588. True Crime as Social Change with Sarah Weinman


Sarah Wendell: Hello there and welcome to episode number 588 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell, and with me is another Sarah: today my guest is Sarah Weinman, who I always call the original Sarah W. We are going to talk about true crime, a genre that I absolutely cannot read. [Laughs] We are going to talk about true crime and how true crime can be a catalyst for social change; why people, especially white women, are obsessed with true crime; and we look at the genre as a whole, exploring what true crime can do better ethically and socially; plus we talk about Sarah’s latest book, Scoundrel, which has a very surprising, to me, literary angle for true crime.

Now obviously, if we are talking about true crime we are going to be talking about specific cases. We talk about it in a larger context sort of socially and ethically, but when we mention specific cases, when possible we also name the victims. We also talk frankly about the mental health costs of doing this kind of writing, so if that is not something that you can put in your brain, I completely understand, and I just wanted you to know at the very beginning so you can take care of yourself.

Hello and thank you to our Patreon community for keeping me going each week, for making sure that every episode has a transcript. A lot of people have joined the Patreon, and that is so great! Thank you!

Hello to Alex W., who joined recently, and I have a compliment for Kim:

Yesterday a few people you know were reminded by their social media of that absolutely perfect time they had with you, and every one of them hopes to experience that much fun with you again as soon as possible. You are people’s favorite Facebook memory is what I’m saying here.

If you would like a compliment of your very own or you would like to support this here program, please have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches.

And speaking of compliments, wow! I asked very humbly and repeatedly and – I’ll admit, I was a little whiny about it – that I had reviews on Apple, and then they all disappeared and I was super bummed about it, but whoa! Hello! I got reviews! Thank you so much! Holy cow; everybody left these lovely, lovely reviews, and I am going to share some of them because they made me so happy.

For example, user – I’m going to say that this is Grinder Mych [Mike] or maybe Grinder Mych [Mikh]? But either way:

>> I’m currently listening to the back catalog of episodes starting in 2012 and have just reached 2014. The show is tremendous fun, the host is personable, and I find it very informative, even though I’m not a romance reader!

Thank you so much! I also love this review from veronicasnape, which is a fabulous name:

>> I have been listening to this podcast since 2015. Sarah is a wonderful interview, and the conversations she has with the guests always provide thoughtful and entertaining insights.

If you have taken the time to review the show, oh my goodness, you have completely made my day. I, you can probably hear how red my face is. It’s a little weird for me to read compliments about myself into a microphone, but it means so much to me. Thank you so, so much.

I have to stop talking about myself now. I might explode from embarrassment. So yeah, let’s do, let’s do the show. On with the podcast.

I interrupt myself to bring you myself. Here are the specific timestamps at which we discuss specific cases and names:

At 13:45, 19:19, 24:24, and 32:43. So at thirteen, almost fourteen; almost half-past nineteen minutes; almost twenty-four and a half minutes; and almost thirty-three minutes; we talk about specific cases, things that happened. We talk about the death of young people, some children, and I just want you to know if that’s the part you need to skip, those are the timestamps you should be aware of.

Okay, now we’re actually going to start the podcast. I can’t actually identify the timestamps until all the pieces are in place. It’s a, it’s an editing thing. Thank you for your time and for your caring of yourself; that’s very important. On with the podcast.


Sarah Weinman: I am Sarah Weinman. I am the author of The Real Lolita and Scoundrel, which are nonfiction books about crime, and most recently I edited an anthology called Evidence of Things Seen: True Crime in an Era of Reckoning. You might also know me because I write the Crime and Mystery column for The New York Times Book Review.

Ms. Wendell: And you are the OG Sarah W on Twitter.

Ms. Weinman: Also – [Laughs]

Ms. Wendell: Yes. Whenever I used to see –

Ms. Weinman: Which is dying, but whatever.

Ms. Wendell: I know! And I’m so bummed about it! Like, that was the one I invested my time and my words in, and now it’s just being tanked by a –

Ms. Weinman: Sarah, I joined in like 2006, and I didn’t –

Ms. Wendell: Right?

Ms. Weinman: – I started posting for the Edgar Awards in 20-, April of 2007, and MWA actually got mad at me because they didn’t understand –

Ms. Wendell: Oh my gosh!

Ms. Weinman: – this whole concept of live-tweeting, because in 2007, who live-tweeted? Nobody.

Ms. Wendell: They got mad? [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: They got mad! They’re like, You’re, you’re, you’re posting information before it’s out there. I’m like, No, this was –

Ms. Wendell: You just said it to a room!

Ms. Weinman: Right? And now, of course, everyone live-tweets and no one blinks, but –

Ms. Wendell: Oh!

Ms. Weinman: – [laughs] – that’s how long I’ve been on Twitter!

Ms. Wendell: Wow! Congrats on your book, Evidence of Things Seen.

Ms. Weinman: Thank you.

Ms. Wendell: I think it’s very cool to edit an anthology. Will you please tell me everything about this?

Ms. Weinman: So this is not my first anthology rodeo. In fact –

Ms. Wendell: No. [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: – I’ve been publishing and editing anthologies for about a decade. The first one that I edited was called Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives

Ms. Wendell: Yep!

Ms. Weinman: – which was Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense, and they were short stories by women crime writers from about the early 1940s to the mid 1970s. And I’d wanted to work on that project all those years ago ‘cause I love crime fiction and always will – it’s my first and greatest literary love – and I just felt like we knew a lot about cozy writers and the golden age of detective, detective fiction writers –

Ms. Wendell: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Weinman: – and the more hardboiled noir school, but there were all these writers who just couldn’t be categorized in either sphere, and they were sort of building up a third way. So I got to read all sorts of short stories, and I requested permission to reprint them, and I kept hearing stories from editors I worked with then and then later were like, I hate permissions; it’s the worst thing in the world. I actually enjoy them –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah?

