Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment…
For years now, there has been a discussion about how appropriate the true crime binge approach that streamers like Netflix and HBO have helped perpetuate really is. Every month of so, there seems to be some new documentary or miniseries about a murder or crime spree. On the one hand, yes these are real life stories with public interest but on the other hand, the grisly details can quickly become salacious.
Interestingly, the new Netflix series from producer Ryan Murphy, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story both plays into that salacious aspect of true crime reenactment and managed to make several larger points on the dangers of living in a culture that revels in the stories of violent criminals like Dahmer.
The series has drawn criticism from the families of some of Dahmer’s victims, as well as some scathing reviews for its approach to depicting Dahmer’s crimes, and those concerns are fair and legitimate. It’s also true that the series goes out of its way to shine a light on some of the larger takeaways of Dahmer’s crimes, such as the impact of bad policing and the dangers of institutional racism and homophobia.
Turning real tragedy into big bucks entertainment certainly comes with a level of ick, and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a series that seems to be quite alright with that. In fact, it seems like that might even be the point of the show in some respect. As a result, each individual audience member’s mileage may vary.
I’m Evan Rook.
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