This is tangential to podcasts and everything else we typically discuss, but I really loved the descriptions in this paragraph from this September piece in the New Yorker by Hua Hsu, on sports and politics:
I often wonder why I’ve spent so many hours, sometimes in cars that have long since reached their destination, listening to strangers argue about Carmelo Anthony’s defensive effort, or the size of Barry Bonds’s head. Sports talk remains one of America’s last folk traditions, rigid in its regional devotions and hyper-local mythologies. As I’ve grown older, the bro-centric world view has become off-putting, and yet I still listen. I delight in how pedantic and technical these conversations can be, the conviction and force driving a wacky, pie-in-the-sky trade proposal, the way a host surgically pokes and prods at a caller’s logical fallacy. I love how two people try to outfox each other, rephrasing the interlocutor’s positions to make them sound ridiculous. Ultimately, no amount of reason or passion has any effect on the games we watch. The arguments are almost always infinitely regressive, and anyone’s opinion on Mantle vs. Mays is legitimate. What separates the professional talker from the amateur is a kind of ruthlessness, bringing to a conversation the win-at-all-costs ethic of actual sports.
I find the idea of sports talk radio as one of America’s last folk traditions quite compelling, even moving. Also, applicable to political talk radio, or talk radio as an entire category.