Ms. Weinman: – because to me it’s detective work. You’re trying to figure out –

Ms. Wendell: Totally, yes!

Ms. Weinman: – who has the rights to a story or a book or an essay or a feature, and then you negotiate, and it turned out that I learned how to negotiate pretty well working on that anthology. But also, more to the point, that was the first time that I thought of an anthology as an argument, that you don’t just put together a bunch of stories in a book and say, Hey, here’s an anthology, because that’s not going to sell.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: What is going to sell and what is going to stay in some kind of collective cultural consciousness is when an anthology has a purpose, when it has a point. So with Troubled Daughters all those years ago it was, Who are the women crime writers who are doing domestic suspense, which wasn’t quite hardboiled, wasn’t quite golden age detective fiction, but it was very much a reflection of society during particularly the American and British midcentury. I then went on and edited two volumes for the Library of America called Women Crime Writers of the ‘40s and ‘50s, so that felt like a natural extension of what I was doing before. And that was, in a way, a much easier lift because the Library of America people did all that permissions and backend stuff. I just had to arg- –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah, a lot less email there, right? [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: Oh, there were still plenty of emails, but I had to get in, in the room and talk about which books I loved and argue with the folks at LOA, and sometimes I won the arguments, sometimes I didn’t, and that was okay, but the collection – I mean, they do amazing jobs of just putting those books in keepsake volumes that you want on your shelves forever and ever, so it’s still a real thrill that I was able to edit that collection. So then –

Ms. Wendell: That’s very cool!

Ms. Weinman: So then fast forward: I’ve published my first nonfiction book, and I realize that I want to edit an anthology of nonfiction crime writing because a number of years ago there used to be a series called Best American Crime Reporting. So you, listeners may be familiar with Best American Short Stories or Best American Mystery Stories, now Best American Mystery and Suspense, Best American Essays, but there used to be Best American Crime Reporting, mostly, I think, a series edited by Thomas H. Cook.

Ms. Wendell: Wow!

Ms. Weinman: And those were out for a few years. Yeah, Otto Penzler was involved in that too, who was the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop and very much a figure in the mystery world. Also the owner of, of the bookstore.

So it lasted a few years and then it went away, and I thought, I missed it, but I also, again, wanted to do an anthology as argument of what type of true crime writing did we see in the aftermath of the first season of Serial, which came out in October of 2014 –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – which became such a cultural phenomenon and I think really introduced a lot of people who wouldn’t have thought of themselves as consumers of true crime to this genre. 

So that led to Unspeakable Acts, which came out in the summer of 2020, and of course launching any kind of book in 2020 is, was a very weird experience. All the events were virtual. But it did really well!

Ms. Wendell: Yay!

Ms. Weinman: ‘Cause people were int-, interested in it, and it went into like a fourth or fifth printing – I can’t keep track.

Ms. Wendell: Hell yeah!

Ms. Weinman: I still get – but after I finished the work on what became my next nonfiction book, Scoundrel, which came out last year – came out in February, did all the promotional stuff through about April, and then I finally had some headspace to do this anthology, which became Evidence of Things Seen.

So this is all a super-longwinded journey of how this came into being, which was that where Unspeakable Acts asks the question of What does true crime writing look like post Serial? This anthology asks the question How has true crime writing changed in the aftermath of a pandemic, social justice protests, and though that came as I was working on it, not when I sold the anthology, all of the resulting backlashes –

Ms. Wendell: Oh yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – to how we handle the pandemic, how racial justice was treated, the rollback of reproductive rights, the fact that we see, like, books being banned everywhere.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: It’s a very fraught time. I mean, it’s always a fraught time, but now it just feels extra more so because, frankly, I don’t think anyone is okay? And that’s even more true, but certainly in the last three years that’s come into play? And so what that means is taking a longer view and a broader view of what true crime can be and looking at it, instead of from individual cases or individual people but from much more systemic and holistic way?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: That was much more interesting to me, so I wanted to seek out stories and essays and features that best reflected this.

Ms. Wendell: You, you tweeted recently, “The longer I write and report about crime, the more sensitized I get,” which really grabbed my attention because another thing that’s happened since the pandemic is that amateur true crime investigations on social media have become profitable.

Ms. Weinman: Yes, they have! I know!

Ms. Wendell: It’s profitable for people on YouTube to be like, I’m going to solve this murder that’s thirty years old! And then they go start, like, knocking on people’s doors and invading people’s privacy who probably don’t want to talk about this horrible thing that happened to them?

And the thing that I read the most about in, in terms of, like, Wow, this is a really interesting – like, everyone wants to be Serial now. Everyone wants to be as big as Serial was and get a piece of that algorithm money. The pushback is deeply desensitized to the people who have died and who were harmed by whatever case you’re investigating. Whether it was last week or thirty years ago, you are unearthing harm, and some people just really don’t seem to care. Like, they seem completely indifferent to the outcome of their, of their actions. It’s really startling to me.

And the, and the, the feedback is always like, Oh, we’re so desensitized to crime! Which I find astonishing, ‘cause I can’t even read it! Like, I can’t read true crime; I can’t read about crime ‘cause at three in the morning my brain would be like, Listen! Let’s think about that for about two hours. How does that sound? Really, I’d rather do anything other than that, but that’s what my brain’s going to do. And you also said the longer that you’re engaged with true crime, the more sensitized you get.

Ms. Weinman: At least the crime writers who write nonfiction –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – the ones that I know and the ones that I talk to the most, we all feel this.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And I, I think that getting more sensitized is a natural byproduct of the work that we do, but it’s also how we do so well.

Ms. Wendell: Yes, that’s very true.

