Because I'm interested in making a series of podcasts for my final activism project, I made a podcast for my final webevent.
Attaching the script may actually be the best because it actually holds more content within it than the podcast itself (there way a lottt of editing involved).
Here's the script:
When I first started off with this podcast, I was going to speak about the difference between the stage directions “pause” and “silence” in the play Wating for Godot, but as you can tell, I had a little trouble trying articulate anything meaningful.
I’ve made a couple of recordings and youtube videos in the past, and I want to be able to say that you eventually get used to it—but I can only partially partake in that that claim.
To be sure, there are a couple of things on that list I’m used to: I’m no longer embarrassed by the way my voice sounds outside my own head, and I’m much more okay with making mistakes on the camera—after all, that’s what editing for.
But without fail, I still fall into the same trap that I think gets a lot of us: the one where you get caught up in each syllable you utter, the amount of air you take in through your lungs, and the weight of each word that leaves your lips. The trap of being overwhelming self-consciousness about your own vocal speech patterns.
As I say all of this and create this podcast, I can’t help but feel a certain tinge of guilt—a guilt that undeniably stems from meeting Christine Sun Kim this past week. Here she is, discussing the lack of ownership she has over sound, while I’m using a medium of communication that hinges on those very sound waves. Not only that, but I’m whining about how I don’t like it. You know how you think about the starving kids in Africa after you look in your fully stocked pantry and say there’s nothing to eat? Yeah.
After about 12 attempts at an introduction, I took a break —I didn’t feel like dealing with the anxiety and trepidation that laced all those recordings. Instead, I went to the kitchen and griped to my roommate about voice recordings. “I could share a few stories about that” she said. Break was over soon after.
[Introduce conversation with Gilly]
Beyond being my roommate, Gilly is my best friend, and since we’re so comfortable with each other, I thought that our conversation would succeed where I alone had failed. But the conversation wasn’t fluid, light and colloquial, as per usual; instead, there was a certain amount of staleness to our words, and it’s evident in our recording together. Fortunately, we still managed to get something out of it—here’s Gilly’s last statement: [statement acknowledging having a recorder makes us inevitably perform]
In the most straight forward way possible, Gilly says what is blaringly obvious about what makes us so uncomfortable when we put ourselves in front of a camera or recorder: there’s no one physically there, but we still feel the pressure of a studio audience before us.
So here I was, introducing viewers to our typically private and intimate conversations.
I stopped the tape recorder, and merely said, “that was weird”.
What I really should’ve said was “that was really insincere”
By making this podcast, I am now coming to terms with what we are signing up for when we share our voices. In the essay, “Advertencia/Warning”, one of the main points made is how people feel entitled to intimacy when you share your words. And I quote “readers feel entitled to know everything as they approach a text, practically any text, with the conspiratorial intimacy of a potential partner.” (ix) People tend to get greedy as an audience, expecting you to share each gasp of air you take in. All for the sake of getting to know you closer, all for the sake of establishing a relationship over the radio waves.
So I think I need to remind myself that there’s a definite price to being recorded. As Christine Sun Kim quotes in her own thesis that “the medium of sound…carries a lot of… currency”. I can’t help but feel a little strange for using a friend to serve the ends of making myself feel more comfortable in front of an audience. There I was, bartering an intimate relationship in exchange for being comfortable around viewers. So she’s right—sound and the words it carries does carry a lot of value, but sometimes, we sell things through sound that we probably shouldn’t.
As I’m about to bring this to a close, I realize that I’ve never explicitly addressed the web event topic: My answer is that the past couple of weeks have made me realize how much silence in all its forms is devalued, and how much we’re willing to put a lot on the line to abide by this cultural norm. The readings, visitors, online posts, and our conversations have all pointed to this, but maybe more surprisingly, so does this podcast. Instead of remaining silent, here I am. Recording awkward conversations with my friends, putting myself through listening to myself stutter over and over again, and pushing my way through all the uncomfortableness associated with making this damn thing—all for the sake of putting together a podcast for 20 some people to listen to. I invested well over 3 pages worth of time into it—and it’s all because I’d rather be heard than be silent.