Podcast stuff
The JonBenet Ramsey Episode of ‘My Favorite Murder’ Captures the True Crime Podcast at its Dishy, Casual Best
By Nathan Rabin

Pod-Canon is an ongoing tribute to the greatest individual comedy-related podcast episodes of all time.
As readers of this column may have discovered, I am something of a podcast fan. I would even go so far as as to describe myself as an enthusiast. For the last six or seven years, podcasts have been a huge part of my life and career, but my wife, bless her heart, has never quite caught the bug. It might have something to do with her not having an iPod and being averse to change and new technology, but other than Serial the world of podcasting just did not hold much appeal for her.
Until recently, that is. Serial led to an interest in another true-crime podcast, Breakdown, which covers the notorious “hot car death” where a seriously lacking father and human being left his son to die an awful death in a hot car while he was out sexting with a bunch of different women who were not his wife. It was a solid true crime podcast of additional interest because the case is happening not far from where we live, and, as podcasts tend to do, it left her with a hunger for more.
One thing led to another and Serial led to Breakdown, which led to My Favorite Murder, a podcast that combines my wife’s love of true crime with my love of podcasts where funny people bullshit and kibitz about their various obsessions. My wife was not alone in falling in love with My Favorite Murder and its hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.
The podcast quickly became a pop culture sensation, and I have watched with amusement as my wife threw herself into the rituals of becoming a podcasting superfan. She joined a Facebook group devoted to the podcast, but because she is a neophyte to this world, she is a lurker rather than an active participant. She binge-listened to the back catalog and developed the sense that podcast obsessives have that their favorite podcasters are their friends and kindred spirits even if they never meet.
And because my wife has fallen in love with My Favorite Murder and isn’t much of a fan of headphones I have been listening casually to it and enjoying it as well, although everything did not click completely with me until a recent episode on the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. That is for a very good reason. I have discovered that people are invariably more interested in reading, or listening, or watching, something related to something they know about and the wife’s true crime fixation has led to us watching two of the strange preponderance of mini-series about this decades-old case.
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Our culture’s obsession with Ramsey is maddening on multiple levels. In one of the mini-series’ more egregious moments, JonBenet Ramsey’s death is described as our nation’s biggest unsolved mystery, which is a strange assertion to make when 2Pac’s death is still unsolved. I would argue that despite not being a cute little blonde girl, 2Pac was a more important cultural figure than Ramsey.
But watching these mini-series and listening to the My Favorite Murder, I quickly came to understand why we were, and remain, so fascinated by the death of a tiny little beauty pageant queen. As the hosts hilariously yet casually establish, the JonBenet Ramsey case has everything. It’s about money, class, sex and the disconcerting way we over-sexualize children. It’s violent, it’s mysterious and twenty years on, we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of it even as we’re overflowing with clues, suspects, and red herrings, including a deeply disturbed man who confessed to the killing, despite clearly having nothing to do with it.
But some of the enduring fascination can also be traced to the many incongruous and screamingly colorful elements of the case. My Favorite Murder discusses, for example, the hyperbolic luridness of a ransom note seemingly cobbled together from old action movie scripts like Speed and Dirty Harry. It’s a truly bizarre piece of work that seems to belong in a Cannon 1980s action movie vehicle for Charles Bronson more than an actual murder case. The episode takes its name from a particularly bizarre phrase from the ransom letter, where the non-existent kidnappers professed to be a “small foreign faction,” which is how no one thinks or refers to themselves, criminals or not, but is the kind of phrase you might find in Missing In Action III.
Our favorite podcasters aren’t the friends we have so much as the friends we wish we had. But they’re also fascinating in that they give us a glimpse into the friendships of others and the lived-in chemistry of the hosts is a huge component of My Favorite Murder’s success. These are funny, smart, and engaged women with a real genius for tossing off instantly irresistible turns of phrase, like when the Ramseys are described as “Private Plane rich,” and Patsy Ramsey is described as having “pill eyes.” The hosts capture whole weird worlds in evocative turns of phrase, like when an oddly iconic Southern California shopping mall is described as a small town for people obsessed with shopping and the child pageant circuit is tartly summed up as a “weird commercial for pedophiles.”
In sharp contrast to Breakdown, which adopts something of a rugged, semi-hardboiled tone, or even Serial, which takes itself very seriously, My Favorite Murder is wonderfully casual and conversational, the work of two murder junkies who share a fascination with the uglier, bleaker and more violent side of life that doesn’t get in the way of being funny and relatable and real. Hell, they don’t even begin to discuss the Ramsey murder until after ten minutes of kibitzing about the surreal nature of podcast/internet fame. The subject may be murder, but the tone is totes casual.
I’ve been trying to turn my wife onto podcasts as a medium for over a half decade. Hell, I write an entire column specifically designed to turn people onto great podcasts. You’re reading it now, yet I’m not sure I have ever succeeded in getting my wife addicted to any of the myriad podcasts I love. Yet, my enthusiastic neophyte of a wife has already turned me on to a podcast, and I am glad she did.
Nathan Rabin is the author of five books, including Weird Al: The Book (with Al Yankovic) and the recently released Ebook “Short Read”, vu[p]splitsider-d3d3LnZ1bHR1cmUuY29tLzIwMTYvMTAvdGhlLWpvbmJlbmV0LXJhbXNleS1lcGlzb2RlLW9mLW15LWZhdm9yaXRlLW11cmRlci1jYXB0dXJlcy10aGUtdHJ1ZS1jcmltZS1wb2RjYXN0LWF0LWl0cy1kaXNoeS1jYXN1YWwtYmVzdC5odG1s[i]gGbF0w[t]w&tag=vulture-20]7 Days In Ohio: Trump, The Gathering of The Juggalos And The Summer Everything Went Insane.