Ms. Weinman: And I think it’s because you have to bring a sense of empathy and moral culpability and a real responsibility that the longer I work on, the more I’m having to reinvent for myself. Like, when I first started doing journalism in the crime nonfiction space, I still remember, I think the first big story that I wrote, and looking back I, I remember unearthing it not long ago and just cringing ‘cause I was in my late twenties and I didn’t know what I was doing, and it was on – at the time he was still unidentified; it was the Boy in the Box case, and now we know, have since learned that he was a little boy named Augustus Zarelli in Philadelphia. So his remains were found in 1957, it was clearly murder, and it really captivated the city and just, to a large degree, the nation.

So I wanted to write about this case for the fiftieth anniversary, but I still, looking back, I just felt like I was stumbling all over myself, I was repeating just what had been written, but I also, even then, had a sense of, you have to treat people with real care, and coming, I was trying to come at this story, trying to understand what had happened and who might have been involved, and essentially that this isn’t a lurid spectacle, it’s a tragedy, and I think realizing how many crime stories are tragedies with full complexities is really important.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So with respect to the amateur sleuth thing, it’s interesting you bring that up, because I think that delineates the ongoing true crime moment dating to Serial, which I always say has lasted so much longer than I expected?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: When Unspeakable Acts came out in 2020 I thought it was going to be over, and then I’m doing this other, Evidence of Things Seen, and we’re still in it, and it’s like, what is going on? Which I think is a testament to just how durable and perennial true crime as a genre is –

Ms. Wendell: Yes.

Ms. Weinman: – that people are constantly just fascinated by spectacle; they rubberneck. I mean, it’s the classic case of you’re, you’re driving and you see a car accident and you want to look and see what happened.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: People want to peer at extreme behavior, but also step back from the abyss and think, Oh, that wouldn’t happen to me, or I wouldn’t, If I made different decisions I wouldn’t travel down this extreme road, but if I made different decisions yet more, that, I could be capable of murder. So there’s always this tension between staying on the right side of morality and then crossing over.

But I think what distinguishes the current moment from past moments is this sense of being active participants, that it isn’t just that you listened to Serial, it’s that you could then log onto Reddit or a, a message board or Disc-, a Discord server and not just discuss a case but feel invested in proving law enforcement wrong in unearthing material that a podcast or a documentary or a book didn’t.

We’re starting to see some of that, especially now that a killer has been apprehended, or a suspect has been apprehended in the Gilgo Beach case.

Ms. Wendell: Yes! I’ve been watching your, your tweets about this, because I remember that case being discussed ages ago.

Ms. Weinman: And because it’s been unsolved for so long and because the reasons for why it was unsolved I think date to just ineptitude and the corruption on the, on the part of law enforcement…

Ms. Wendell: Whaat?!

Ms. Weinman: – this – yeah, I mean –

Ms. Wendell: The devil you say!

Ms. Weinman: [Laughs] And, well, that’s also a truism now is that I, I think we know that so many cases stay unsolved or take forever to lead to a resolution because there was some kind of bungling or some kind of overwhelm on the part of law enforcement.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So this also leads to amateur sleuth types feeling that they can do better because they might not be wrong!

Ms. Wendell: No.

Ms. Weinman: That they might have resources and gumption that law enforcement just can’t have. Like, if you’re in a small town and you haven’t had a murder in fifteen years, you are automatically going to be over your head and probably should be calling in some kind of federal task force, but that leads to jurisdictional nightmares and territorial, and territorial type of behavior –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – which benefits no one. But the problem with amateur sleuths is that, just because you think that you know better doesn’t mean that you’re going to act in anyone’s interest except your own.

Ms. Wendell: Yes.

Ms. Weinman: And so door-stepping family members of victims, that’s something I have trouble with generally?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And I usually try to reach out to people either through social media or email, letters, and only if those efforts do not succeed do I cross my fingers and pick up the phone and cold-call, and where I used to automatically treat that as on the record and sometimes ask if I could record, now I am trying to trust my instincts and just being off the record and explaining who I am and what I do –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and why I’m approaching them and that they, if, you know, please google me, please look up my work, please check – I’m happy to answer whatever questions you have. It requires a lot more patience and care –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – than I think I realized in my late twenties, but every time I do a new project, I have to relearn this for myself, and every time I do a new project, I’m privy to a lot of darkness, and it’s really important to just sit with people and let them tell their stories, no matter how dark, no matter how just traumatic. Sometimes they genuinely want to; they feel that they need to unburden themselves in a way that they either had never done before or feel like there is some degree of catharsis. That has a real cost.

Ms. Wendell: Absolutely it does.

Ms. Weinman: And, you know, I have been talking a lot more about my mental health, especially lately with interviews for this anthology, because you do the kind of work that I do, and you can’t escape unscathed. You can’t dwell in the darkest abyss without the abyss looking back at you and trying to take, take you for itself.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So not being mindful of that is really dangerous, and pretending or not acknowledging that there is an extra sensitization aspect, that you might be perpetuating additional harm, that you might be re-traumatizing people.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that work. Like, I have spoken to sources and asked them uncomfortable questions, and they lashed out and got mad, and I just kind of had to sit there and go, Yeah, I hear what you’re saying; I get where you’re coming from. You haven’t kicked me out, so that’s good.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: Um –

Ms. Wendell: Ugh!

Ms. Weinman: I’m just going to keep sitting here and, and take all of your pain and absorb it, and I will deal with it later because I’m in no way, shape, or form going to deal with it now. I have to be sort of a conduit.

Ms. Wendell: Yes!

Ms. Weinman: But it means later, when I have the space and time to reflect –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – then I have to run through this, Did I make a mistake? Sometimes I, I will listen to the tape and check that my questions weren’t unduly harmful –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and thankfully, at least in, in the most recent examples, they have not been? Sometimes I run these things by trusted friends just to make sure that I’m not fucking it up.

Ms. Wendell: Mm-hmm!

