If we’re thinking in terms of travel metaphors, podcasting is like teleportation. Here, then there. Nothing in the middle, no journey, nothing to see along the way–just the destination. The radio is like taking a walk through a city or across a country. Static is the place where there isn’t much–abandoned buildings, fog, cotton fields forever–but the absence has a presence. There’s sound in the silence, like the wheel grind and tape hiss in a Mountain Goats song. You might stumble across something mysterious or horrifying or unknowable along the way: a murder, a circus, a stabbin’ hobo, a funeral, a church service, a demagogue: something that has the possibility of taking you out of yourself and making you experience the world in a new way rather than something that simply validates and affirms the perspective you already have. There is no danger that you’d ever have a confrontation with something as weird and alien as The Conet Project in a podcast.
I’d love to think I’m at least partly to blame for one of my new daily reads, Popular Frontiers.