetrators.

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There are many different factors that play into the reason why true crime is such a watched topic. However, the main contender to this outcome seems to be the very human obsession of macabre. Macabre is an artificial and atmospheric form of escape from the mundanity of normal life through deviant behavior and the temptation of addiction to something — not limited to what one can physically consume. There is a kind of “rush” that individuals experience from the media coverage of these gruesome and ghastly stories, and they are coerced into the entertainment aspect of the affair because they never have to imagine that something like that will ever happen to them personally.

There is a disconnection from reality that comes with these limited series and the latest videos filled with laughter and colorful visuals. True crime gives just enough information to whoever consumes them, without showing the reality that these “characters” are people. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers; they are somebody’s child. 

Media also plays into how true crime is treated by treating serious cases as the latest sensation. Exploiting the crime that was done to victims and immortalizing the perpetrators through stories focused exclusively on their lives only, and not truly focusing on those who fall prey to them is a major problem. 

Though it may seem all negative, there are other keen interests that draw audiences to the community, especially by the predominant consumers of it, women. Women tend to take away lessons from many such cases, such as what to do in case something were to occur or learning about and empathizing with victims whose lives were cut too short. 

Overall, true crime is a category that will not be going away anytime soon. It is meant to educate audiences on the dangers of possible situations, and to inform the audience of unfortunate cases that usually occur to those who are just like the audience — who never expect something horrific to happen to them. Unfortunately due to the monetization of the genre by media outlets, streaming services, and YouTube channels, it is a genre that is overdone by its mass production of a story.

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Jennifer Fernandez
Jennifer Fernandez, Staff Writer

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