Ms. Weinman: And these are the kind of reflexive things that I do, and I have to do, and I will continue to do, and I think that may all answer the question of How can this genre do better? Which is, Take more care, be more patient, and remember that your feelings are not the only feelings in the room.

Ms. Wendell: Yes. That’s very true, especially if you’re trying to be present as a conduit. And the cover copy echoes that; in the, in the cover copy for Evidence of Things Seen it says that, that true crime is a byproduct of America’s systemic inequalities and can be a catalyst for social change.

Now, I mean, we’ve already talked about all the criticisms that true trime, true crime can receive, especially the highlighting of mostly dead, young, attractive, white women, and you are, you are totally in a different area of that genre. Can you tell me more about how true crime is both a byproduct and a catalyst? ‘Cause this is really fascinating. I’m absolutely fascinated by this whole genre that I can’t read.


Ms. Wendell: My anxiety –

Ms. Weinman: It’s funny –

Ms. Wendell: – says Thank you for what you do; I cannot do it with you. [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: It’s totally fine! I mean, this is dark stuff, and that’s –

Ms. Wendell: I feel like such an asshole of an interviewer being like, Listen, I can’t read your books, but tell me…

Ms. Weinman: No! Don’t you know that people – but there’s enough crossover between romance and true crime.

Ms. Wendell: Oh, there really is.

Ms. Weinman: I mean, there was a book that came out last year called Love in the Time of Serial Killers?

Ms. Wendell: Mm-hmm!

Ms. Weinman: Which was trying to – I, I only read part of it, but I, I think the idea was –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – this woman who has a major true crime obsession also gets obsessed with this young man who may be, she’s, like, fearful could be a serial killer, and he turns out to be a romantic interest, which, um, okay, uh.

Ms. Wendell: I read a historical with a heroine who was obsessed with true crime.

Ms. Weinman: It is interesting to me – I know that we’re going off the tent, into a tangent from your question –

Ms. Wendell: That’s what podcasts…

Ms. Weinman: – but I’m –

Ms. Wendell: [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: – fascinated with the proliferation of protagonists in mystery novels, and to some degree romance, who have some kind of true crime obsession, who have a true crime podcast, and I, I don’t know what to make of it. I guess it’s just, again, capitalizing on the success of Serial, but it also feels like, Have you listened to a true crime podcast? Have you actually, are, like, what, do you know there are real people involved here and, and can remember this? So I think that gets at the, it can be a cause of harm –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and also that, you know, there is this splitting that I think has really come into play in the last few years where there’s a good strand, which is the deeply researched, rigorously reported investigative work, be it books, podcast, documentary, scripted series, and how does it lead to social change? I mean, because of season two of this podcast In the Dark, which investigated the case of a man who had been tried six times for a multiple murder that he did not commit, it went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which reversed the last conviction essentially because the choosing of judges was too racist? By this particular prosecutor who was, who really, really loved striking Black people from juries? So this man, Curtis Flowers, is now out because –

Ms. Wendell: Absolutely.

Ms. Weinman: – they decide-, they decided that he, he did not need to be tried a seventh time. So the fact that a podcast’s work could go all the way to the Supreme Court and be cited, that does lead to change.

And any kind of investigative work – I think there was another podcast that delved into the disappearance of a missing white woman named Kristin Smart in San Luis Obispo, and there had been a suspect the whole time, a man that she had known, and finally, because of this podcast, law enforcement was able to execute a search warrant on property, discovered remains, arrested the guy; I think he has been convicted now. Would that have happened without the podcast? Well, it hadn’t, and it had been something like twenty-six years!

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So that does lead –

Ms. Wendell: …your own backyard, yeah.

Ms. Weinman: Right. But I’m also just more interested in how the genre can discuss bigger issues like poverty, the unhoused, how crime works in tandem with other social issues.

Ms. Wendell: Yes.

Ms. Weinman: The fact that there are these larger issues, especially with, say, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls; why we are obsessed with guns; why we aspire to see prisoners rehabilitated, but we can’t actually do that in practice –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and why are prisons still such a ridiculous hell for everybody who cycles through there?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So if we don’t tackle these bigger-picture issues, we can’t really talk about crime in any meaningful way. And in a way, the missing white woman trope, people are attracted to that because it seems almost glamorous? It’s outsized; it’s something that could happen to them, but maybe not. They’re often – you know, they’re just storytelling elements that seem more “attractive,” but intimate partner violence on a larger scale, or sexual assault on a larger scale, it happens so often that we have such trouble wrapping our heads around the scale of it?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So as a result, we’ll just, Well, let’s not deal with that. But we can deal with this flashy case –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – instead. So there’s almost like a displacement that happens, and, and I think also gets into why women in particular are attracted to true crime as a genre, because there, society has instilled so much fear for women. You can’t walk home alone at night. You can be cat-called wherever you go. Society –

Ms. Wendell: Why were you at that party? Why did you drink?

Ms. Weinman: Right. Why did you drink that?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: Why, why are you wearing that…

Ms. Wendell: Don’t you know better?

Ms. Weinman: Yeah. And so sexualization in society is so pervasive –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and the patriarchy’s so stubborn that no wonder you can listen to a crime podcast or read a story or watch something and think, Either this could never happen to me, or Oh no, this could happen to me; I feel less alone in my fear. So the other strand of true crime that has sort of developed to my mind is more of a community-based one of people who listen to a podcast and then log onto a Facebook group or a message board and join up with other fans of this type of work and commiserate.

Ms. Wendell: It creates a lore, right? It’s creating a lore –

Ms. Weinman: Yeah!

Ms. Wendell: – around this one piece of media.

