Jones’s and Williams’s executions were the second and third in a four-day period; at the same facility, on the preceding Thursday, Ledell Lee, aged fifty-one, became the first prisoner to be put to death in Arkansas since 2005.
For those people, and for others close to the original case, “Making a Murderer” seems less like investigative journalism than like highbrow vigilante justice. “My initial reaction was that I shouldn’t be upset with the documentarians, because they can’t help that the public reacted the way that it did,” Penny Beerntsen said. “But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Well, yeah, they do bear responsibility, because of the way they put together the footage. To me, the fact that the response was almost universally ‘Oh, my God, these two men are innocent’ speaks to the bias of the piece. A jury doesn’t deliberate twenty-some hours over three or four days if the evidence wasn’t more complex.”
The Avery case can been discussed ad nauseam in the press recently, but this is one of the more critical pieces I’ve read. Good stuff.
Psychologists have long recognized that human memory is highly fallible. Hugo Münsterberg taught in one of the first American psychology departments, at Harvard. In a 1908 book called “On the Witness Stand,” he argued that, because people could not know when their memories had deceived them, the legal system’s safeguards against lying—oaths, penalties for perjury, and so on—were ineffective. He expected that teachers, doctors, and politicians would all be eager to reform their fields. “The lawyer alone is obdurate,” Münsterberg wrote.
It’s still early 2016, but this article may be one of the best pieces of journalism I’ll read all year. Exceptional.
For Kojima, the future involves ridding himself of distracting responsibilities. “When working in big companies, especially Japanese companies, every little thing has to be approved beforehand, and you need paperwork to do anything,” he said. “Now that I’m independent, I can do what I want with much more speed. I don’t need to invest time in unnecessary presentations. I shoulder the risk.” He also relishes the chance to speak his mind. “When I was in a company, my personal statements could be taken as the over-all direction of the company. As such, I couldn’t say just anything.”
Why would Konami drop its star game maker and shut down his studio? Although work on Phantom Pain is known to have been slower and more expensive than the company planned—a Nikkei report estimated the cost of development at more than eighty million dollars—Kojima’s instinct to hold off the game’s release until he was satisfied with its quality seems, by both critical and commercial standards, sound. As such, some people within the video-game industry contend that his resignation was less a result of personal or artistic differences than of tectonic changes in the business—namely, the move away from console games and toward the domain of the mobile device.
I have no choice but to admit that the rise of mobile gaming is making console and PC gaming increasingly irrelevant. I just wish it wasn’t so. I want Kojima to be given the time and resources he needs, because the results will most likely be spectacular.
A man can dream, right?