Thursday, October 13, 2005

digital lemming

m ashamed to admit it, because I don't want to seem like a trendy schmoe, but podcasting is the best thing that's ever happened in my life as a comsumer of news. Sure, 99.9 percent of the stuff out there doesn't interest me in the least, and a lot of it is probably just plain crap. But it seems as though there's something for everyone. And I can say without hesitation that the things I've been subscribing to have truly enriched my life.

Top of the list is the podcasts offered by C-SPAN. I subscribe to all three of their offerings -- After Words, Q&A and American Perspectives. The first two are pure gold. They're hour-long interviews with a broad range of people. The third is a little less consistent; it's usually a lecture by some important person, and it's also typically an hour. Over the last month, I've listened to deep, probing conversations with Barbara Eirenreich, Arlen Spector, Artur Davis, David McCollough, David Brooks, as well as folks I'd never even heard of, such as Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, and Allan Weinstein, archivist for the United States.

What I love about these is how in-depth they are, and how diverse the points of view, and, honestly, how random the subject matter is. I listen to the shows on my iPod (no, I didn't return it) while I'm walking the dogs or working in the yard or even washing sishes. Not only does it make these mundane acts (chores, on bad days) more exciting and interesting, it actually makes me feel like I'm getting smarter. These recordings give me such a fascinating, fulsome, wide-reaching perspective on some aspect of American public life.

To be perfectly honest, one of the most rewarding things is the opportunity to hear conservatives talk at length about their points of view. It humanizes them, and helps me to see the ways in which my interests intersect with theirs. That's priceless, in my book. Because I'm really getting tired of this knee-jerk partisanship.

(I also subsrcibe to KC Currents and NPR's Science Friday, all very good as well.)

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