Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and this is Rincey Reads. Today I’m going to be talking about S-town. This is a podcast that was recently put out by the same people who put together like This American Life and serial. I’ll have a link to it down below in case you guys are interested. I listened to it a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it basically ever since. I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings and they are complicated. So let’s just get into it. Oh before I get started, I’m just going to say that if you haven’t listened to s town in its entirety, there will be spoilers for the entire thing here because I think a lot of what I want to talk about also happens in like the last couple of episodes. So if you don’t want to be spoiled on S-town, I recommend like turning this off, coming back to it when you have finished. Or if you don’t plan on finishing or you don’t care if you get spoiled, you can continue watching. So like I said, my thoughts on S-Town are really complicated. It’s one of those podcasts that by the time I was done with it made me feel really uncomfortable. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of the podcasts that have been coming out recently. Let me just say I listened to both seasons of Serial and the first season of Serial made me slightly uncomfortable as well. I think it was less the podcast though and more the way people were talking about the podcast. The first season of Serial dealt with the death of a young woman and someone who is currently in jail for that crime and the way people talked about it was just so like dismissive of it. And the way that we talk about these podcasts, we talk about them as forms of entertainment but because these are actual people with actual situations, it’s not just entertainment. I feel the same way about like the news and I feel the same way about like reality television. Like we create these things that are meant to be entertaining on a certain level but they involve real people and real situations and their real lives and we turn these people into like caricatures almost and we take away all of the complexities and the nuances that might belong in them and we make them into stereotypes and we sort of like gawk at them from a distance. and it makes, again, it just makes me really uncomfortable. So I started listening to this podcast because they pitched it as a true-crime podcast in the beginning. They talked about how this guy contacted them from the small town in Alabama and there was some like corruption and crime that was happening in there. And so I was interested in that because that’s a idea and story that I’m always really interested in. This ideas like corruption happening amongst officials and police officers and things like that and trying to uncover the truth and bring some justice about. By the end of the eight episodes, it was seven or eight episodes I can’t remember now. I think it was seven. It turns into something completely different. And in the beginning I was ok with it because I like sort of character driven stories in my books and in my television shows and all this stuff. I like stuff that focuses on the complexity of people and it seemed like S town was going to make that turn after the major death happens and after they realized that like this murder wasn’t really a murder and things like that. I thought that they were going to talk about the complexities of just small-town life and the people that live in this town. But it turned into something else. The fact that this journalist Brian felt comfortable delving into the sexual orientation of a man who had recently passed away and hadn’t necessarily provided information about that aspect of his life was really uncomfortable for me. The fact that they set up a lot of questions that didn’t provide a lot of answers but I think left room for the listener to make judgments on them. I also think it’s really uncomfortable to look at people who live in these sort of small southern American towns and especially if someone who like lives in Chicago, I live in the north, I live in literally like the exact opposite of what those towns are, it felt very easy for it to turn into like making those small towns into a zoo and making those people into like the animals at a zoo who are meant to entertain me and provide me with some giddiness before moving on with my life and I can sort of like cast my judgment upon them because they aren’t alike to me and they think a different way and act a different way. And yeah it was weird. um but I also couldn’t stop listening to it which i think is probably mostly on me. But it was a really compelling podcast. But i think what made me the most disappointed was the fact that they created like these seven episodes in total and just drop them all at once. So they didn’t have to deal with the real-time aspect or the real-time reactions while making the podcast like Serial had to deal with especially in their first season. You know there was real information that was coming out while they were creating all of these episodes and they had to adjust episodes in order to accommodate for that new information and all of this stuff. This was clearly different in that they just dropped the episodes so they knew exactly what they were putting out and they knew what the full arc was going to e And so the fact that they chose this arc to tell felt a little bit weird because there are so many like gray areas that they go into. And they acknowledge it at a certain point and they come up with their own justifications but I don’t think their justifications are right or I just don’t agree with them at all. There was a really great article on Vox that someone shared with me and so I’m going to link it down below and they talk about this really well as well. It basically says like s town is a great podcast but that doesn’t mean that it should have been made. I’ve been think about this a lot because there’s this podcast, I had uncomfortable feelings about Serial and then there was like what I think is the pinnacle of uncomfortable podcast which is the missing richard simmons podcast. Where this guy without any prompting, without any sort of encouragement for Richard Simmons, just goes looking for him. And I think that in this age that we’re living in, we believe that anyone’s lives are somehow belong to us. Like we don’t have any right to delve into anyone’s private life without their consent or their rights and so things like missing Richard Simmons where he’s trying to search out for this man who doesn’t want to be found or purposely like removed himself from the public life for a reason, made me really, really uncomfortable. And I think that this s town podcast kind of did the same thing where they started delving into parts of John’s private life that he didn’t necessarily want or we don’t know if he wanted out there. And because he’s passed away there’s no way to really reconcile with that and i think that i don’t know maybe i just give too much reverence to people who passed away but at a certain point I’m just like, they’re not alive anymore to give their wishes so how are we supposed to handle that. I would always edge as a side of caution. But anyways those are by just complicated thoughts on s town. It was great storytelling but I also kind of don’t know if it should have been made just like the Vox I article said. So let me know what you guys think down below. I know a lot of people really enjoyed it because again like I said it’s really, really well done. It’s really compelling but doesn’t make it right. So it’s one of those things I’ve been like literally wrestling with and thinking about constantly since I’ve listened to it. I also listened to it all in one day so I think that was part of the problem for me at least as well. Like I just dove in and listened to all seven episodes almost straight and at the end of it I was just like ah man I don’t know that was something I should have done. I think that if there was more space between the podcast episodes like if I had to wait a week, I think there would have been a point where I stopped listening. But I didn’t and this is where we are now. So Again let me know down below with you guys out of Serial, and I will — not serial, s town — and I will talk to you guys next time. Bye.