Going to listen to this today and make comments here and on their site. Should be interesting
15 minutes in, - just starting to mention JonBenet. The person talking watched the CBS show on TV - - the one that was later the reason for a huge lawsuit.

These two women laugh and giggle a lot -

20 minutes in this may be interesting - - they seem to be interested in looking at this from both sides.

I need to leave in a few minutes but hope others are watching and will comment on other forums.
The theory is that BDI, but the women don't think he MEANT to kill her. They talked about being in physical fights with their own siblings. They spoke about how kids can just get so angry. Described JBR as the princess who got all of Patsy's attention, said Burke had Patsy all to himself before and then had to share. They are talking about the "feces" issue - - that is bad, evidence of real problems. They believe he would "shit on her stuff" - - but that simply is not true. This is kind of disgusting. Also talking about the "grapefruit sized shit" in her bed, talking about how big and painful that would have been. These people really don't know what happened.

They reached out to some facebook and got feedback - wonder who. Now they think Burke did this and forgot? They have undigested pineapple in JBR's stomach. They looked at Burke in those clips from the interview and think he was being coy, weird. So now it is clear - this is a BDI program.

I wonder if the pair ever found out he sued for that program and is now rich because of it. Ditto John Ramsey, JBR's father. They think he was the mastermind of all of this coverup.

They think Patsy spent the next decade covering for John who was covering for Burke.

They think Patsy wrote the FOUR PAGE ransom note.

They think the CNN interview was weird, Patsy was drugged but following John's lead.

Said the 911 operator was was under a gag order - but no one tried to interview her. She had the creeps - Patsy was not answering the questions.

They say Patsy answered the questions and so was not hysterical enough. And she hung up on the operator so that is evidence of guilt.

They say one thing I agree with - listening to the enhanced 911 tape, people will hear what they expect/want to hear.

They don't think Burke was in his room because they think any parent would want the kid with them, they don't think Burke could sleep through the morning with Patsy being hysterical. Then they say they could hear Burke ask "What did happen?"

They are not at ALL aware of the evidence.

They do ask why the parents wouldn't take her body out - - parents wouldn't take their child out to dump a body. m One asked about the sexual assault with a paintbrush and they decided that didn't happen THAT was "weird gossip".

Question, who would have known their son killed the girl with the flashlight and leave that on the counter.

They have the ransom note as the THIRD note. They didn't do enough research.

They did not like the part of the CBS show where the kid hit the melon. They are laughing at the cop being tazed. They thought that was silly. They thought the crew waiting in the parking lot for the reporters to come back was stupid - I agree.

They have several theories on what happened in that unreported interview. But they have the Whites as being used to find the body - - just wrong.

2nd time they have brought up John's two planes. Criticized the clutter in the house and pointed out the cruddy marks on JBR's bedroom door - - someone needs to tell them that was fingerprint powder!

They didn't like the Ramsey house, weird and tacky and the spiral staircase totally wrong. They are really so judgmental - - - the Ramseys think they were above everyone because they were rich.

Had Patsy as 21 when they got married - - him 17 years older. Actually, she was 1 month shy of her 24th birthday. He was 12 years older.
Part 2 - So when OJ was acquitted, Patsy apparently didn't agree with the verdict and told people she thought he had gotten away with murder. Hell, I can't think of anyone who didn't feel that way! Anyway, they think that speaks to Patsy's character somehow - - she knew rich people can get away with murder. They say it is amazing how the two cases "were affected by each other". I don't get it but they apparently do. All I see is a general rule that people really do like to see the rich and famous fall from grace.

Starting at 53:20 - - a short quote I laughed at - - "It's people, armchair detectives, Webbsleuths, who are going to solve the big stuff."

On Steve Thomas, they think he was HOT, super hot, his sense of justice "delicious". They "want him to win". (barf)

They think the DA is under John Ramsey's thumb. Maybe the chief of police is being blackmailed. Seriously, they are looking at some strange stuff.

OK, need to go for a bit - - back later.
Horrible fact that most murdered children were killed by their parents. They agree John Ramsey is creepy. (They never met him. I know a lot of people who met him with a completely open mind, or even a BORG POV, and left believing they had totally misjudged him.)

They have John in the Navy working for some "small foreign faction" (no joke) and say SBTC has something to do with the Navy.

They are followers of weBsleuths - - - oh my. Do they realize that forum is owned by someone who won't allow any intruder suspect to be named?

Patsy had Munchausen-by-proxy - otherwise JBR would not have been seeing the doctor so much. These people are just all over the place - - as long as it points to the Ramseys being wrong. Sad.

They wondered why the last hour didn't air. Said maybe they feared a lawsuit. All I have to say is, "Too late." CBS got sued by Burke for $750,000,000.00 and by John for $150,000,000.00. We don't know how much the check was made out for, but the Ramseys don't have to worry about the electric bill anymore.

They are talking about JMK - they call him a red herring and say they don't want to hear any more about him. I have to say I agree with them there. His confession was full of misinformation, no one can put him in Boulder, not even in Colorado! And he was cleared by the DNA.

They seem to attempting to present the IDI theory, but they are doing a really bad job of it. Just saying there's always a debate, some disagree. They never touched the intruder EVIDENCE.

In the end, they don't know the case and their opinion is VERY influenced by the CBS program. They end saying it COULD be an intruder, but they clearly don't think it was.
A fact - when Patsy was told to write the ransom note, she was told what to write, whether to write the number with digits or letters. Just saying.
LOL - - they call Judith Phillips the "whine friend" - - or was it "wine friend". I guess either works.

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