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So I think I’m gonna start posting selected feedback from listeners here on the site. I keep getting interesting emails, many of which seem worthy of presentation, or, better yet, some kind of dialogue. I figured I’d share.
In the monologue for Episode 151 — Lesley Arfin, I read an email from a listener named Max. I then responded, broadly, to his feelings on Alt-Lit and my decision to include ‘internet writers’ on the show. He replied with the following dissent:
…you misunderstand me in drawing up an irrelevant dichotomy of “avant garde/experimentalism” vs. “tenured professors who are well-established.” While there are shades of truth for that dichotomy of artistic criticism in and of itself, and while evoking that dichotomy might have made you appear like somewhat of a ‘podcasting populist,’ it has nothing to do with my remarks on alt shit. The only distinction I care about is good literature and bad literature (and for Heaven’s sake please don’t bring up the “S” word [subjective]). The fact that all alt shit is virtually (no pun) the same homogenous dribble hardly makes it alternative anything. The flarf/blog/gif/Tao/whatever literature is all painfully removed from the reason literature lives now and will live in the future. In my opinion. So please don’t paint me as snobbish. I never said I wanted only Jonathan Franzens on your show nor do I think all young, experimental, multicultural writers embracing the changing landscape of media and culture are by default alt shitters. So let’s acknowledge that for all the variables and factorials that go into processing works of art, we can’t draw on naive opposites. Or if we are going to be naive, then let’s go all out and just talk about “good” and “bad.”
But you like some of alt lit. And there’s no arguing that. I respect your opinion.
And then another listener named Leah weighed in with some really kind words about the show. She writes:
I mentioned you in therapy was week. Ha! That must be weird knowing that you are being discussed in strangers’ therapy sessions. I told her, “I’ve been listening to this podcast where this guy interviews writers and barely talks about the books, instead asking all this biographical and life-related stuff and always in a way that feels interested and not nosy. Since listening to the interviews I’ve found myself to have more satisfying conversations because I am more willing to just ask people the things I’d like to know. And I find in my life, as on his show, people want to tell you things. They are just waiting to be asked.”
Being that my parents never ask me annnnnything personal, I thought that was how one was supposed to act! How fucking stifling and boring that was.
So, thank you for instructing me in how to do this. It’s such a gift!
That’s about as nice a thing as anyone has ever said to me about the program. If it can alleviate a little loneliness, if it can help people turn outward a bit more…nothing better than that. Thanks, Leah.
Note: If you have thoughts on the show and want to email me, the address is letters [at] otherpeoplepod [dot] com.