Caveh Zahedi. Credit: Chris Buck for The New York Times
"One of the big flips that’s taking place in our time is the changeover from the eye to the ear. Most of us, having grown up in the visual world, are now suddenly confronted with the problems of living in an acoustic world which is, in effect, a world of simultaneous information. The visual world has very peculiar properties, and the acoustic world has quite different properties. The visual world which belongs to the old nineteenth century, and which had been around for quite a while, say from the sixteenth century anyway, has the properties of being continuous and connected and homogeneous, all parts more or less alike. Things stayed put. If you had a point of view, that stayed put. The acoustic world, which is the electric world of simultaneity, has no continuity, no homogeneity, no connections, and no stasis. Everything is changing. To move from one of those worlds to the other is a very big shift. It’s the same shift that Alice in Wonderland made when she went through the looking glass. She moved out of the visual world and into the acoustic world when she went through the looking glass." (Marshall McLuhan, 1970)
Given the choice between a great film, a great video game or a great podcast, I would always choose the latter.
Because you can listen to a podcast with your eyes closed.
Because podcasts are the most immersive medium ever. Forget vr. Forget all that meta-crap. William Gibson was spot on.
I go through the motions, every day, so that, late at night, I can fall asleep listening to BBC's Soul Music on repeat.
Acoustic space > visual space.
Acoustic space = dream space.
My favorite podcasts of 2021
STOP THE PRESS [DEC 21 UPDATE]: Joseph Fink is back! Yes, 2022 is another Plague Year. It's going to be scary, but it does not have to be scary alone: Our Third Plague Year
Things Fell Apart, written and hosted by Ron Jonson, BBC Sounds.
Interdependence hosted by Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst.
Maintenance Phase- Aubrey Gordon & Michael Hobbes' ruthless annihilation of idiotic academic research on wellness and nutrition is superb. Standout episode: "School Lunches: P-Hacking and the original "Pizzagate" in which they demolish Brian Wansink's Food and Brand Lab nonsense. Epic.
Know Your Enemy co-hosted by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell.: each episode is wonderfully crafted and frankly indispensable. Among others, I loved Did it Happen Here?
Tech Won't Save Us hosted by Paris Marx; standout episode: The Sunset of the Californian Ideology with Richard Barbrook.
Some gems from 2020 which I "discovered" in 2021:
The End of The World Has Already Happened with Timothy Morton, BBC Sounds (January 2020)
How They Made Us Doubt Everything with Peter Pomerantsev, BBC Sounds (June 2020)
Standout episodes from ongoing shows (selection, they're just too many)
Catherine Liu kickin' some serious assess on KPFA, october 2021
Soul Music, "Unfinished Symphony" (Massive Attack), BBC Sounds - repeated listening.
Soul Music, Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat), BBC Sounds - repeated listening.
Soul Music, Life on Mars (David Bowie), BBC Sounds - repeated listening (mental note: I'd take Soul Music over Song Exploder any given day).
The Harper's Podcast, Barrett Swanson on the Anxiety of Influencers with Violet Lucca.
Biggest disappointments of the year
The Midnight Miracle, most overrated podcast of the year
On The Media totally lost it.
Reply All totally lost it.