S-Town’s Legacy

What are Podcasts?

Pieces of auditory journalism?

Well-funded and constructed opinions?

Brian Reed’s S-town does little to help answer these questions. He takes us down to Woodstock, Alabama for what seemed to be a cliché but still mildly intriguing murder mystery only to rip apart the town’s recluse in a well-crafted auditory collage of the town’s inhabitants.

All fine and dandy work.

Except…for the commentary.

Yes, it is necessary in a medium such as podcasts for the narrator to provide their own input to make the story conversationally digestible but Reed takes it to a whole other level. He writhes within whichever genre he decides that particular chapter to be. I had to keep listening out of intrigue to see which genre he decided to land on…only to not have a true answer.

Now, I won’t deny that I thoroughly enjoyed the world crafted by Reed but as a southerner myself, I can’t help but smell that something is a little funky in the portrayal of all of this. Podcasts, in general, have never been my preferred medium, so my view is already slightly tainted, so combined with the shiftiness of Reed’s depiction, I am left with a rather curdled feeling in my gut.

One that could inspire the creation of my own S-town.

-Adelaide Cairns