STEVENS Doing a lot of this stuff seems like homework to us, whether it is interesting or fun homework. Ever since we are stuck at home, I find myself less likely to do some new stuff in my head, because I am not short for things to see. In a way I got nervous when someone came to me saying, “You have to discover this great Swedish Weimo series!” Someone just advised me. And it looked amazing. But a part of me thought, what am I going to do with my free time? Instead of having more confusion of meaning and words and thoughts in my mind, just try to tell what is already there in detail?
Turner I mean, it is such a privilege that a job is where I really matter as work. [In addition to co-hosting the “Gabfest,” Turner is a deputy managing editor for The Los Angeles Times.] But I reserve the corners of my brain for the consumption of culture that is hard to turn into work. We don’t do many books on the show, because that’s a lot to ask the audience, but I’m either leaning into hybrid thriller mysteries or literature with strong plot elements, because I just want to be drawn into another world .
METCALF I am the opposite of Julia.
Turner He is our complete century.
METCALF I am a human being, he is a robot.
Turner I love people, she is a snob.
METCALF No, but I am very strange. And I always risk getting completely off the axis of contemporary life. So doing this podcast has anchored me in everything that everyone is watching and talking about the ways that I am incredibly grateful for. Because what I do now in my spare time, if I was not doing a podcast, what would I do with all my time, read essay after essay on the state of nature and neoliberalism. Right now i am reading hebermas 1980 Lectures on the nature of modernity.
Does it ever seem strange, or out of mouth, to spend your time with art, or asking other people to do the same, amidst many overlapping social crises? Do you ever feel uncomfortable?
Turner I think that we experience in-depth most of the time, so I don’t know that it was a change. A podcast is fundamentally optional listening for those who find it valuable. For me, one of the most special things this year was that it was like the first pan-human event. The first global event where everyone was suffering from the same problem at the same time and we had instantaneous communication. To the extent that art is basically about being ingrained with being, and the question of what it means to be human, it seemed necessary to me. It was as relevant as it ever was.