002: Black Lives Matter

[download / play]

Hey! Normally, I probably won’t write a full blog post with an episode, but I felt that this one warranted a little bit of commentary.

First of all, I’m sorry that this one took so long to make. I had hoped to release episodes monthly, but life happened and made that much more difficult than I’d previously planned. When I began work on this second episode, COVID-19 was just starting to hit the United States. My initial plan was to try to capture some of the loneliness and isolation and depression and lethargy and fear that came with it. But the more I worked on it, the less happy I was with it. Then, George Floyd was murdered, and protests blazed across the country. So, I set to work trying to capture a small bit of that fervor.

Second, and closely related, it was very hard to find the right tone once I’d decided on a theme. I’m a white, straight man with a podcast, which is about the most boring, vanilla thing you could ask for — and the exact sort of person who ought to shut up and listen right now, not the kind who should be doing any of the talking. Who am I to make anything that attempts to represent or reflect the experience of black people? (I don’t even know if I’m supposed to capitalize “Black”! Am I? I’m so ignorant!) All I can say is: I’m trying to be an ally and a supporter and a friend. I don’t know how to do that well. I want to learn. But I also have an artistic impulse, and I’m trying to put that to use to elevate black voices for others to hear. Please forgive me if I do anything ignorant.

Third, I’m still experimenting with form and style for this podcast. In the first episode, I limited myself to the rule that all sources must have the word “dream” in the title. For this episode, though, I didn’t feel that there was one word that accurately summed up what I was trying to capture. There’s “injustice,” “anger,” “protest,” “brutality,” and many, many others that only begin to get at some of the complexity of the emotions around these problems. So, I allowed myself a bit more slack on this one to pick out sources that fit thematically even if they didn’t have exactly the right words in the titles or whatever. I also didn’t do as much “chopping” on this one as I did with the first episode. The first episode sounds a bit more like what ransom notes look like: cut and chopped and glued together in all sorts of crazy styles. But I tried to let this one have longer, clearer segments. Again, I’m still experimenting; feel free to send feedback if you like one style or the other.

Thanks for listening! Black lives matter!