Ms. Weinman: Right, so it’s not just about listening to a piece of media; it’s creating a fandom around a piece of media, and sometimes an anti-fandom. A community, a sense of I might find like-minded friends. It’s, it’s like why did we join the internet in the first place? It’s because in real life we couldn’t find the people who shared our interests, and we felt lonely and, and estranged, and online we could find our people. And that’s what everyone is trying to do every single day, and it doesn’t matter what part of the political spectrum you are; you could be a Nazi and you’re still trying to find friends.

Ms. Wendell: The other thing I wanted to ask you about is in Scoundrel you talk about who gets to be presumed innocent and what justice looks like, and that’s another whole area of true crime. One of the things I find so interesting about the fandoms of true crime and people I talk to, there’s people who love the puzzle of it; there’s people who love the lore of it; the people who are sort of very engaged by the idea of, Okay, I bet, I bet I can figure this out. I bet I, I bet we can figure this out. Like, Reddit was going to solve who did the Boston Marathon bombing. You know, Reddit –

Ms. Weinman: Yeah, well, that – that worked out real well.

Ms. Wendell: That worked out –

Ms. Weinman: I think it led to a libel suit?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah, that was, that was a bit of a problem. But there’s this sort of attraction to I’m going to figure this out, and then if I, if I google, justice will be done. It’s a very low barrier to entry engagement with the puzzle.

And then there’s also a very judgmental aspect, because women especially, we are taught to judge ourselves against other women almost as a class as a safety measure. Oh, well, I didn’t wear a skirt that short. Oh, I didn’t go out past nine. Oh, I wouldn’t do that. That won’t happen to me because I wouldn’t do that. Then there’s also people, like you said, who look at that and go, Wow, that could have been me. Our horrible patriarchal injustice is ever-present and always a threat to me.

Ms. Weinman: I think it’s generally really dangerous to look at something and say that couldn’t happen to you, because you have no idea what can happen at any given point. It’s a similar thing –

Ms. Wendell: So true.

Ms. Weinman: – with grifting, which is, of course, another big strain of crime stories –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and, to my mind, one of the great American pastimes.

Ms. Wendell: Oh, so true! So true!

Ms. Weinman: It’s like, that and white supremacy: these are the, these, what, these are what underpin American society. But with grifting, people are always thinking they’re not going to fall for it.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: I’m always thinking I’m going to fall for it –

Ms. Wendell: Oh!

Ms. Weinman: – and I just, I just feel like I, I –

Ms. Wendell: Absolutely!

Ms. Weinman: – I don’t know what I’ve fallen for. I don’t know who is going to be cold-reading me at any given point and finding my weaknesses so that they can grift me. And it doesn’t mean that I have to be hypervigilant about it; it just means that I never want to presume that I’m above anybody –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – in terms of falling for some kind of scam or grift or, you know, bad relationship or, or whatnot that, you know, everybody – it’s, it can happen to anyone and everyone. It’s just a matter of which circumstances lead to this happening.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah. And the, the, the idea of that much chaos and lack of control can be very terrifying. Very, very scary.

Ms. Weinman: When in fact you, it’s better to just surrender to it.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: But I had to – you know, that’s something you can’t teach anybody.

Ms. Wendell: No. Absolutely not.

Ms. Weinman: If you would, if twenty-something me was on this podcast talking about it, I’d be like, I’m in control of everything!

Ms. Wendell: I know exactly what I’m doing! I’ve got this all planned out! It’s going to be fine!

Ms. Weinman: Oh my God. Yeah, my life is, like, just following all these beats! No, it followed none of them.

Ms. Wendell: No beats, none, zero. Mm-mm. Nope.

What led you into the case inside Scoundrel? Because that was more of a focus about a very specific case. It didn’t end up where I, where I think you thought it was going to be; is that right? Did I remember you saying like, Wow, this, this took a, this took a wild turn that I didn’t expect, or am I misremembering?

Ms. Weinman: [Laughs] I had finished the piece that became The Real Lolita in, it was published in November of 2014 –

Ms. Wendell: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Weinman: – and it was for a Canadian publication called Hazlitt. And so I had known about a similar story involving the writer Norman Mailer and how he befriended this prisoner named Jack Henry Abbott. Abbott would write him from prison about this other prisoner, Gary Gilmore, who was the subject of Mailer’s book The Executioner’s Song. That didn’t work out so well for Mailer because he, along with various literati buddies at The New York Review of Books and at Random House, helped advocate for Abbott. He was sprung from prison, he was paroled, he published a book of his writings, In the, In the Belly of the Beast, and on the very day that a rave New York Times review ran, he was being arrested for the murder of an actor at a bar after getting into a fight, and so Abbott spent the rest of his life in prison. He died there, and Mailer took a lot of flak for this story and how, how dare you advocate for this murderer when he’s just going to get out and kill again?

Ms. Wendell: Speaking of grifting, yeah!

Ms. Weinman: Right. So that was a story that I had known –

Ms. Wendell: Right.

Ms. Weinman: – and then in the process of just looking up cases on internet rabbit holes, I read about this other murderer named Edgar Smith and how William F. Buckley, Jr., advocated for his release, and I thought, Why don’t I know more about this story? So I pitched it as a, as the next feature I was going to write for Hazlitt.

They went for it, but I quickly realized that this was way too big for a magazine story. There were just too many elements between the murder of Victoria Zielinski, the fifteen-year-old that Smith killed; the advocating for his innocence; Buckley’s involvement; and the fact that certain sources, particularly women that Smith had been married to or involved with wouldn’t speak with me on the record as long as he was still alive, because in one instance involving a second ex-wife, he was essentially cyberstalking her from prison through –

Ms. Wendell: Oh, good Lord!

Ms. Weinman: – he had, he had somebody on the outside who was running essentially investigative searches, and she would get weird stuff in the mail and threatening letters, and she just was like, I can’t, I can’t deal with you –

Ms. Wendell: Oh wow.

