Serial/ Jinx Fever

I’m late. I jumped on board for “Serial,” at the end, listening to all 12 podcasts within a couple of weeks. In case you’re out of the loop, I’m talking about National Public Radio’s breakout show “Serial,” which since last October, has held a million and a half listeners enthralled each week as Sarah Koenig weaves her deft, intelligent recounting of the true crime murder case against then 17 year old, Adnan Syed, who continues to claim his innocence after having been convicted of murdering his ex girlfriend 16 years ago, then burying her body in a shallow grave with the help of a not so close friend, Though many support Adnan’s story, many do not. Yet most who knew him agree that the Adnan Syed they knew would not have committed this crime.

Adnan’s appeal will soon be heard in a Maryland court. Who knows what will happen. The mystifying trajectory of the show itself, with its interviews, and events and stories, plus Koenig’s sympathetic narration, act as a mirror for personal and group belief systems, prejudices, sympathies, interests and experience. Particularly appealing is Koenig’s personal uncertainty about what’s up or down, true or false, and how easy it is to fall under the story-tellers spell, whoever that may be at the moment.

Stranger than fiction

Like attracts like. With “Serial” done, we now have HBO’s true crime/horror story: “The Jinx,” the story of Robert Durst who was born into great wealth and might easily be called the Prince of Darkness with evil laying down a bloody path before him wherever he goes. Quirky, tetchy, bizarrely, sneakily, intelligent, and peculiarly seductive, he abides in his secret world of nervous ticks and mumblings, Durst’s saga concluded yesterday with the last of six episodes, wherein he was accused of offing three people including his beautiful young wife, a close college friend, and a Texas neighbor,

Durst remained free since his wife Kathie’s 1982 disappeaance. The law failed to make anything stick, even the admitted dismemberment of his Texas neighbor, This past Saturday he was arrested in New Orleans. He’ll soon be extradited to Los Angeles where he’ll be tried for the first degree murder of his old friend and confidant, Susan Berman,15 years ago. The timing coincides almost perfectly with the last episode of the series.

Only The Shadow knows

Was it the handwriting evidence the series brought to light that provoked this arrest? Does the fact that when he was ten, his father called him to the window to wave goodbye to his mother just before she jumped off the roof of their Westchester home, and that he was passed over in favor of younger brother, Douglas to head the Durst empire, give him license to kill?  Who knows.

What I do know is that the Durst family is very rich and very powerful. That F. Scott was right.:the rich are different from you and me. That the Dursts closed ranks after Kathie’s disappearance and refused to cooperate. That instead they referred the poilice to their lawyer and never called Kathie’s family when she went missing. That the Dursts raised the bridge, And that Kathie became a “Gone Girl,” — murdered frst by her estranged husband, then  by his family who used a dispassionate silence to  put the extra nail in her coffin  And that That was That!

What fascinates me beyond the unknown details and secret intentions embedded in  the Syed and Durst sagas is how we all hear the same stories and draw different conclusions, conclusions we become attached to, even enamored of, when perhaps we’re best off in most situations, especially in ones like these, to draw none at all.

People are far more complex than we can imagine, including ourselves. “Who knows what evil dwells in the hearts of men. “Only The Shadow Knows.” And possibly not even him.