for the last couple of years i’ve listened to an hour or two of podcast-content almost daily. looking under Podcasts in iTunes, at noon-day today, Friday the 12th of October, 2007, it says i have a whopping “857 items”, or episodes (usually over an hour each, mind you), which comes to 20.4 non-stop days of pre-packaged, easily consumed nuggets of opinion, science and philosophy. i’ll usually listen while driving my car, working out, or playing Halo. it’s shaped my world-view more than anything else ever has. anyways, i found this post interesting and funny. Kirk is a badass and he’s right-on in this post:
In this modern age of increasingly invasive technology I find myself smothered by the onslaught of new communicative advancements like the relentless embrace of an insecure lover. I don’t need every aspect of my life digitized and made accessible to my top 8, the “network” and advertising focus groups. I don’t need to be accessible 24 hours a minute.
But fear not, this is no self-righteous rant about the necessity of resisting the future’s iron like grip at the other end of the tug of war of change. No, this article is to extol one of those rare new features of our modern age that seems to fit my life like an appropriately sized condom…
Podcasts. I know they’ve been around, I think I even ran one for a while, but I never believed in them. That is to say I never gave my life over to them. I never let them try and save me.
I have of late, I know not why, lost all desire to hang out with human beings. They are so dramatic, so complicated, so messy. But my iPod of uber hip indie rock and rap has proved a poor companion as I beat the streets of this, our fair city apple. Maslow’s pyramid tells me I need companionship and who am I to argue with a shape?
I have met some good folks in my life. We have walked and talked. We have gone for drinks and caught flicks. We have danced and dined and destroyed public property. But my friends, the people I hang out with, well they are so… finite. What you get is what you get. You can’t always trust that they’ll be funny and amazing. You can barely trust them at all.
Podcasts are perfect friend replacement. Now as I walk down the street, I am not burdened with pretending that I care about an acquaintance’s day at work. Instead I can relax my personality muscles as Garrison Keiller tells me what famous poet’s birthday it is, or I can wink knowingly as Rob Long relates another cynical tale of what it is like to be in “the biz.” From my NPR news up date to history according to Bob, podcasts keep me connected with the world I put headphones on to escape in the first place. The skeptics guide to the universe helps me see through the bullshit while Religion Talk gives me the strength to hope all the bullshit means something.
Sure it has made it more difficult to relate to people in the flesh. I have started referring to all Jewish people as Ira Glass and am constantly disappointed when they can’t provide poignant vignettes. My friends were always bad with silent G’s. I toss out opportunities for improv but instead of hearing Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, I get Wait What The Hell Are you Talking About. I never have any real Car Talk. Never.
So I am spending more time in my room, in my office, in my head. That’s where the party is really happening anyway, and if you are a disembodied voice that updates to my Digital Audio Player on a regular basis, you don’t even have to RSVP, just come on in.