I’ve been so overwhelmed by the amount of good will I’ve had coming from listeners that it’s nice to be reminded that we really are still on the Internet. Thanks, Internet!
My motivator for this quick post, however, is not Ernie’s complaint, but today’s challenge to our whole format (Comments #22 and #23 here), where an anonymous gentleman scolds us for talking about ourselves too long before getting into the actual discussion (among some other helpful comments).
Now, I’m not a particularly patient consumer. When it comes to podcasts, I generally listen on double speed to things, and pretty freely skip ahead (not sure why this guy didn’t just do that). I also believe, when it comes to philosophy, of taking it and making it yours; what you do with it is more important than being a good scholar. What we do is not a formal lecture, but something else, that may not be for everyone.
I do, however, enjoy some long podcasts of people just goofing around, and have even spent some quality time with talk radio in my day, so that’s where I’m coming from. I’m sure if we prepared in the manner of teaching a class, we’d have a different, and possibly a more useful, product. While I hope that we do a reasonably good job of introducing these thinkers, ultimately what we do is not consumer-oriented: it’s us, having a conversation, trying to articulate things. This conversation has stretched over three and a half years and this point, and my tendency to understand new things by referring them to other things that I already understand does produce a flurry of references to other episodes that would likely appear to be name-dropping to someone who’s new to it. I don’t begrudge anyone who doesn’t feel the need to enter into that ongoing discussion sufficiently to get much out of it.
I do find the contours of an individual intellectual life as interesting as the topics themselves. People’s experiences as they realize or fail to realize philosophical insights in their lives are interesting to me. When you debate with someone on a regular basis, you get to notice their ticks, their blockages, their pet issues, and unless the person is an unbearable crank (as we all are on some subjects), then these become part of the pleasure of it. I’d like to think we provide a few models to engage with that, by most standards, are not too shabby, and yet you can always click it off if it smells funny and retreat to the comfort of your own deliberations.
So: Is it the thought? The philosophy bite, as it were? Or is it the thinker, as Nietzsche thought (meaning that whether someone accepts an idea has more to do with his or her temperament than anything else, in which case being exposed to our temperaments over time would be beneficial in getting the feel of the overall conversation)? Or rather, the thinker with the thought (so we needn’t analyze, say, Regis and/or Kelly). Does it actually serve some purpose to leave a 10-minute intro to an episode, or are you folks the all-business type who would prefer your free entertainment cut into more independently edible pieces?
Thanks, as always, for your indulgence,
P.S. The image used here was swiped from here.