Serial is now officially the most popular podcast of all time. For most people, it’s an intriguing or entertaining story; for a few people–most of whom live in Baltimore, where the murder at the center of the series took place, it’s hitting all too close to home.
If you’re enjoying Serial, consider spending time with these stories that the put the podcast into context:
+The wonderful Jon Ronson interviews Adnan Syed’s family, who still live in West Baltimore. It’s a heartbreaking account of how the murder, the trial, and their aftermath have shattered the family. Adnan’s dad spends hours alone, praying; his older brother is completely estranged from the family; his younger brother is haunted by the idea that his family will never be whole again.
+Hae’s brother’s post on Reddit, in which he praises the podcast but also reminds its rabid fans that “TO ME IT’S REAL LIFE. To you listeners, it’s another murder mystery, crime drama, another episode of CSI.”
+This Guardian article, about how Redditors are finding out details (full names, social media profiles, etc.) of people mentioned in the podcast. “Serial is, after all, not a work of fiction. It is about real people. Real people who also, as the story unfolds, have Google, Facebook and Reddit accounts. And who are really in prison, or really in danger of ending up in trouble with law enforcement, or even just with their privacy violated, as a result of all this,” Michelle Dean writes.
None of this means I plan on quitting podcast, of course. But it’s a good idea to keep the human side of the story in mind when we indulge in our fandom.
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