Watching and Listening

I have never listened to a podcast. That’s what you do with them, listen, right? I don’t know where people go to find them and why they do it. What are you supposed to do while hearing them? Or is it only for commuters?

I also don’t get the concept of YouTube videos. I pay for a subscription to a Russian-language video service even though I could watch all of the videos for free on YouTube. But it’s a small price to avoid the ugly things YouTube wants to force me to watch. I even hate my own YouTube videos and never rewatch them. Recording is fun but watching them – no, thanks.

I like Netflix but I don’t understand how they manage to film all those in-house shows when subscriptions are so low. We are currently watching a show called Marcella, and it’s bizarrely bad. We mostly keep watching because the leading actress is dressed so ridiculously badly that we can’t let go.

16 thoughts on “Watching and Listening”

  1. Podcast websites are no different than any other website, except people go there to listen to content rather than read or view it. Such websites cover all subjects. I’ve sold a number of my old short stories as “reprints” to genre fiction podcast websites, where the site owner recorded his reading of my story (invariably badly done, but I got paid, so who cares?) for people to listen to when they wanted to waste five minutes or so of their lives.

    YouTube is a great source for stealing free old hit records that are still under legal copyright — saves the time and cost of buying CDs or subscribing to a streaming musical source. Remember a few years ago when the record companies located and sued to death a number of middle-class music lovers who had foolishly downloaded their music from traceable “file-sharing” websites? Hey, you download from YouTube, the fat cats can’t track you. 🙂


    1. Dreidel, you used to write horror, correct? I am interested in chatting more about your genre publishing days. How many stories did you sell? What are some zines you sold to? Do you still write?


      1. xykademiqz, I’ll be glad to chat with you about my publishing history, but don’t think that I should take up space on Clarissa’s comments section doing so.

        I’ve found your article “SO YOU WANNA WRITE SHORT FICTION” on your website and will comment there if that’s a good spot for us to make contact.


  2. I too have never listened to a podcast, and can’t see why anyone would want to. I’d rather read what someone has to say than listen. And if you read you can skip boring bits, and go back to where you left off if you are interrupted.


    1. Podcasts are useful to people who want to listen to something while they’re doing something else — examples include the many “audio e-book” sites that read out famous works to listeners who should be concentrating on something else, like the rush-hour traffic during their drive to work.

      If something is worth reading, it’s worth your full attention at the time.


      1. I sometimes listen to podcasts as a way to help me get to sleep. I pick something engaging enough to take my mind off the cares of the day but presented in a soothing voice and without jangly music etc that would wake me up if I nod off. Eg 99% Invisible. Also, yes, long stretches of interstate driving. I also know moms who listen to podcasts while breastfeeding (when they would find it difficult to hold a book). Very occasionally my husband and I listen to one together in the evening instead of watching TV.


  3. You underestimate the interest of YouTube videos. In fact, I’m thinking about the possibility to record my own cĂ©gep-level lectures in mathematics. (Yeah…QuĂ©bec is becoming an intellectual cesspit, I know.)


  4. “That’s what you do with them, listen, right? I don’t know where people go to find them and why they do it. ”

    You’re a visually oriented person aren’t you? IIRC don’t you think in pictures (or have intense pictures in your mind’s eye when reading?) Of course podcasts don’t make sense to you.

    For me hearing things is much more important than seeing things, I don’t like to do much of anything in silence (and cannot work in silence at all, so horribly distracting). I listen to podcast (or youtube videos that are like podcasts) while doing something else – cleaning, cooking, working etc.

    My other favorite sense is touch (handling things and body memory) and I’ve always treated reading as an audio-tactile experience more than a visual one.


  5. I am shocked by:

    Europe just voted to wreck the internet, spying on everything and censoring vast swathes of our communications

    For instance:

    // Link taxes: You can’t link to a news story if your link text includes more than a single word from the article’s headline. The platform you’re using has to buy a license from the news site, and news sites can refuse licenses, giving them the right to choose who can criticise and debate the news.


  6. Was interesting how it conveys American mindset:

    // Unlearning the myth of American innocence

    When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does

    [in America] We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.

    I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?

    By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.


    1. It would be a lot more valuable if instead of this utterly inane blabber, she told us of the environment of terror and harassment that the beautifully sceptical Turks subject women. I have a friend who just came back from there. She now has PTSD and clinical depression. She colored her blond hair black because being in Turkey made her hate her hair color because it attracted so much harassment.


  7. Coming late to the party here. Podcasts are different from audiobooks. I mean, there may be podcasts out there that consist of someone reading a text that began in print, but the podcasts that most people listen to are constructed specifically for the podcast medium. They function a lot like radio shows, except you can listen to them whenever you want and the breadth and depth of content is much more wide ranging (in topic and quality) than anything you’d hear on the radio.

    If you have a cell phone, there’s probably a podcast app already loaded on it, which you can use to browse, search, subscribe to, and listen to podcasts.

    I listen to them while walking the dog, walking to and from work, and doing mindless chores.

    My current faves: “Up First” (a daily morning jolt of news from NPR), “The Wilderness” (a series by one of Obama’s former staffers, about what the Democrats need to do to win upcoming elections), “Selected Shorts” (okay, this one is short stories being read aloud, and I like the serendipity of it — it’s exposed me to writers I would not have read left to my own devices), “Side Door” (each episode is about some cool thing housed in the Smithsonian), and “Code Switch” (about race issues). Lately I’ve been hearing people mention “My Favorite Murders,” so I may check that out, though I’m not a fan of true crime things ordinarily.


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