With the combination of my iPod suffering a meltdown and the Christmas holiday, I must admit that I am way behind on my podcast listening. While trying to catch up, I ran across yet another bit of “controversy” involving the PodFathers, Dave Winer and Adam Curry.
Apparently in a recent episode, Adam excerpted some bits from Yeast Radio, starring Madge Weinstein. Adam also conducted an interview with Madge.
The only problem is: Madge is just an act.
Actually, that’s not the problem. The real problem is their reaction to this “revelation”. I say “revelation” in quotes because I want to know who can listen to this podcast and be left with anything other than the certainty that this is a satire?
Apparently not content with looking merely foolish, Dave and Adam went off on a full-on rant in their Trade Secrets podcast, claiming that Yeast Radio wasn’t “appropriate podcast material”, and dismissing it with a f*ck you.
If I was charitable, I’d say they are just being asses to drive more traffic to their podcasts and more attention to their efforts. It’s dishonest and childish to behave that way, but it is perhaps possible to understand why grown men might react so childishly to the revelation of their own guillibility. But they assure us that that is not the case: that they are instead trying to enforce some kind of podcast ethic involving disclosure.
But if we assume that they are telling the truth as to their motives, they are guilty of a greater bit of stupidity: trying to act as the thought police for the podcasting world.
If we are charitable (and I’m less inclined to be so as time goes on and incidents like this mount), Dave and Adam together invented podcasting. But like all creative endeavors, just because you invented something doesn’t give you any special moral authority over it. You don’t get to be the king makers: listeners will do that. If someone wants to create a satirical radio show, I don’t think they should be forced to include some disclaimer to it to make it obvious to the slow witted that it is satire. If someone wants to create an entirely fictional podcast, describing their entirely fictional life, I don’t think they should have to get special exemptions. If someone later feels betrayed that the individual they thought exists is actually just a character, well, then golly, they can stop listening.
I’d stopped paying any attention to Dave Winer’s Scripting News when he decided to whimper and cry about the injustice of people not kissing his ass on New Years Eve, and Adam is following closely behind. It’s too bad, really. When their podcasts really were about doing something cool instead of providing a promotion machine for two individuals, it was a heck of a lot more interesting. Now we see just how bitter, angry, childish and downright foolish a nominally intelligent person can be.
You guys had a good idea, but it’s grown beyond the limitations of your vision. We don’t need your hardware, software, company, ideas or blessing to take it from here. My own sense of self worth is not tied to how many people download my podcast, or how many people consider me a pioneer, or how many BBC articles get written about me or how many times I appear on the Gillmor Gang. Most importantly, I don’t need your applause or your permission to do whatever the hell I want to.
Grow up. You are making the rest of us podcasters look bad.
Addendum: The Register had a nice article about the incident.