Crime Documentaries:… flaming torches and pitchforks!
I had a recent comment left on the site from Emma. She’d heard about my case from a crime ‘documentary’ – which brought her here. Firstly, thanks for the positive comment, Emma. It is genuinely much appreciated.
Sometimes, when someone leaves a comment they raise an issue which requires more than a paragraph in response. In fact, it took 7 re-writes to get close to what I wanted to say about crime documentaries in around my self-inmposed 50 words. Unfortunately, when I do that, it always across like I’m irritated with the person who left the comment for brimging up the issue – I wasn’t, Emma; owever, I’ve got much more to say…
Firstly, two points: my opinions should not be seen as defending any of the subjects of these shows – I’m not and I don’t; and, I avoid these shows like the (current)plague; however, there have been times, whilst channel hopping, I’ve caught enough to form my opinions.
It’s important to differentiate between real documentary film making – which seems to be a rarity, nowadays – and the sensationalistic ‘real crime show’ masquerading as a documentary. It would be like calling the tabloid, ‘red-rags – ‘real’ newspapers. They can seem credible because they’re printed on news paper; and, they have well-known columnists espousing their opinions; but, in reality, all they do is pedal trash, lies, distortions, misinformation and hatred. Much like the ‘crime documentary:’ it’s on film; they have a well-known presenter or voice-over; and, ‘experts’ espousing their opinions.
In fact, my biggest irritation is with the now obligatoty ‘expert’ psychologists/criminologists who are trotted out to add some supposed credibility (pah!). All I see and hear are the same parroted, predictable and cliched prejorative adjectives: It’s like they’re reading from a template rather than doing some ‘proper analysis.’
Hey, ‘experts’, how about taking off the blinkers, putting aside your confirmation bias and spending some meaningful time with the people involved? Maybe, just maybe, you might improve 50% accuracy to something above a troop of chimps!
Two of their favourite words: narcissism and manipulative. Here’s a question: what would you call an ‘expert’ who has an abnormal admiration for themselves and their opinions, who seek out fame and recognition over relative obscurity? Mmm… a narcissist, perhaps? Another question: what would you then call that ‘expert’ narcissist who convinces their audience that they are able to accurately assess and predict individual human behaviour by cutting corners on a downmarket and grotty ‘real crime show’? Mmm… manipulative, perhaps?
DISCLAIMER: this one-dimensional assessment was conducted under strict confirmation bias protocols with limited information. Accuracy not guaranteed.
These shows exploit the grief and misery of those who have suffered acute loss; and, turn that pain into some sort of perverse entertainment – a Victorian side-show. They are insidious, damaging and do nothing to further the truth or understanding of the human condition.
I would appeal to the ethics of those involved but, oh boy, what an easy job – tell ’em what they want to hear and keep cashing the cheques, right?
… and breath!
Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 5th November 2020