I’m a big fan of the MaximumFun.org family of podcasts and have been listening to them religiously for roughly the last year and a half. I think Jesse Thorn, the proprietor of MaximumFun.org, is a really smart host, conducts an excellent interview, and is quite funny. (In particular, I enjoy Jesse’s show Bullseye, from which incidentally, I used the Niles Rodgers interview from last year to talk about oral history and demonstrate Jesse’s incisive interview technique with my students.)
One of Jesse’s many hats in the MaxFun podcast world involves serving as the bailiff on the Judge John Hodgman podcast where he introduces the case, interjects witty commentary, and hypes other MaxFun shows during breaks. In the most recent episode, Jesse introduced a new MaxFun podcast called “The Memory Palace,” which is a history themed podcast done by a producer named Nate DiMeo. I’ve only listened to one episode, but really enjoyed DiMeo’s fluid segues from a personal memory to a historical episode about a famous 19th c. singer on a tour to considerations about the impact of technology on how much we can know about the past in a pre-recording era.
While all that introductory gobbledygook is interesting (and I’ve given you a treasure trove of links to explore. You’re welcome!), that’s not why I’ve called you here today. No, the reason for this post has to do with an off-handed comment Jesse made when talking about The Memory Palace and why it’s worth listening to. Without further ado, an excerpt from Jesse Thorn:
I really couldn’t care less about history. I think I’ll need to be fifty years old and hate my wife more before I start watching the History Channel or whatever…
Yes! Triumph! While I’ll make no claims to be shaping public perception of this blog’s nom de bête noire, it is nice to see that other folks out there have the same sense that the entirety of history is not what gets broadcast on second tier subscription cable channels.