I have been caught between two topics this week, the ever-present strikes bearing down on the film industry and talking about the pandemic of loneliness. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes don’t directly affect me at this moment, my home is in the theatre and honestly, I don’t watch much TV or many films anymore. However, the fact is that any entertainment industry strike does affect me by way of my friends being out of work, and the whole of the media staring down constant existential threats. Theatre has been dying for 5000 years, I guess we shouldn’t stop now.
If you want to know more about the strike, check out Adam Conover, he’s been putting out some great content. For now, if you’re not a part of the strike you can support strikers by joining a picket line with SAG or with the WGA, streaming, going to movies, and at the absolute very least paying attention. For now, there’s no call to boycott. As far as I understand it, these strikes currently do not affect podcast land in any way other than actors cannot appear on podcasts to promote work. (I'm sorry if you're one of those podcasts).
So far, these existential threats to the industry have been faced by others and will be faced by more in the future. I'm not afraid of artificial intelligence, I'm sad that it's being used to prevent artists from doing art, one of the most human things we have.
Then there’s the thought of this quiet, pandemic of loneliness. I was going to talk about being kind to each other, but the strike makes me think about how lonely I would still be if it weren't for the media I consume. When I sew a big project I love to have Downton Abbey on in the background, because the storyline and characters are familiar friends. When I’m home and my partner has a 14-hour day, I love having podcasts to keep me company as I clean. Especially because, at least to me, listening to podcasts is such a solitary activity. It’s intimate to your own body and self with headphones. So much so that I notice a huge difference between the connection when it’s in my earbuds or on a speaker in my home.
Listening via my earbuds keeps being alone from turning into loneliness. I admit, I started listening to podcasts in part because I once felt wrong, and so alone in my own skin. If I threw on a podcast like one of the ones I have linked below, I at least knew someone out there was curious about the same things I am, and maybe even more so than I am.
Which isn’t a solution for loneliness, but it’s a bandaid or a start down a path. I like to say 'Be confident in your curiosity" because I haven't always been confident. I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with myself, and I still do. Mostly, that was having to grow up and figure out who I am. Through college, I grew up a little, and after, I grew up a lot more. I’m in a better place and I’ve found my voice and this passion for podcasts. I’ve always liked being alone, but I used to feel lonely in stretches of alone time. Now? I like being alone because I come to know I’m in good company the rest of the time. When I get back together with other people, I’ll have something to talk about with them - whether it be a podcast or book, or the rare television show or movie.
So I guess that brings me back to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Podcasting isn’t affected in a blanket way, but what happens when we have no new shows? No new movies? There’s only so much of a backlog, and sure, streaming companies could negotiate rights and bring things out of the vault left and right - but that’s not new and exciting to talk about, or it’ll just get old. People can read books, and listen to podcasts, but there’s still something special about sitting down with someone and exploring a new show in real-time. So I hope the strike ends with gains for those who create what we consume, and then we can continue to support the people who make these works of art we rely on so much.
I’ve been listening to secret podcasts this week, so I can’t really talk about them yet. Instead, I wanted to give you a list of my go-to podcasts for when I’m lonely. They are very much for me, but I like to share them.
Podcasts That Make Me Not So Lonely
Honestly, there are so many more! Podcasts are a piece of my puzzle, and I really hope you find whatever is a piece of yours.
I'm going to be listening and writing a lot over the next few days to hopefully go a little off-grid next week as I have my family reunion. This post was late because I've been trying to get a lot of listening, and general wellness in. If you have any podcasts you think will get me and The Other through an eleven-hour drive, be sure to comment and let me know!