S-Town Reivew – Noah Sayre #questusreviewus

S-Town without fail followed true to exposing the recurring concepts we have seen throughout our class such as ambiguity and time.  I do not have an issue with the way time is depicted and actually rather enjoyed a certain poeticism seen in its portrayal throughout the podcast.  John’s statement that “time is fleeting and brief”, followed by him taking his own life, therefore making his time even more brief screams poetry to me.  Then lets not forget all of the classic literary elements like the symbolism and foreshadowing that go into the witness marks in horology, which are seemingly all recursively tied back to time.  

The ambiguity is where I begin to draw my frustrations with S-Town.  In the early episodes of S-Town there was a glimmer of unambiguity, as the result of the supposed murder in S-Town was wrapped in nothing less than a neat bow.  Although, this safe harbor from ambiguity was quickly ripped away in episodes two through seven. This is somewhat understandable as the plot line transitioned from a simple investigation of a murder to an investigation of a man’s life as a proxy for an environment.  Inherently the latter is more complex because an investigation of an entire life is far from a singular event. Although, I think Brian Reed’s presentation/ methodology of storytelling is the root of a lot of my frustration. I think the way he sets his stories lend to foreshadowing and leaving the listener anticipation.  Though seemingly immediately after we are lead to this cliffhanger, the topic gets dropped like a bad joke and is never spoken of again. As we have said time and time again in class, the prestige is missing and that bugs me to no end.

Moving from Brian Reed’s story telling method to his telling of the actual story, I would actually like to stand in his defense.  I think in class we spent a lot of time discussing how Reed’s presentation of the two sides of the story was biased and how prevalent his outsider bias was. In a purely critical examination of the story solely based on facts bias is a massive issue.  Although, I interpreted our in class discussion as more of an indictment of Reed. To my knowledge (I hope I’m not wrong), neither Reed nor NPR promised a completely unbiased account and I believe they themselves did not coin the podcast a nonfiction audio novel.  Therefore, we was listeners should understand and I believe accept that the author is entitled to his/ her bias. Every piece of literature whether we admit it or not is heavily biased. People tell the stories that they want to tell, therefore stories are often constructed in a way to do this despite if the end result is factual.  Therefore, I think the sooner we move the criticism from the author to the content, the better we will be able to truly conduct a critical analysis of content.