A while back, I wrote a piece on this blog entitled “The Demon-Haunted World” with the banner photo being of Nancy Grace. The principal psychological issue with True Crime is that it is rage porn. It stereotypes a class of people, criminals, as serial killers and pedophiles and leads to increased support for capital punishment and the cruel treatment of people who have, mostly, led very painful lives. The real victims of that genre are not the affluent white women who are addicted to it and are represented disproporitonately in its anectodes. Rather, the victims are the human adults reduced to grovelling chattel at the mercy of a prison commisary for the smallest shreds of human dignity.
It isn’t just the cruelty of the criminal justice system that is objectionable but the sado-paternalism of the relationship between the administrators and subjects of the system. I grew up in Special Ed and I know what treating adults as children is like and the police and prison staff do that except like their naughty children and it’s BDSM role-play but in the context of fraterniy hazing since there are no orgasms and the entire point is putting the inferiors in their place. True Crime makes the criminal genre seem hot and edgy when it is a roach-infested motel filled with broken poor people. Prison and the police records are not filled with hot guys who did evil, they’re filled with semiliterate hobos who get beaten, strip searched, and have no privacy run by narcissists who envision themselves as the superheroes in a campy melodrama.
Hatred and cruelty feel like hot fire that’s edgy and cool but from afar it looks sad, pathetic, petty, and immature. Foaming at the mouth, metaphorically or literally, makes anyone who does it look stupid. If they do manage revenge, humiliating someone or ruining them in some way reduces their opponent to a pitiful state and to anyone who isn’t into sadomasochism, including myself, a miserable and grovelling wretch isn’t only morally wrong but also a really weird and nausiating state to see another adult in.
I used True Crime as an example but the rage at anyone is the same. An offensive social media post responded to with mass vitriol, a political figure being cancelled, and so much more. Being punitive, in the legal system or otherwise, may feel like boldly telling someone off. That it lacks softness and is more real. The only thing it is more of than mercy is more classless. One argument against forgiveness often made is that it rewards something to someone who doesn’t deserve it but, on a purely aesthetic level, it preserves the dignity of the person who forgives. Letting go of grudges doesn’t cost money but it makes your head cooler and therefore you look cooler. As in slightly more badass.
The bad guys are stereotyped as more stylish than the good guys. However, just like the devil, Jesus can also wear prada. So can angels and they do but for the angels, if they’re into high fashion, it is art. It’s not vanity or a status symbol. What makes the bad guys feel hotter is they tend to seek and therefore have wealth and status more. The fashion industry is a staple of pop culture not because people appreciate the skill and creaitivity put into designing apparrel but because it is filled with hot, rich, people which is what they want to be. In fact, good guys often have better style. Hatred and revenge shoot dopamine into brains which feels cathartic and radical and therefore more stylish. It is meth, on the inside, it feels that way but ultimately is lame, sad, and with teeth falling out.