Saturday, December 20, 2014

Serial: A Reality Too Real

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, or you’re just not the kind of person that listens to podcasts, you probably have no idea what Serial is. Essentially, it was a weekly podcast that unraveled a murder mystery case over 12 weeks about a teenage girl who was missing one day, dead the next, and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan the prime suspect being convicted. So far, Adnan has been incarcerated for 15 years despite the endless amounts of holes in the case and the fact that he still says to this day that he’s innocent. There is a million and one logistics that go into it, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. It’s also the #1 podcast on iTunes and has been since it’s introduction, and has been dubbed the ‘most popular podcast of all time.' You can locate the podcast here if you’re interested in getting the full deets (which I highly recommend, BUT I wouldn’t read any further if you plan on listening because hello - SPOILER alerts). 

Serial stuck with me, after listening to each week’s podcast. It was one of those things that I thought about while driving with no music on and not even realizing it. It was one of those things I thought about aimlessly as I did a task at work not noticing I had finished the task whilst thinking about Serial. Maybe it’s because the unknown frustrates me. I’ve never been a beat around the bush person - tell me how it is straight up and I’ll try my best to take it. With Serial however, Sarah Koenig gave me bits and pieces each week that drove me INSANE because with each turn, my judgement on whether Adnan was guilty or innocent was swayed. Did he do it? Is Jay a liar? Did Jay do it? No it was Don. No Don’s irrelevant. The Neesha call though. ASIA and the alibi! My. logic. was. everywhere. 

There’s an unwritten rule between an author and a reader, or in this case a podcaster (that’s what we’ll call it) and a listener: that you give me closure. You don’t leave me hanging on the last page or what were the first 300 pages for? With the Serial finale, I felt like this contract was broken when Koenig left me with a simple “there isn’t an ending, we can’t say for sure, we’ve done all the research possible - this case is not finished.” I’m conflicted because quite honestly, this reality is too real for me. 

In my happy ending, Koenig would have announced this last piece of evidence that proved Adnan couldn’t have killed Hae, or a witness that gave more and proved he did. SOMETHING to close this story up. However, that’s not real life. In this real life, this American Life (get my pun? ha… ha..), innocent people go to jail for things they didn’t do and on the same page people are also psycho and can lie for years on end. How is this okay? How can there NOT be endings? What is justice and what is our justice system if this is the best we can do? 

Sarah Larson from the New Yorker put it into words better than I can: 
"Episode twelve conclusively proved that what we’ve been listening to is not a murder mystery: it’s a deep exploration of the concept of reasonable doubt, and therefore an exposé, if unwittingly so, of the terrible flaws in our justice system.

An expose on the terrible flaws of our justice system. Just let that sink in. Because it’s undeniable after listening to 12 podcasts of this case, 12 podcasts filled with research that took over a year, 12 podcasts of endless witnesses and experts to just find out where two kids where for a couple of hours one random day in 1999. This is important. 

Serial brought to light the ‘realities of criminal prosecution.” This is what is going on in our justice system. Ours. We need to be aware and start standing up. A 17 year old boy was sent to prison for a case that had no real evidence. Black men are dying with no reasonable cause. Justice, what is this you speak of? This is a wake up call to 2015. 


To read the full brilliant article from Sarah Larson, go here.

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