America's Fascination with Serial Killers

Decent Essays

As Boorstin identified, we choose who is famous by our attention, what they do in fact is not what determines their fate. Fame is no longer about the deed behind it, but simply the spectacle – Hitler made the cover of Time magazine seven times, Stalin following with 12 covers of his own. The line between people we love to love and people we love to hate is becoming thinner and blurred, so we thrust not only heroes into the public view but also ‘villains’. This confusion between fame and celebrity owes a lot to the change in newspapers over time; where once they delivered unbiased and detailed factual accounts on events that happened, in the new age of mass media they began to compete with the magazines. Tabloidisation meant that rather than objective articles based on fact we were instead victim to the ‘murder hype’, with sensation-fuelled stories about the latest fashionable murder trial, the papers giving the killers their own stage name and persona to match. The idea of giving serial killers their own moniker is something that has contributed tremendously to the glamorisation of killers, because it is much like a stage name that you would give an actor or a singer. The names can either relate to the act or style of killings – i.e Jack The Ripper, which conjures a mental image of the killer at work – or could be to do with their location as in ‘The Boston Strangler’. This trend seems to originate from the United States, for it is across their newspapers and news shows that

Get Access