Ms. Weinman: – and I can’t deal with this. And even, I was, also had a brief correspondence with him, and from that, and it’s in the book, but it became clear to me that he was not going to tell me anything meaningful, and I didn’t want, I just didn’t want to engage.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: He was, it, so I essentially had to wait it out. And then I was finishing the first draft of The Real Lolita, and periodically I would run searches at the California Department of Corrections, their database, just to make sure –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – was he still there?

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: Was he not? And then I got an error message – [laughs] – and I thought, Well, I’d better start making phone calls! And a very grumpy person at DOC did confirm that he had died. So I thought, Okay! I’m going to hold onto this information for a bit ‘cause I have to finish the actual book I’m under contract for –

Ms. Wendell: I mean, I guess. Fine. [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: But I did tell certain people, like the son of the prosecutor and this ex-wife that I mentioned and a few other people, and obviously they were glad for the news, but, you know – and, and the ex-wife did finally agree to at least speak with me off the record.

Ms. Wendell: Right.

Ms. Weinman: And then she eventually just stopped communicating, which I get.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: But I had a conversa- – when the obits finally landed that fall, I was waiting for edits, and I called my agent and said, So I’ve been, this is the project that I’ve been wanting to do, and how quickly do I need to prepare a proposal? He’s like, ASAP?

Ms. Wendell: [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: So I wrote a first draft of a proposal. Like, it was like downloading it from my brain?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And it took like twenty-four hours? And then it took several months to revise and go through notes, but it sold to my existing publisher of Ecco the following spring.

Ms. Wendell: Nice!

Ms. Weinman: So the, The Real Lolita comes out in September of 2018, I’m on tour for a while, and when things settle down around December of ’18, that’s when I get to work –

Ms. Wendell: Right.

Ms. Weinman: – on Scoundrel, and by that point, the reason I had known it was a book is because in the process of yet another internet rabbit hole, I discovered this archive that belonged to a book editor at Knopf named Sophie Wilkins who to me became the soul of the book. She was this fascinating émigré from Vienna. She’d been married multiple times. She was a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia, and she became an editor at Knopf in her forties.

Ms. Wendell: Right.

Ms. Weinman: And was really having trouble getting traction for a lot of the projects she wanted to work on. She was a very high-spirited – but that was the kind of figure she was, like, super fun to be around, but also just deeply, deeply too much.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And I could relate in a lot of ways. I mean, she was someone who sometimes sprinkled Yiddishisms in her letters. I thought, Oh yeah, I know, I know this woman.

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: She had written Buckley, who had written a piece for Esquire on this case, because he had come to believe, erroneously, that Edgar Smith was innocent, that he had not killed this fifteen-year-old girl Victoria Zielinski in Bergen County, New Jersey, in 1957; wrote a whole piece about it. Sophie Wilkins writes in and says, I want to donate to the defense fund and also, based on these letters that you quote, is Edgar writing a book? It takes a couple of years, but finally he’s like, I am writing a book. Buckley puts him in touch with Sophie, they start a correspondence, and that’s all I know when I first go into the archives. I’m just thinking, Oh, I’m sure I’ll just find regular correspondence between a book editor and her author.

Ms. Wendell: Right, yeah, of course.

Ms. Weinman: Instead, I find what, what essentially was smut. And I’m sitting –

Ms. Wendell: Oh, dear God!

Ms. Weinman: – in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of Columbia University sometime in February of 2016 as I’m trying not to scream because of what I’m reading and going, This is not what I expected between a book editor and her author!

Ms. Wendell: Please do not let anyone be reading over my shoulder at this moment. [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: And also, Has anyone even read this correspondence? And the answer was no. [Laughs] It was donated…

Ms. Wendell: Oh man!

Ms. Weinman: Why she kept these letters is mystifying.

Ms. Wendell: That’s a, that’s a, that’s a mystery right there. Whoo!

Ms. Weinman: I think she either forgot or maybe had some secret hopes that somebody would go spelunking and figure out how to write about her?

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: And there’s so much still to write about Sophie because she translated this epic book, The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil; she had an extended correspondence with Saul Bellow; she was friends with other translators; and because of this whole Edgar Smith stuff, she actually became really good friends with William F. Buckley. So it wasn’t just that I was looking at correspondence between her and, and the murderer; I was looking at correspondence between him and Buckley and Buckley and Sophie Wilkins. And there was this, such a rich trove of primary sources that that became the backbone for Scoundrel.

Ms. Wendell: Wow. Because this is a really persuasive person convincing individual after individual, and obviously the techniques that you’re going to use with Buckley Junior are not the same as you’re going to use with this editor. I mean –

Ms. Weinman: No, which is why the letters between Edgar and Bill are very different than the ones between Edgar and Sophie, because there is an element of persuasion, but he, he does it differently. Like with Buckley, he was trying to almost mimic how Buckley wrote?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And with Sophie he was trying to be more romantic/sexual, and he could tell that she was lonely, so he would kind of play into that. It, it, you know, speaking of cold reading, I think there’s an element of that too, that you get somebody’s letter and you think, Well, how can I read this?

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And I guess I, I think that’s why I was so turned off by him, because I could tell, Oh, this is the technique you’re trying with me. Like, in the first letter he wrote back to me, I think because my address that I used was a P. O. Box in Brooklyn – I wasn’t going to give him my actual address –

Ms. Wendell: I can’t…

Ms. Weinman: – it’s like, Greetings, greetings from Brooklyn! I, I remember pa-, passing through there while I was on the run. I was like, Why are you telling me this? [Laughs] Like, this is not normal correspondence, and –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah, that’s a big Hey, I noticed the return address; I know where you are.

