True crime and isolation

I’m still processing some of the main things from my trip to the US earlier this year. I feel that something has fundamentally changed in American culture, but I haven’t fully fleshed it out.

I’ve talked about it with a number of people lately, both with stronger and weaker ties to America, and everyone outsides of the US agrees that something is different.

It comes down to middle class white people being afraid to leave their houses. Compared to my trip to the US in early 2020, public spaces are dead. Small businesses are gone. It’s either big box stores or online shopping.

There really aren’t that many places to routinely interact with people, and it feels like most interactions are filled with apprehension.

This is likely more of a symptom than a cause, but a friend mentioned the insane popularity of the true crime genre. If you’re constantly listening to podcasts about murder, rape, and great heists, it starts to color how you view the world. Add to that the popularity of all of the Law & Order and CIS type shows. And thus the average suburbanite is never leaving the house — work from home, delivery apps, online shopping — while growing increasing paranoid in a media environment obsessed with making random and incredibly rare crime seem like an everyday occurrence.

And to not take this too seriously, True Crime: Poisoning The Minds Of White Women Everywhere.

But to take this seriously: something in the environment of the US has brought anxiety, paranoia, hypochondria to the fore and squashed voices of reason.

On the one hand, why should I care? I happily live in Holland and spend, at most, a couple weeks a year visiting relatives in America. But the dominance of US media around the world means that this powerful pessimism is bound to spread.