Posted by: Taius | July 2, 2010

Podcast Review

Okay, I had heard of podcasts before this class, and was pretty familiar with what they were. However, I had never really made use of them before, not for any real reason. I just didn’t listen to any. I now know this was foolish, because podcasts are very legit. The hour of podcasts I listened to was an hour well spent, because it’s like a more modern form of radio: you don’t actually have to sit at your computer and watch them; you can just listen. In fact, the ones I listened to were two podcasts by Fareed Zakaria, the CNN news anchor guy (I’m not sure what his actual job description is, but he’s pretty good at it.)
First off, I hate watching the news. It’s not that I don’t like being informed about the world around me; only a hermit or an anchorite or a simple mind would hate that. It’s that most of the people involved in the various news channels are awful. Just terrible. Most of them are either hideous and loudly opinionated windbags who jump at the chance to shout down any opposition instead of actually countering it with something useful to say. I guess they love the sound of their own voice so much they like to turn the volume all the way up, like a suburban rich kid who’s parents just bought their little baby a brand new car with a sound system in it, and now everybody has to listen to them roll through the neighborhood blasting their music at whack hours of the night. Also, most of these news-folk are hideous. Example: Keith Olberman and Bill O’Reilly are so desperately in need of neck-botox it looks like somebody glued a manatee to their chins/necks (Those two body parts seem to be one and the same on bloated political windbags).
On Fareed Zakariah’s GPS Podcast, I had to deal with none of this horrible misuse of sea-beasts. He calmly and reasonably discusses important issues with actual experts (Instead of political strategists), doesn’t contribute unless he has something intelligent to contribute, and asks relevant and thought-provoking questions. The two podcasts I listened to as I went about my day involved a discussion of the Afghan War and the replacing of General Stanley McChrystal with General David Petraeus, as well as a discussion on the partisan divide ruining America’s political discourse. While on a television news program, I might hear the people on the show ask whether this means Barrack Obama supports America’s military. Not on the podcast. Just people discussing the merits of the two generals, and how it’s likely that this will have a positive effect on the war effort. I also wasn’t interrupted with the commercials they always play on the news, hawking various products intended for people several decades older than me at ear-piercingly loud volumes. Seriously, that doesn’t make anybody want to buy products, it makes them want to beat up people in the advertising business. It’s a bad sign if you have to scream at people in a sad attempt to get them to notice your product.
Getting back to the topic of the GPS podcast, on the political partisanship segment, there actually was a bunch of people talking at once. Maybe I didn’t notice them shouting at each other because I couldn’t see them jiggling their manatee medallions, but it seemed more reasonable than I would expect from having Ariana Huffington, an extreme liberal, and some other guy, who was probably an extreme republican because there was no laughter. You know they aren’t all on the same side if they’re not laughing together about how stupid their mortal enemies in the barely-different opposition party are.
All in all, I found listening to podcasts to be well worth my time, and something that fits in with my erratic attention span and occasionally dangerous habit of doing several potentially dangerous things at once. I definitely plan to continue following more political podcasts, and also seeing what other kinds of podcasts might be similarly awesome improvements over the barbaric technology of the past century (Haha! You guys thought nuclear weapons were a great idea!). iTunes hates my computer for some reason (I think Steve Jobs might actually be Cthulhu), so I was unable to bear with the 15-minute load times to find other topics of interest to me, like psychology, science, philosophy, literature or humor, but I’m sure podcasts on these things can’t be too hard to find. I look forward to finding them.