Ms. Weinman: But, and also, Hey, I want attention, and clearly nobody’s written to me in a really long time.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: I need to fish for information about this individual, and I’m going to flatter you, and I’m go- – and I was like, Nah. And that was by, by the end I could just tell I wasn’t going to get anything meaningful out of him. He certainly wasn’t going to tell me – I wasn’t going to ask him if he had killed Vickie –

Ms. Wendell: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Weinman: – the teenage girl, because everybody else had asked him, and he’d given conflicting answers.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: He would eventually come really close to killing another woman, and during that trial he admitted to it, and he gave a version of it, and the one that I landed on, which he talked about in a parole hearing, was when they asked him why he killed Vickie he said, I was angry, and I said, You know, usually the simplest explanation is the one that makes the most sense.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And certainly if you’re angry because a girl that you know has resisted your advances and, and, you know, is trying desperately to get out of your car, and you’re already rage-stricken because you lost your job and you hate your life and you have a three-month-old that you have to support, and I, I learned this after the book was published, that when his first wife came home after giving birth to their daughter, he had totally wrecked their trailer because he was so irresponsible, and she and her friend had to clean it up.

Ms. Wendell: [Gasps] Oh my gosh!

Ms. Weinman: I dropped my jaw so – [laughs] – fast hearing this from a friend of his first wife, who got in touch with me after Scoundrel came out, and I just like, You, what?!

Ms. Wendell: What?!

Ms. Weinman: But that is the level of irresponsibility that he had, and just a lack of care towards anybody.

Ms. Wendell: Wow

Ms. Weinman: And that tells you about character.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah. And that is a person who can say, Well, I just got angry –

Ms. Weinman: Yeah.

Ms. Wendell: – and their understanding of what anger is is not necessarily – [laughs] – anyone else’s understanding of what anger is.

Ms. Weinman: And also that his understanding of how to be remorseful is just never going to hit the mark, ‘cause they can’t. They, they genuinely –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – cannot understand how to atone or make amends or just stop causing, you know, and to really reckon with what they have done.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And so there was a long piece in The New York Review of Books which was very strange because it essentially dinged me for not having enough sympathy for the murderer? Yeah, I know. It was written by a man –

Ms. Wendell: What?!

Ms. Weinman: – who is currently incarcerated for murder, and it was a very fascinating piece if you, if you ever want to check it –

Ms. Wendell: Wait, it was written by somebody who’s currently incarcerated for murder, and they were miffed that you didn’t have enough sympathy for the guy who gets angry and wrecks people.

Ms. Weinman: Yes. ‘Cause they did not understand that –

Ms. Wendell: Ugh.

Ms. Weinman: – what I was writing about in Scoundrel was misogyny and how it creates perpetual harm.

Ms. Wendell: Sarah, what a shanda. I tell you what. [Laughs]

Ms. Weinman: It was a fascinating piece. But I –

Ms. Wendell: Did you just read that and be like, Are you fucking kidding me? Are you for real right now?

Ms. Weinman: Well, but I guess the way I addressed my are-you-fucking-kidding-me impulses was to write a letter to The New York Review, which is the only place that you can legitimately write a letter in response to a review –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – because they expect to have that kind of conversation in –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – in the Letters page.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And what happened was, there was a whole back page devoted to letters because of that review! Which was intense!

Ms. Wendell: And it wasn’t just you who was like –

Ms. Weinman: It wasn’t just me!

Ms. Wendell: – Now, hold the fuck on a minute here. Wow.

Ms. Weinman: I mean, I wrote in just saying, Well, I get where you’re coming from. We all – I certainly aspire to believe in prison abolition, and I think that at the very least, significant reforms have to be made to the criminal legal system. There, that’s absolutely true, but saying that, that pinning that on Edgar Smith, who is such an anomaly, and I wrote about him as an anomalous figure –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – and as a cautionary tale, not really for criminal justice reform but for assigning belief to a particular, seemingly educated, white ma-, white guy –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – as opposed to all the other people of varying demographics and socioeconomic status who never get that benefit of the doubt –

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: – and also all of the women and those who, identifying as female who are harmed, assaulted, and in some instances murdered, they don’t get that benefit of the doubt either.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So since my project was misogyny, to have that point missed was very interesting. Our culture glamorizes serial killers. This wasn’t, it didn’t have to be this way. For many years if people committed murders in a serial fashion, there was fascination, there was reporting, but there wasn’t this sense of let’s elevate them to some kind of superhero type of archetype –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – which I think really began in the ‘80s, and particularly – I don’t want to put all the blame on coverage of Ted Bundy, but certainly a lot of it?

Ms. Wendell: Bundy and then Dahmer! Like, the –

Ms. Weinman: Right.

Ms. Wendell: – the Netflix series was like, And here’s this hot guy Jeffrey; check him out! Like, what the hell –

Ms. Weinman: Yeah, I don’t know.

Ms. Wendell: – is happening?!

Ms. Weinman: Ryan Murphy’s a weird, weird person, and I’m not, I, I don’t understand his decision-making, and I think that the criticisms, especially levied by family members of Dahmer’s victims are a hundred percent warranted, if not more.

Ms. Wendell: Oh, absolutely.

Ms. Weinman: But I think one of the reasons we do glamorize serial killers is, one of the reasons that serial killers, killers have become archetypes, that we look at them as, I don’t know, like golems or boogiemen or –

Ms. Wendell: Golem is a really good way to describe it, yeah.

Ms. Weinman: Yeah!

Ms. Wendell: This supernatural, otherworldly thing that we cannot –

Ms. Weinman: That –

Ms. Wendell: – possibly control.

Ms. Weinman: Right, but that society created.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: You can’t have a golem without a person who created them. They don’t, they do not exist without the society that they function in –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – so that when you lose control of them – and what is Frankenstein but a golem story? –

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: – so of course we think of serial killers as monsters. But what that does is it lets them off the hook.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah, it flattens them.

Ms. Weinman: They’re humans.

