Like NPR for Sane People

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I read somewhere an opinion which stated that audio, video, and transmission technology (the New Media) has progressed to the point where we are reverting from a literary traditions to an oral tradition. Reverting sounds bad; let’s call it reclaiming. I am one of those who gets a great deal of his information from podcasts, audiobooks, and YouTube videos.

One of the podcasts I’ve worked into my rotation is that of Aaron Renn, the Urbanophile. Some of you may have heard of him before. His podcasts are pretty short at around 20 minutes (just long enough for endcap commercials), and he covers a wide variety of topics which loosely center on city life; often on Mid-American cities like Chicago and Indianapolis.

One of his episodes from 2015 was an interview of his father (an Indianan) about the GOP and Donald Trump. So that was well before the election. Renn’s father had the best summary of why Trump was elected and why they rejected the GOP establishment. I’m going to spoil it. Here it is: Trump isn’t a wuss, and the GOP are. (You should still listen to the rest of the episode. It’s entertaining and there’s a nice back-in-the-day story. I like those.

I’ve read and heard a lot of explanations; from Scott Adam’s “Master Persuader” theory to Jordan Peterson’s “agent of chaos” theory to Zman’s “Destroyer of Worlds” theme…all some rather esoteric and wacky stuff. But Mr. Renn is exactly right, and that’s why even the “grab them by the pussy” tape didn’t shake off Trump’s supporters. It’s that simple.

Anyways, check out the podcast. I enjoy it; it’s like an NPR program for sane people.

4 thoughts on “Like NPR for Sane People

  1. Cane, it’s good to see you writing more.

    You sound like my son. He also seems to enjoy getting information from videos more so than from the written word.

    Do you prefer to get information orally? Or, is it an adjunct to gathering information via text?

    For myself, I can’t stand trying to get information from videos unless it’s necessary to establish the context, or to show some complicated device. Otherwise, I find that ten minutes of video will convey information I could gather from text in about thirty seconds, and the rest is just filler.

    The flip side is that I could be the one that’s weird.

  2. @anon_ng


    For myself, I can’t stand trying to get information from videos unless it’s necessary to establish the context

    Audio information is an adjunct. I also read a lot…probably too much online. And of course I write.

    Podcasts and audiobooks are consumed while doing other things like driving (which I do every weeknight for eight hours or so) or while I work in my shop.

    Text, audio, and video each have their places and their strengths and weaknesses differ. Audio and video can give you a lot more information from the speaker’s tone and body language. Text obscures those. That’s why blogs on behavior–whether it’s how to appear as an attractive man, or how lead effectively–can go on for a very long time yet never move beyond a handful of maxims.

    This is the Sherlock Holmes method, right? He discovers more about a person from observation than from their statements. He sees a smudge of ink on the left hand, bike grease on a right pant cuff, red dirt on rim of his soles, the cut of his clothes, etc., and concludes that client is an entry-level clerk who lives off Clay Street or whatever. We all do this to various degrees of success. Although, such cues can be used against us as well. Holmes loves to investigate in disguise. That’s information, too.

    We might call these observations context, and sometimes not know we are missing it.

  3. Hmmm. You make a good point. I think part of the reason I eschew audio and video is that in our present age, emotional appeals and manipulative language are more prevalent there than in text. Basically, it takes more effort, and expertise to manipulate me via the written word.

    However, it could also be that I’m lazy and it takes effort to ignore the unimportant part of what the speaker is saying and to look only for the pertinent details.

  4. @anon_ng

    Another problem with audio/video is that, if the content is a miss or just flat-out wrong, you have spent twenty minutes discovering that instead of five. In those situations, I try to “recycle” that waste into a chance to further develop my own understanding…but it’s not always possible. Some content is just stupid.

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