Author Archives: Ian Duffee

Sarah Koenig’s Make-Believe Inexperience

Sarah Koenig has a beautiful voice. So much so that I suspect she may have voiced over her original dialogue afterwards in a studio, adding minute inflections and vocal theatrics. Her thoughts are transparent, and intentionally so. Throughout the podcast she assumes the role of the listener. She shares our skepticism and empathy for Adnon, and when we feel indignant hearing about the banal mechanics of our justice system, Koenig is right there with us raising her voice in protest. This makes her incredibly likable, her feelings so openly displayed for her interviewee and audience makes Koenig seem almost childlike. Like she says, she isn’t even a crime reporter, this case just fell in her lap.

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Selling Runaways to the Saturday Evening Post

When Joan Didion says “writers are always selling somebody out,” she is correct to an extent. Journalists and writers have an agenda of their own that may or may not run parallel to the agenda of the subjects they write about. That said, I don’t see myself volunteering to be interviewed by Joan Didion in the near future. She is particularly incisive and has a keen ability to sneak into the more desperate sides of everyone she writes about. But more than that, all of her essays are deeply critical. Didion approaches her writing as an opportunity to show the insanity of the world she lives in, and has no interest in showing the sunnier sides of her subjects. Didion even leans a little too hard into this. Parts of her essays read as dated today. When she paints the absurdity of the culture she lives in, you can also spot where she is shaped by it.

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