The Editors at n+1:
Maybe podcasting would be more interesting if it were an instrument of fascism, or terrorism. ISIS knows better: they don’t make podcasts, they make YouTube videos. Talk radio can still control the listener’s emotional response, but no one feels threatened by the infinitely banal podcast. Instead of emotion or camaraderie, what podcasts produce is chumminess — reminiscent of the bourgeois club atmosphere, reconfigured as the desperate friendliness of burned-out knowledge workers. They aren’t pieces of media so much as second jobs or second lives — a way to pursue our hobbies when we have no time to spare, to have smart people talk at us when we have no time to think, to have new books summarized when we have no time to read. Our relationship with podcasts exists in uninterrupted parallel to the rest of our existence, a wealth of knowledge ready to be tapped at any moment. Podcasts intensify our saturation while pretending to relieve it. It’s like a voluntary authoritarian state, except instead of state-funded sitcoms, we have Marc Maron. But what would we do without it? Die, probably. Be murdered. Become a true-crime podcast. Don’t forget us when we’re gone; please rate us on iTunes.