Tag: true crime

Who Was the Original “Welfare Queen?”: Review of Josh Levin’s The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth

How do you tell a story about a real-life, embodied individual who inspired a stereotype, without reducing her life to fit into the same trope you are trying to upend? How do you uncover the exception that proved the rule without reifying the label you acknowledge is pernicious? I’m not sure, and Josh Levin sure… Read more →

“The Inflamed Egotism of Women:” Emma Simpson and the Limits of the Unwritten Law

Let me just admit it now—I’ve never listened to Serial.Or, rather, I never finished listening. Sure, I started it—after all, I did have an iPod, internet access, and a pretty NPR-happy social circle in fall of 2014—but I stopped after episode 1. Whatever it was that drew in historic millions of listeners, prompting critics to… Read more →

Murder and Motherhood in 1950s Ireland: The Trial of Abortionist Mamie Cadden

On the evening of April 17, 1956, thirty-three-year-old Helen O. visited nurse Mamie Cadden at 17 Hume Street, Dublin, for what she likely thought would be a routine, if illegal, abortion.1 Helen O.’s death after the attempted abortion provoked a national controversy that complicated dominant constructions of motherhood and domesticity in mid-twentieth-century Ireland. In the… Read more →

Care Gone Wrong: Bad Moms, Fake Disabilities, and Imagined Illnesses

At first, it seemed impossible that Gypsy Rose Blancharde had murdered her mother. Dee Dee appeared to be her daughter’s most outspoken advocate. She was the strong and devoted caregiver that Gypsy Rose, who appeared far younger than her 23 years and spoke in a Minnie Mouse squeak, required. Or so it seemed. Dee Dee… Read more →