Episode 33: Who Really Killed Hannah Baker
Hey Duhmericana Listeners,
This week, we embark on a topic that has been buzzing all over the web this past month: “Welcome to your tape.” Netflix released a 13-part series titled “13 Reasons Why,” based off the book of the same title by Jay Asher, released in 2007. Please be warned: this blog post and subsequent podcast episode deals with certain triggers regarding teen suicide and mental health.
Wilx read the book when it was released, and Netflix picking up the series brought it once again to the forefront of current conversations. The show deals with the suicide of teen Hannah Baker, who recorded and delivered 13 tapes dedicated to people she felt contributed to her reasons for committing suicide. The story is narrated from the perspective of her close friend and romantic interest Clay Jensen. Though the show was intended to bring to light the topic of teen suicide and mental health (an intention also expressed by singer and actress Selena Gomez, Executive Producer), we can’t help but wonder if this might have been a misguided attempt that causes more harm than good.
We grapple with the sentiment that it brings it to light, yet does so in a twisted sort of revenge fantasy that doesn’t succinctly depict that Hannah Baker, or anyone who commits suicide with revenge in mind, will never get the comeuppance intended. Does 13 Reasons Why glamorize teen suicide? Ultimately, it’s still using it as a form of entertainment and ultimately, profit.
What do you think? Did you read the book and/or watch the series? What redeeming qualities can be found in a show of this kind? Sound off below!
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We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Please call 1-800-273-8255.
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