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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Of PBS, Podcasts and Polioed Presidents

The class my friend Jenn is teaching at RISD is getting curiouser and curiouser.

I have to admit, I had a few reservations early on. The class is titled “Writing Comedy for New Media”, and a few weeks ago, we produced a piece in newspaper style.

(Seriously — newspapers! In this day and age! I thought, what’s next — telling Conan monologues in smoke signals? Dirty Latin limericks? Dick jokes in Morse code?)

“On the other hand, if you’ve ever wondered, “what would a slightly younger, goofier, potty-mouthed and still-breathing Andy Rooney sound like on my laptop speakers?” — well, today’s your lucky day.”

Happily, dabbling in dying media was just a warmup. And now, the class is stretching in ways I’ve not personally stretched before.

(Which is not to say that I’ve told dirty limericks in Latin, necessarily, either.

I was always partial to Sanskrit for that sort of thing.)

This week, we’re exploring the world of podcasting. Which is sort of a new medium/old medium thing, I suppose, since it’s basically amateur self-published radio that any schmoe can broadcast.

And now this schmoe has done it. Which only proves my point.

So, if you like, feel free to read the post below, which is approximately the contents of the podcast, give or take a stutter.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever wondered, “what would a slightly younger, goofier, potty-mouthed and still-breathing Andy Rooney sound like on my laptop speakers?” — well, today’s your lucky day. Just click this link right here to find out:

PBS – Yer Doin’ It Wrong Podcast

As for me, I’m not sure I’d have dipped a toe into the podcasting stream, were it not for this class. You can thank or curse Jenn for that, as you see fit.

But if someone had told me my first podcast would include Carl Sagan and Nazis and Salma Hayek and Sesame Street? Yeah. That sounds about right. The more the medium changes, the more things stay the same.

PBS – Yer Doin’ It Wrong

As I get older, I find there are some things you never grow out of. You wish you’d grow out of them, but you don’t. Your pants, yes. The things you wish, not so much.

For one thing, I’m as much of a nerd as I ever was. Probably more. I watch more PBS now than when I was twelve and my parents made me watch Masterpiece Theater so I’d have some “culture”.

The culture didn’t take, clearly. But I still watch the geeky shows. So nobody’s happy.

Personally, I blame Carl Sagan. He’d go on about these “billions and billions of stars”, and made it seem like entertainment instead of learning. Otherwise, I’d have probably dumped PBS when I figured out nobody was ever going to acknowledge the existence of Snuffleupagus. I mean, you expect that kind of thing from Mr. Hooper. But Gordon? Maria? That still pisses me off.

Also, Carl Sagan would probably shit a supernova in his coffin if he knew he was a gateway for people like me watching Fawlty Towers and Antiques Roadshow reruns. That’s probably not quite what he had in mind. But there’s educational stuff still on PBS.

Just last night, I watched this show called “Behind the Doors of World War II“. I don’t know what I expected to be “Behind the Doors of World War II“. Nazis, maybe? I mean, they were pretty much in front of the doors of World War II, so that wouldn’t exactly be a big reveal.

You sort of lose the element of surprise when everyone’s been talking about what you did for seventy years. I’ve been to Berlin. Even there, they don’t walk around going, “Nein! Ze butler did it!

So I don’t know why I watched it. But I watched it — for two whole hours. And they covered a bunch of interesting things that apparently happened during the war — not just the dusty old facts we learned in school.

Or were supposed to learn, but didn’t. Like, apparently, Italy was involved in this thing for a while? And atom bombs? And I guess we pulled it out in the end? News to me. I guess you miss a lot when you sleep through five semesters of freshman History.

Anyway, the show was interesting. The main focus seemed to be that world leaders are kind of assholes like the rest of us. Which again is not exactly a shocker. But it turns out Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin didn’t much like each other. And they lied a lot. And did some pretty nasty stuff.

See, that I knew. Josef Stalin, not a standup meet-your-parents kind of guy? Yeah. I got that. I didn’t sleep through that many classes.

The weirdest thing for me was the actor playing FDR. I saw this guy in some other movie a while back, and he played the villain. Real smug, douchy kind of guy. So every time Roosevelt rolled on screen — right, the guy I’m supposed to be rooting for, in a wooden wheelchair, for crissakes — all I can think is, “Nah. Screw this guy. He’s an asshole.

So it was kind of conflicting. It could’ve been worse — they didn’t cast Salma Hayek as Hitler or anything — but it was still a little weird.

Hey, I said I still watch PBS. I never said I did it right.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Of PBS, Podcasts and Polioed Presidents”

  1. ema says:

    Great record, I closed my eyes I could see you sitting there in your rugby pajama! I wished more technical pauses to grasp some jokes better, but that’s me and my wheelchaired english. If I’ll ever start I’ll go audio, I type to slow. There’s a fact though, with a text you can skip paragraphs very easily (I SWEAR I’VE never DONE IT, I mean never more than a couple of times per post).

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