Chamblee54

S-Town

Posted in Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 31, 2017


SPOILER ALERT The first time PG had to pause S-Town was some time in #1. There is a break in the weirdness for a blue apron commercial The commercial is an announcement, in a meeting or classroom. The announcement was a pitch for Blue Apron. For some reason, this struck PG as funny… this yuppie food delivery outfit, advertising on a show about Shit Town, Alabama.

S-Town is an NPR podcast. Some earnest young reporter leaves his wife behind in New Yuck, or some other place where npr-sters like to stay, and goes to Alabama. Supposedly, there has been a murder in Bibb County, Alabama. John B. McLemore lives in the county, and is showing the reporter around. (The spell check suggestion for McLemore is Memorable.) The southern accents, and southern gothic ambience, is no doubt amusing to the latte sipping trendsters who like to binge listen.

The second time PG has to pause the show… maybe there are more, but you don’t want to think about this too much … is at 8:11 of episode #2. There is a conversation. “It is racist, and non-nonsensical, and has multiple uses of a terrible word.” Let the hand wringing begin. After a minute of so of this… the man is saying something about paying taxes to support young ladies on welfare… the reporter mentions that his girlfriend then/wife now is black. This rantlette has little to do with the rest of the story. It may have been included as a bit of picturesque racism, for the pearl clutching enjoyment of the listening audience.

John B. McLemore is a piece of work. He is skilled at repairing antique clocks, a horologist. He built a hedge maze on his land, with 64 gates to change the course at will. John B. has a lot of opinions, which he generously shares in profanity seasoned offerings. John B. is forty nine years old, single, and lives with his aging mother. There is an assumption about men like this, which is covered, in a bit more detail than required, in episode #6.

The second show ends with news of a suicide. John, the rural eccentric, has killed himself. There are five more episodes to the story, so this is not the end of the story. Meanwhile, PG is constructing a graphic poem. The idea of internet meme poems…. this time with photographs of railroad grafitti in the background … is something else that a southerner does.

The next pause-the-show moment is at 36:11 of episode #5. John is dead. Some cousins appear out of nowhere. People start to fight over John’s assets. It is getting ugly. Rita, the Florida cousin, wants John’s nipple ring. She can’t understand how someone can do an autopsy, “you’ve cut him from neck to private, and you can’t get a nipple ring off? Cut his nipple off, he’s dead.”

Episode #5 and episode#6 come and go. The town sucks, the town isn’t so bad. John had friends, and possibly lovers, but drove them off. Then, in episode #7, we learn that the local rich family has bought John’s property. At 24:24, PG needs to cut off the show, and make a note. Before he does this, PG exports the changes he made to a picture he is editing. There is no point in getting mad, and closing the file, with the changes unsaved. The fact that the picture is the black family, of a West Virginia coal miner… that is an ironic touch.

The new property owner has a lumber yard, K3 Lumber. KyKenKee, Inc. got it’s name honestly. “In 1980, after having been in business many years as I.L. Burt and Sons, the family decided to change the name. Having named us, Kyle, Keefe and Kendall, she took the first syllables of each name and rearranged them until they fit just right, Ky Ken Kee.”

This is not good enough for Brian Reed. “I did get a chance to ask him, if there is a double entendre with a certain white supremacy group?””I’m assuming you’re one of those left wingers we upset with the election.” “He said he doesn’t have a problem with the name K3.” Mr. Reed does not mention the origin of the name. It might be a joke, that is not a joke. The Burt family probably knew what it was doing. The spell check suggestion for KyKenKee is Yankee.

The show ends with episode#7. Outside of a few upcoming court dates, there is not much left to report. In the end, there are few sympathetic characters in the story. Life in small town Alabama goes on. Meanwhile, in booming Atlanta, the main interstate through the northeast part of town has been shut down indefinitely. We are screwed. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Marion Post Wolcott took the pictures in West Virginia in September, 1938.

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