It’s Pride month, and you know what that means: It’s time for a deep dive into the structural oppression of queer people in America, the exploitative underbelly of New York’s mob-owned gay bars, and the night those tensions boiled over in 1969. What exactly was banned by sodomy laws and other laws used to target queer New Yorkers? Why was the mafia paying the police to keep gay bars open? And why was the movement that came out of Stonewall so different than what came before?
This week, we cover one of the most shameful war crimes in American history–and the shockingly light sentence of the only man successfully convicted for it. What happens when business tactics are applied to warfare? Why did it take so long for William Calley’s crimes to come to light? And why did so many Americans, including the president, believe he was justified in murdering hundreds of civilians?
This week, we bring you a story about a suspicious suicide, a vengeful spirit, and the wrath of the emperor. Why was a ghostly accountant out for revenge? How good was the Qing dynasty CSI team? And how did one of the most regimented legal systems in history end up with such a weird, orientalist misrepresentation in the English-speaking world?
In our first court case from the Islamic world, we meet one of history’s greatest bureaucrats. Midhat Pasha was fantastic at taking control of troubled territories and coming up with grand new legal ideas, but he wasn’t so great at playing politics. Meet the scholar who rose to be the Grand Vizier of an empire before he became the defendant in an unwinnable show trial.
Meet the woman who claimed to be a German princess, scammed a handful of husbands, palled around with pirates, and played her scandalous self on the stage. Why were so many English men so easy to dupe when a stranger showed up claiming noble heritage? How did a con artist become a celebrity? How much do we really know about Mary as a person, and how much did this self-made woman construct herself as a character?
This week, we’re covering the strange, sad case of Mary Mallon, one of America’s most notorious killers—who never technically committed a crime. When is it illegal to spread a disease? Why did the Health Department have the power to detain people indefinitely? Does Mary deserve her infamy, or was she a victim of a system that was stacked against her from the start?
This week, Isaac and Demetria go back to the Wild West for our very first outlaw of the American frontier. There’s rootin’, there’s tootin’, there’s plenty of shootin’, and also a truly astonishing amount of…soap?
The peasants are revolting! Bad times for England, but good times for Demetria and Isaac as they talk about boy kings, bad tax plans, and what to do when a bunch of rebels politely ask you to kill your own uncle.
In this week’s episode, we cover an unfortunately common type of crime, a workplace mass homicide, in an unusual location: a college campus. Did Dr. Bishop really “snap” because she was denied tenure, or were commenters using a sensational story to draw attention to one of America’s strangest employment practices?
This week (and somewhat late), Isaac and Demetria talk about the trials (literally) and tribulations of the great American comedian Lenny Bruce, whose boundary-pushing comedy landed him in hot water on charges of obscenity around the United States.