#75 Deep and dark
We're in too deep.
This week in The Audit: dark, restless, buried stuff. Also, biscuits.
Your devoted friends,
If you have a gap in your listening schedule for articulate writers conversing on American history, culture and politics, you'll want to fill it with this, a new podcast from the iconic magazine. The Atlantic was first published in 1857. As then-managing editor Cullen Murphy wrote in 1994, "Railroads did not yet cross the North American continent ... The publication of Darwin's Origin of Species was two years away ... Abraham Lincoln in 1857 was no more widely known nationally than any former one-term Congressman is today." The Atlantic's wide lens on the nation's history lends it an informed perspective on, and genuine stake in, America's present. Two episodes to date have explored, through discussions among the magazine's editors and contributors, the evolution of American exceptionalism and the waning of religious faith; both instalments were relentlessly interesting. New episodes drop Fridays.
Gateway episode: One Nation Under God? (28 Jul 2017)
From: The Atlantic
This eerie portrait of a small-town family - and the investigation of their mass murder - is a compelling offering from Martin Van Beynen, who's been reporting (sometimes controversially) on this case for years. The killing of the Bain family in 1994 shocked New Zealand, as did the prosecution of the man accused, and eventually acquitted, of the murders - the family's eldest son. A reserved, well-spoken amateur thespian, David does not immediately strike one as a killer. Nor does the only other possible suspect, the family patriarch, Robin. This 10-part unpicking of the events leading up to and following the crime is packed with satisfying circumstantial detail, and Van Beynen's decisive weighing-in is a refreshing departure from the "I guess we'll never really know" conclusions we've come to expect from long-form true crime (though it's marred in the final episode by rather disingenuous calls for the already-closed case to be put to rest; why, then, make a podcast about it?). Despite that, it's good and absorbing listening, with all episodes available now.
Gateway episodes: 1. House of horrors (23 Jul 2017)
Released: Concluded, 10 parts
The Turnaround, Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux makes his living by asking probing questions of characters on the fringes. Typically operating in a mode of disarming, gentle puzzlement, he is able to build rapport with Neo-Nazis, Scientologists, and porn stars alike. In this episode of podcast mogul Jesse Thorn's "interviews about interviewing" show, Thorn attempts to peel back Theroux's non-threatening exterior (akin to, as he puts it, "Harry Potter meets Jon Ronson") to reveal the curious, analytical personality within. Theroux, in turn, shares tricks of the trade, including when and how to be silent.
From: Maximum Fun
Released: 28 Jul 2017
The International Worldwide Global Biscuit Review Podcast
One thing the British can agree on is the importance of tea: as an effective cure-all, sustaining life force, and pure moral good. Tea, in all respects, is followed closely by biscuits (aka cookies), which brings us seamlessly to this fortnightly show from the creators of the delightful audio drama MarsCorp. In each episode, David and David rate a biscuit on scales of taste, structure and dunkability, extracting philosophical and cultural truths in the process. Episode 1 assessed the chocolate digestive, Britain's Ur-biscuit, while Episode 2 faces the Oreo (as one David muses: "Maybe, like America, it's better as a promise."). Extremely silly, obviously.
Gateway episode: Oreos (31 Jul 2017)
From: Definitely Human
Issa Rae Presents ... Fruit
This first-person account of a professional footballer's exploration of his sexuality is an odd bird. It purports to be based on true events, but it's actually fiction, conceived by writer and actress Issa Rae. It's direct to the point of naivety, presented as a kind of journal. It's unflinchingly erotic. And, setting aside the form, its content steps outside the ordinary bounds of audio narrative, drawing us into the hyper-competitive, hyper-masculine world of pro football. Negotiating that world only becomes more complicated when the anonymous protagonist, X, a rookie on the rise, begins to explore his feelings for men. Originally produced as an Earwolf exclusive, Season 1 of Fruit is now available everywhere.
Gateway episode: 1st & 10 (18 Jul 2017)
From: Issa Rae
Released: Season 1 concluded
ReplyAll / Long Distance, Part II
Radiolab / Breaking News
Homecoming / 9. Believer
The Untold / 31/07/2017
Love Me / Old Wounds
This Is Happening / What if the worst thing ...
Earshot / The hoarder, the daughter, the lover and the wife