Ms. Wendell: It’s very interesting to me the way that we sort of turn serial killers into these sort of superhero figures? Whereas their victims become disposable. They become –

Ms. Weinman: They become non-playing characters, really.

Ms. Wendell: They become, yes! They’re, exactly, they’re like NPCs in a videogame, and they dissolve as soon as they’re dead. Even the victims of Jack the Ripper, we’re like, Oh, they were all sex workers. Well, no?

Ms. Weinman: Right. Well, no, they weren’t, because if you read Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five

Ms. Wendell: Exactly!

Ms. Weinman: – which is a brilliant –

Ms. Wendell: Brilliant rewriting, yes.

Ms. Weinman: – reverse engineering –

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: – and she’s – people still get mad at her for this book, which I find unbelievable, but it was so revelatory that she did the work to try to figure out who these women were –

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: – and I think maybe two of them were sex workers, and the other ones were just economically disadvantaged women –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: – who were just trying, struggling and trying to feed their kids and –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah!

Ms. Weinman: – live their lives. I think the discovery of a suspect in the Gilgo Beach case also underscores another big tension in true crime, which is that we love unsolved cases because as long as they remain unsolved there’s this mythic element. There’s this sense of –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: – they are larger than life; they are beyond humanity. And then when they’re caught, they’re just –

Ms. Wendell: Oh, it’s just some random creepy guy!

Ms. Weinman: – some, some schlubby guy you can watch on YouTube.

Ms. Wendell: What?!

Ms. Weinman: That guy? Or when Dennis Rader, who was responsible for the BTK killings in Wichita, when he was caught, and I remember this very vividly, because I thought, Oh, this guy’s never going to get caught, and then he did, because why? He got mad that his cases were being covered, and he wasn’t getting attention, so he started sending letters and notes to media, to newspapers and TV stations?

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: And one of the CDs that he sent had metadata that led him back to the church where he worked?

Ms. Wendell: Yep.

Ms. Weinman: It’s like, you know, we, we want to think that these people, usually men, are such masterminds, and really they’re, they’re just idiots who haven’t been caught by other idiots –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah! They’re just –

Ms. Weinman: – I’m sorry to say.

Ms. Wendell: There’s, it’s always hubris, always hubris that trips you up. So much hubris.

I always ask this question: what books do you want to tell people about? ‘Cause I am, at heart, a book podcast.

Ms. Weinman: The only reason this is always nettlesome for me to answer is that I write for The New York Times Book Review, and so I can never really talk about what books –

Ms. Wendell: Yeah, that is a, that is a…

Ms. Weinman: – potentially reviewing for them.

Ms. Wendell: …challenge, yep!

Ms. Weinman: So with crime and mystery fiction, what I can do is talk about books that I definitely can’t review ‘cause they’re by my friends.

Ms. Wendell: Fabulous!

Ms. Weinman: [Laughs] As I’m, as I’m speaking with you, we are a few days out from the publication of Prom Mom by Laura Lippman, whom I’ve known forever, and she’s one of the best writers in the genre that we have. I read it in one sitting. I swear to God, the last twist, like – I don’t normally do this; I, I know all the twists – I did not see it coming. I was like, Holy shit, what is, what is this? It’s a novel that deals with COVID in a way that is organic and natural and doesn’t feel forced? Which is also kind of amazing?

Megan Abbott’s Beware the Woman also is a one-sitting read. It’s very claustrophobic; it’s set in the Upper Peninsula. It is about a pregnant, newly married woman who goes to visit her father-in-law in the UP, and, well, it’s got a Rosemary’s Baby meets Rebecca vibe?

Ms. Wendell: Oooh!

Ms. Weinman: So you know that things are not going to end well at all.

Probably the best nonfiction book in crime that I read this year was Genealogy of a Murder by Lisa Belkin? And so that book is about a case where a guy is let out of prison, and he ends up killing a police officer in 1960, and when he was in prison he had worked with this psychologist who was Belkin’s stepdad.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: So that’s how she knew the story, but what she decided to do was go back to the beginning, so it’s essentially a genealogical excavation of the families of three men.

Ms. Wendell: Oh!

Ms. Weinman: So the first thing I thought of reading it is, This is how you do investigative genetic genealogy in a literary way.

Ms. Wendell: Yeah.

Ms. Weinman: And I was, when my review ran, I was waiting and waiting for other people to make the same comparison, and no one did!

Ms. Wendell: Oh!

Ms. Weinman: So I was shocked.

Ms. Wendell: Well, thank you so much for doing this and taking the time to talk to me?

Ms. Weinman: This was such a blast and a pleasure and so great.

Ms. Wendell: Please tell people where to find you if you wish to be found.

Ms. Weinman: You can find me at my website at sarahweinman.com. You can find me @sarahweinman on Instagram, @sarahw on the dying carcass that is Twitter –

Ms. Wendell: Well –

Ms. Weinman: – and, and at sarahweinman on Bluesky, which is still invite-only.


Ms. Wendell: And that brings us to the end of this week’s episode. Thank you again to Sarah Weinman for hanging out with me – [laughs] – and for understanding that I can’t read any of her books! I feel like such a schmuck, but it’s true! If you would like to find Sarah, I will have links to all of the places where she is, and I will, of course, link to all of the books that she has written, which I’m sure are fabulous, but did I mention I can’t read them? ‘Cause I can’t read them. [Laughs again]

I always end with a bad joke, and this week is no exception. This joke comes from Bull in our Discord, and it’s terrible, and I love it so much.

Where does a pirate get their hooks?

Give up? Where does a pirate get their hooks?

At the second hand store.

[Laughs] So bad, I love it! Thank you, Bull! Come hang out with us in the Discord; the jokes are just dreadful, and I love them all.

On behalf of everyone here, wish you the very best of reading. Have a great weekend; we will see you back here next week. 

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at frolic.media/podcasts.


[end of awesome music]

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