I need to admit, I’m falling behind on my podcast listening. Everyone once in a while I’ll work through a bunch and catch up, more or less, but I’m listening to more music (mostly classical because new music is sucking wind lately too) and watching movies during the day. What prompted the change?
A couple weeks ago I hit the breaking point. In the space of two episodes of two different shows, I was subjected to two things that pushed me over the edge: First, one show featured 35 minutes of discussion about Finding Dory by a group of cohosts who were acting as if this was a graduate thesis they needed to pry about every floorboard from and get underneath instead of a movie that could succeed or fail without all possible angles being explored. Not that I’m against such discussions in and of themselves, but the whole conversation was filled with a sense of self-importance that completely overlooked any consideration of what the filmmakers were actually trying to do or who the target audience might be. This was just for the intellectual elites to stroke their chins over.
Second, one of my favorite movie podcasts went on a 10 minute sidebar to discuss how any parent who hadn’t showed their children any of a few different movies by the time they were a certain age they were failing in their parental responsibilities. Now it’s completely possible they were doing so in a tongue-in-cheek manner and that I was simply being over-sensitive. I’ve had similar conversations, but they’ve always been in a joking manner and sounded different from this. I was feeling as if this was a completely serious point of view and it just, for lack of a more ornate turn of phrase, made me feel a failure.
I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts for a number of years, probably going back to 2005 or so. But I know they are, just like blogs, always looking for ways to fill the space. Most shows try to come in at around the same runtime with each episode, but there isn’t always the content to fill that. So they have to stretch, and reading too much into a topic or taking a strong, almost adversarial perspective on a bit of news or other position is a good way to do that. But a sense of fatigue in the audience is just one potential outcome of this kind of approach, and that’s what’s happening to me.
I’ll come back to podcast listening on a more regular basis. But I need a break from the emotional place the attitudes on display in too many shows take me to. It’s just too much at the moment.