Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Podcatching: Serial - The Alibi

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We recently bought Clue and have been playing with Shayera. It's a good game for learning some reasoning skills. I never really played this growing up, but it's funny how one thing leads to another sometimes. Who doesn't love a good mystery? There's a reason crime procedurals have always been popular, from Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie to Law and Order, True Detective and beyond. In a sense every story is ultimately a mystery, but there's just something about the search for motive, making sense of senseless acts or maybe it's the idea that with enough intelligence justice can prevail. I don't know. All I know right now is that I can't wait to hear the next episode of Serial, the podcast from the producers of This American Life, that follows one story about a murder, over 12 hour long episodes.  I heard the first one this morning, and since the first season has already been completed, I know I have to zip through this before it gets spoiled.

classic clue
Murder is fun!
The story is a simple one at heart. A high school girl was murdered in Baltimore (The Wire! Homicide!) in 1999 and her ex boyfriend was accused and convicted, even though he maintains his innocence to this day. What stood out to me listening to this is that in just the first hour, I changed my mind about who I did and didn't believe at least 4 times before giving up entirely on predicting who did what. What's amazing about the way the interviews and narration are conducted by Sarah Koenig, is that I'm now fully on board with these characters who happen to be real people. I've already forgotten I was just listening to a podcast and not watching a great TV show that I would forget wasn't real because that would also be so absorbing. I'm only one episode - one hour - in!  This is that good.

I'm sure this journey will reveal some big truths about human nature. It already has really. For example, the first episode deals a lot with memory and what a person will or won't remember about an average day weeks, months or even years after the fact. Memory is a weird thing because I think we all think that if we remember something, then that's how it happened. But we definitely fill in the blanks and frame events from whatever new perspective time has given us, if we remember it accurately at all. So what about those times when we have no memory of something? Why would not remembering be suspicious? I'm being vague on purpose. I don't want to spoil anything, just go listen to this thing.  And if you have heard it, shhh. Wait til I finish.

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