This is kind of a weird post. For starters, I don’t know where to put it: Americana, Life? It doesn’t fit any of my current blog categories. I guess, I’ll put it in “Life” since most of what I’ll be telling you here actually happened in my life, to me.
The second reason this post will be a bit weird is that I’m going to do something different. But, I’m way ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
About a couple of months ago, my husband, who is a podcast fanatic, insisted that I listen to a new podcast he was listening to and loving. Considering the title of this post, you might think that the podcast he was talking about was Serial. He wasn’t. My husband was talking about a podcast called StartUp.
I said that I would listen to it and then forgot about it, or rather purposely pushed it to the back of my mind. My husband usually likes to listen to podcasts about money, the economy, and investing. While I welcome anything that can explain financial issues to me in simple terms, I’d rather be reading about politics or technology, or watching TV series. This I do continuously, not only for entertainment but also for source information for the posts I write on this blog.
But, one day about a month ago, I decided to give StartUp a try. I felt saturated with politics and current events. Since I was in the car going to run some errands, I couldn’t read or watch TV. Besides I leave my TV series-watching for when I’m on the elliptical machine at the gym (this way I feel less guilty about the many hours I spend watching TV). So yes, it was the perfect time to check out my husband’s latest discovery.
I got immediately hooked. So much so, that I decided that I wanted to write a post about it, although it remains unwritten for reasons that you will soon know. Around the same time, I was contacted by the creator of a new web series who wanted me to take a look at her show and see if I wanted to feature it on Opinionista.
Suddenly, I realized that I needed to do something about my categories. “Television” was too limiting. I needed to change it to “Entertainment.” This would allow me to include more than just TV reviews, like web series and movies. But, where would I put my post on the StartUp podcast? It didn’t feel right to stick it in “Entertainment.” Most podcasts that interest me, although done in a very entertaining way, are rather informative. Could I call a political podcast “entertainment”? Only if it was on Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or the latest GOP nonsense. But, to be honest, I could have sarcastically labeled all that “entertainment” in the past, when it used to make me laugh. These days, I no longer find any of it funny. Instead, it is just very sad.
But, wait! Did this mean that I was I seriously considering opening up a “Podcast” section by itself? Would I have enough material to feed this section? In other words, where was I going to find the time during the day to listen to podcasts? I was in the middle of this decision-making process when I fell upon this article from The Verge Why you need to listen to Serial and what to read once you start. I found it at 9:01 a.m. on Thursday morning. By 3:00 p.m. on Friday, I had mostly binge-listened to the entire 12-episode podcast, around 12 hours.
The result was that I didn’t write the Friday OpinionList post, although I had spent the whole week collecting articles for it. I didn’t go to the gym either Thursday or Friday morning. In fact, I stayed in my pajamas for most of the day, on both days. I did my Twitter #FF mentions at 9:00 p.m on Friday night when I usually do them by 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. I sent my husband an email to his work with a link to The Verge Serial article telling him that he absolutely had to listen to the podcast. On Saturday, on our way to a restaurant for a family lunch, I re-listened to a few segments on some of the episodes and wrote notes on the notebook that I always keep in my purse.
In other words, if you haven’t listened to Serial yet, know that once you start it’s basically impossible to stop. I am so grateful that I had all 12 episodes at my fingertips. I cannot imagine how listeners who followed the podcast on a weekly basis during 13 weeks, Oct 3 to Dec 18 (one week off for Thanksgiving), were able to survive the once-a-week format.
If you haven’t yet listened to Serial you might not know that it is the most downloaded podcast in the history of podcasts. CNN reports 40 million downloads as of December 23, 2014 and according to The Wall Street Journal,
It’s quickly become the most popular podcast in the world, according to Apple, and the fastest to reach 5 million downloads and streams in iTunes history. “Serial” is the top podcast in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, and in the top 10 in Germany, South Africa and India.
Serial is about Hae, a 17-year old high-school student who was murdered in 1999, Adnan her ex-boyfriend convicted for the murder and currently serving a life sentence, and Sarah Koenig, the journalist who undertakes a one-year investigation into the case. She examines how the case was handled and mishandled, and shares with us her back-and-forth thoughts on Adnan’s innocence or guilt. It’s simply addictive.
Now, here’s where I’m going to do the “something different” that I spoke about at the beginning of this post. You know how when you start reading a review about a TV series, for example, you get to a point in the text that says, “Spoilers ahead, stop reading if you haven’t watched….”? For me, that’s already too late. As much as I try not to, my eyes keep looking beyond that point, skimming the text, and finding out something I’m not yet supposed to know.
Yes, “spoiler” is definitely a great term and it’s the reason why I decided to write this pre-post on Serial. If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, I didn’t want you to be able to find my thoughts about what happened on this post. I just wanted you to know how I discovered it, that I loved it, that you should listen to it, and to warn you about its addictive properties.
If you have listened to the podcast, and want to know what I think about the specifics, click here. By the way, you will notice that while I put this pre-post in “Life,” the actual Serial review post is in this blog’s “Americana” section. Serial is by the producers of “This American Life” on NPR, it’s about a murder in an American town, involving American high-school students, and the American legal system. So “Americana” is the most logical place at this point since I still haven’t had time to decide what to do about the blog categories. I am sure that this will change in the future. When? I’m not sure. Maybe as soon as I stop obsessing over Serial.