March 22, 2012

This Post Is Not About Lent

Three notes and then a thought:

1. I don't want to steal anyone's thunder, but I am pretty thrilled about one of us moving.
2. In related news, I'm getting excited about the Shoebox Tour coming here.
3. I think many of you would like this song Sean shared.

This Lent I gave up watching TV, movies, or just about any video by myself (living alone = hours of Law & Order reruns on Netflix = pathetic life). An unanticipated consequence was my discovery of podcasts.

I spent some time listening around, but I've settled on a favorite: Hang Up and Listen, Slate's sport podcast. The contributors offer insightful and funny commentary, and they are, generally speaking, professionals in a genre of amateurs. Their afterball segments are especially enjoyable--a few three-minute featurettes on, well, whatever struck each contributor.

Podcast mania has segued into a rediscovery of This American Life. Chase and I used to listen to the occasional episode on the way to bed in the apartment, but I haven't made a point to listen to it since college. I am now thoroughly hooked again. I just bought the app yesterday so I could listen to it while biking to the gym--which marks the first time I've paid money for an iPhone app.

Many of you are probably already aware of the most recent episode--the retraction of Mike Daisey's Apple/Foxconn episode. If you aren't, you should go listen to it. I have most loved the Middle School episode, where Ira Glass interviews a 14-year-old girl about her experience in middle school. She thoughtfully articulates exactly what I've been observing as teacher these last few months. Hearing it come from her mouth, however, lends those thoughts a great deal of poignancy--and reinvigorated my flagging enthusiasm for this semester.

Recently on the Ogden's porch, we had a low-grade argument about the value of This American Life. Sean thinks it rather nihilistically revolves around sad things for the sake of sadness, rather than actually seeking to tell American stories. I'm not so sure.


Blogger JHitts said...

My podcast recommendation: The Bugle, featuring Jon Oliver (of Daily Show fame) and Andy Zaltzman. Mostly they talk about current events in the same way that the Daily Show does, but in a more irreverent and British way. It's a must-listen for me.

March 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

Also, re: This American Life: I'm not sure where they got the whole "sadness + nihilism" thing. Sure, there are a few sad stories on there, ever now and again. But I think most of the stories that they feature on there are inspiring.

March 23, 2012 at 3:44 AM 
Blogger Chase said...

This is a purely unscientific observation about This American Life. It's not proven and I'm not totally sure I'm willing to hop aboard this bandwagon...yet.

But as someone who started listening to the show as a 15-year old kid, fell in love with it, made it my goal to work there -- I'm less into these days. I feel like they're starting to tackle these huge stories about Society. The recession. The housing crisis. Apple abuse in China. Etc. Etc.

I miss the days when they told super micro-human stories. When they visited and studied people at theme parks, when they spent 24-hours at The Gold Apple cafe in Chicago. When they did a story on an old, abandoned house, and what it meant to a young boy's sense of adventure.

I miss those types of stories. I know they're still doing good work, but maybe it's not my bag so much anymore.

Again, I need to listen more before I can say this with a degree of certainty.

March 23, 2012 at 9:51 AM 

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