• Podcast Librarian

The Last Days of August: Social media, mental health, and--oh, yeah--porn stars

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

Jon Ronson, the creator of Audible Original The Butterfly Effect, delves into the pornography industry again as he unravels the never-before-told story of what caused a beloved 23-year-old actress’s untimely death.⠀⠀


Series or standalone:

Series


Begin listening to:

Episode 1


Format:

Investigative reporting


Host(s):

Jon Ronson


Sound/production quality:

Very good


Rating/age suitability:

Adult; CW: Sexual content; c-word/other language; suicide


Approximate length of episodes:

30 minutes


Curricular ties:

N/A


Similar recommended pods:

See my other True Crime recommendations


Podcast Librarian’s Review:

This was not planned, but the irony of having listened to The Last Days of August in the final days of August is not lost on me. 🤪 At its heart, this podcast is not so much about a young porn star’s death as it is about social media pile-on, or cyber-bullying if you will (which is a topic about which the host has written a book). It begins when August, an A-list porn star, expresses on Twitter that she denied a job because she didn’t want to do a shoot with a male porn star who had been with other men; the internet went crazy (as it is wont to do about any issue, great or small). The backlash was quick and vitriolic, especially for a young woman who evidently spent a lot of time on social media. But was it this single incident that sparked her suicide, or were there other issues at play? Though her death was not murder, her husband had a sketchy past with an alarming dating pattern. This pod is investigative reporting but without a real end goal; nobody is being implicated, and thus, there’s not a real resolution—it just ends, which is a bit anticlimactic. Up to that point, I did binge it in a day and was very interested. It is an worthwhile listen for anyone interested in the effects of social media on mental health.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


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