The Nightmare of the West Memphis Three

800 Words4 Pages
In his article, “The Nightmare of the West Memphis Three”, Rich explores how the people of Memphis drew horrific conclusions about people based on the lifestyle they chose to practice. The article highlights the trials and tribulations faced by the accused three young teenagers. Rich does this by citing the popular documentary series “Paradise Lost” which is an in depth analysis into the lives of the accused, the victims’ families and members of the community. This paper outlines how the belief system of that time superseded the inconclusive evidence, which ultimately led to an unfair trial. By “othering” and “marginalizing” those three teens, the society and police created a scenario that aligned with their belief system at the time.…show more content…
Another crucial point mentioned in the article is the power of perception and how media can often times influence perception. “One of the most powerful lessons of these films is how easily our opinions about a crime can be influenced by the manner in which information is presented to us” (Rich, 2013). An example used is that of Hobbs. Rich mentions that throughout the first film Hobbs appeared “dazed” and “ruined” over the death of his son. When they show the same footage in the third film, he looks like a man who is trying to hide something. With this new context the audience, watching began to see him in a different way. This is another way “truth” works as Professor LaFleur explained in the Fall semester. In this case, the West Memphis Three supporters sought to exonerate the accuse and accuse instead who they felt had committed the murders. The case with the backing of many celebrities and supporters gained national notoriety. Their agenda, which was blaming Hobbs, intensified in the documentary. With accusations, people who watched would begin to see Hobbs in a different light. Anybody can support a claim with the right “evidence”. This is something depicted in contemporary society and an example is the image of the “Hijab” and what it means for Muslim women. The North American media as exemplified in lecture and tutorial often depicts wearing Hijab as a kind of prison of Muslim women and as a image of the strife and sexism that

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