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January 17th, 2009

on the virtue of documentary audio

I woke early this morning and listened to a podcast called the Something Beautiful Podcast. I had "met" one of the fellows who moderates it through the Twitter micro-weblogging process. He had mentioned the podcast to me when he expressed a fondness for my EP "Seven Virtues".

I gave a listen to this week's edition of the podcast today. The podcast proved to be an interview with a set of young Scots who are training to be youth ministers. The podcast appealed to me because instead of providing me with a lot of dogma and creed and evangelical salesmanship, the podcast just featured these young adults discussing their lives and how they experience their work.

This, to me, is part and parcel of the same "new media" functions that motivate LiveJournal, Twitter, and a host of other social media.
It's a recognition that there is an alternative to the "trickle down" theory of culture held by a wide variety of people coming from all sides of the "politico-cultural" spectrum. I am one of those who advocates the "percolate up" way of connecting to one another.

Personally, I'd rather listen to four young people tell me in a documentary fashion about their lives than to a world of more formal and doctrinal things. It doesn't matter that my theology might differ from theirs, or that we are all just frail reeds rather than experts or theologians.

I listen to, and enjoy, podcasts in which "thought leaders" tell me novel facts I already know about the internet. I also love "gadget" shows, about green things and new bike designs and curious music controllers.

But there is something to be said for the gentle rhythm of ordinary speech--and for using the internet as a picture-window into worlds a bit removed from my own.

kingfisher


My Inner Universe Expands, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

The weather warmed sufficiently to permit me to hike Trinity Trail today.
I saw plethoras of robins and red-winged blackbirds, as well as sparrows and a very delightful and somewhat colorful kingfisher.
The grasses in the fields along the trail were an appealing yellow-brown.

We went tonight to the movie Frost/Nixon, a wonderful and witty small film about a time now too often forgotten. Frank Langella brings very little resemblance to the table, but found a Nixon interpretation which effectively set up the movie's premise. Rather like the opera Doctor Atomic, the movie mixes real-life quotes with imagined conversations to give sense of context to recent history. How quickly Nixon slipped from our consciousness--when we should never forget what abuse of power can mean.

We dined at a Mediterranean buffet, and talked to our friends of economic crises, real-life soap operas, the inexplicably broad and deep moral failure of our financial system's professionals, and the excitement and daunting challenge of the coming years.