Jan. 10th, 2012

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I went through all of my favorite pagan podcasts. Elemental Castings? Digging down deep in the archives but running out. Thelema Now? Completely gone, listened to them all. Speech in the Silence? Not a one left. Occult of Personality? Seriously damaged, although there are some I haven't listened to yet. Modern Witch: Just started, so far so good. So now I'm exploring what else is out there, and...oh my (in Sulu voice). I found myself barking back at some of these: "Are you kidding me? Are you CRAZY?! Shinto is NOT a NeoPagan religion!" is just one example.

I am truly appalled at some of the stupid stuff I have heard. I am sorry, do I sound mean? Maybe I am spoiled by the above-mentioned podcasts. I mean, Thorn and Frater Puck and Greg Kaminsky are focused. They know who they want to talk to and they have a good idea of what questions to ask. They have a theme, even if it's only a general one, and they often go into a good deal of depth. Speech in the Silence is a great grab-bag of Thelemic teaching and thought, and it has Dr. David Shoemaker, who goes over my head but in a way that challenges me to go after him.

But really...there are a lot of Pagan podcasts out there that are simply dreadful. There are altogether too many of them that just consist of people gabbing about nothing at all, picking a "topic" ("Is vodou black magic?" "What's your favorite Tarot deck?" "Love spells are bad!" ) and then just wandering off into nothingland, usually lobbing in a couple of completely uninformed, dumb statements passed off as Fact.

The worst ones are the ones where you have a bunch of people just talking. About nothing. It begins to feel like I'm listening to recordings of the most recent Friday night at Lady Buckingunicorn's house when they cracked open the mead, got drunk and started talking about their favorite Buffy episode. There are also the ones where one person, and only one, just takes up 45 minutes of my time talking about whatever is on their mind. Today I was trying to listen to one where the woman just went on and on about what she got for Christmas, and what a drag it was driving back and forth to the parents' house and the grandparents' houses and etc. etc., and after a while I started thinking, "What the FUCK am I listening to this for? What the FUCK does this have to do with ANY kind of Paganism?"

Another painful adventure in podcast listening  is when you have an interesting guest, but the hosts have absolutely no idea what to ask this person. I've heard a couple where the guest started sounding politely bored, because the hosts had nothing to say. For example, on one podcast the hosts interviewed a pagan musician (who I have never heard of, but that's not uncommon). And after a while the guest just sounded bored. After all, if you're a musician there's only so much fanboy/girl squee you can handle. The interview was all squee.

There was another podcast where the hosts simply could not ask an interesting question to save their lives. They just kept going over Pagan tropes and asking the guest things that he/she had probably answered a million times before in their last Wicca 101 talk. It got to the point that I was amusing myself by answering the questions and seeing how close I was to the stock answer the guest was giving. I'm not even famous and I was damn close.

I don't know what leads some people to grab a mike and some sort of recording program and makes them decide to become podcasters. I don't want to pee on anybody's parade but it reminds me of the story about the preacher who had an old farmer come to him one day and say, "Reverend, I had a dream last night that I was out in the fields with my mule and an angel came and wrote the letters P. C. in the sky. Does that mean that I should Preach Christ?" The preacher looks at the old guy and says, "Brother, I think it means you should Plant Corn." 

With the proliferation of media generating devices, it's inevitable that everybody will opt for their 15 minutes of fame - or 15 seconds.  But if I was going to do a podcast I think I would model myself after people who have something to say. Having a pagan version of the morning DJs on WOMG trying to be funny and playing bad music in between bad jokes is just not good enough. Planting corn is sometimes the best option.


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