Private Detectives & Zombie Stories

Hosted byIan Punnett

Private Detectives & Zombie Stories

About the show

Pop culture writer Dahlia Schweitzer joined guest host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss the tradition of the detective in films, books, and television shows. The private eye figure is often an outsider or lone wolf character who is not part of the establishment and who goes after the untouchables in power, Schweitzer explained. "The only person who can bring them down is someone who isn't going to be part of the machine," she said.

Since the 1930s many detective stories have been set in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, including Hollywood which represents corruption, Schweitzer continued. She pointed to real-life actresses the Black Dahlia and Marilyn Monroe as examples of the exploitation of Hollywood. "Those two tragic figures really exemplify the worst of Hollywood... these girls come to LA to be stars, to be discovered, and then they end up dead in their prime," she said. According to Schweitzer, detective stories endure because they reassure us someone is out there cutting through the noise of information to connect the dots, save the distressed, and expose criminal behavior.

She also examined zombie outbreak narratives, which like the detective stories have not been around for very long. "The contemporary incarnation of the zombie is integrally woven into the fear of viruses," Schweitzer revealed. Zombies in popular culture have evolved from a few slow moving individuals often controlled by a Voodoo master to the often fast-moving zombie hordes now seen in contemporary media, she noted. Schweitzer traced the recent popularity of zombie stories to the Resident Evil video game franchise, The Walking Dead comics, and the film 28 Days Later.

Bill Cosby Case

First hour guest, former People magazine writer Nicki Weisensee Egan was the first reporter to dig into the Bill Cosby story when Andrea Constand went to the police in 2005 - a decade before it was on anyone else's radar. She spoke about her investigation into the case and what she uncovered. As early as 2000 a 19-year-old woman in New York had gone to police to file a complaint against Cosby, Egan reported. "He had a well-oiled machine in place to handle [sexual assault allegations]," she said. According to Egan, Cosby could have an unflattering story killed with the promise of exclusive access for the media. She credited Hannibal Buress' stand-up routine (which called out Cosby's behavior), as well as social media for making the story go viral. "A lot of people in Hollywood knew he was doing this," Egan revealed, noting Quincy Jones once even admitted he told Cosby to stop drugging women.

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