#questusreviewus S-Town Review – Luyang

John wrote the suicide note a long time ago. But, why did he choose to kill himself at that particular time, especially after closer contact with the podcast reporter? Was it a deliberate plan of John or a spur of the moment? I kept asking myself those questions when I listened to the rest of the podcast. Suddenly, I realized the death of John might be a unique way of him to let the world hear his voice: his complaints about the Shittown, his insights about the world and his understanding of life: tedious and brief. John was incompatible with the world. He had so many complaints about the world: climate change, the society collapse, and the Shittown. He wanted to express such feelings to the outside and gain some comforts or belongings. But his negative emotions were so contagious that his friends could not stand. Olin was one of them, and from the reaction of the podcast reporter, I thought Brain did not take John’s words seriously neither until he heard the news of a covered “death”. Brain’s visit to the town was definitely not for John but for the mystery of “death”. I always considered whether Brain would still do a podcast relevant to John or the town if there was no follow-up after proving the “death” to be a rumor. I voted “No!” So did John? John might realize his channel to the world was cut. He could not tell more people about how shitty the town was and how disappointing the world was. The podcast was a media for John. It was a bridge accessible to John to reach the rest of the world. But the podcast reporter was not interested in John’s endless talking or complaints. Brain was definitely more obsessed with death, mysterious death! Certainly, I did not know why John committed suicide at that time. But I could not help myself chaining all the factors together and speculate the existence of podcast played a role in John’s decision. John’s suicide might be deliberate. He chose this timing to shock Brain, let him dig his stories and catalyze the whole podcast. Life is tedious and brief. John considered suicide for a long time. He could not ignore the question: Die in silence or die with full attention. John had his own choice. Finally, he utilized the podcast as a media speaking a loud voice to the world at the end of his life. Life was tedious and brief but his voice was durably recorded and heard by others.


Wait. What did John want to say? Was his queer relationship with men? Was the postmortem battle on the property? No! Definitely not! He wanted to use his death to accuse the town and the world. He wanted to reveal the problems of the town and his insights about the world. But Brain, the podcast reporter, totally deviated from his intention. Brain focused on John’s private life, possible treasures, and the battle on his property. Especially, I was unpleasant about the content relevant to John’s private life. There was no ethics! Yeah, John was dead. But it did not mean he gave Brain the consent to freely discuss his privacy in public. It is worth mentioning that Brain even summarized the words of John to the audiences after John clearly asked him to stop recording. But, at least these words were exactly from John himself. How could we deal with the words from his friends about John’s private life? No matter they were true or not, these comments or stories about John’s private life were also durably recorded in the podcast. These words built our understanding of John as a person and poor John had no opportunity to alter or modify the information. John’s character, especially in the portion of his personal life, was fixed or constrained by the words of his friends. We would never have a chance to verify those stories. After the podcast, we did know a person named John B. McLemore. Is he real John B. McLemore in the world? No, just a character John B. McLemore in Brain’s podcast.