‘My dad wrote a porno’ is regressive and oddly dark

Podcast review: ‘Dear Prudence’ is a wise listen while ‘I Only Listen to The Mountain Goats’ is heartening

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine read and analyse ‘My dad wrote a porno’

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine read and analyse ‘My dad wrote a porno’

 

My Dad Wrote A Porno

Episode 1: The Interview
Jamie Morton’s dad wrote and self-published an erotic novel. Now, that self-published erotic novel has launched a three-season-long podcast series wherein Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine read and analyse the masterpiece in question. As one would imagine, a group of people giving a dramatic reading and breakdown of a piece of self-published erotica is skin-crawlingly uncomfortable, which is the opposite effect I want when I have headphones in.

“What do you think when you think your Dad wrote that sentence?” asks Levine, after a particularly biologically inaccurate description of the protagonist’s genitals. Laughing at descriptions of women’s bodies is regressive, regardless of who wrote said descriptions and whether they’re very good at writing or not. There is, of course, a broad appeal in the absurdity here and a shock-laugh factor works for many listeners. But there is also something deeply mean-spirited in group of adults procedurally mocking an (albeit deeply problematic in itself) expression of someone’s sexuality.

Certainly, the text of the novel is absurd, but most pornography is absurd. There’s an oddly dark tone too: the mother is only mentioned very briefly, like a shocked bystander. It feels like they’re shaming Morton’s dad for even trying, and I was left feeling sorry for both him and Morton’s mother rather than as amused at the lark of it all as the hosts seem to be. Listen here.

Dear Prudence

The Drama Tornado Edition
Mallory Ortberg, former editor of The Toast and author of such classic internet articles as “Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, and “Bible Verses Where ‘Behold’ Has Been Replaced With ‘Look, Buddy’ ”, is Slate’s resident agony aunt. Ortberg is charming, bright and genuinely wise: a rare presence. Last week’s episode was extremely heavy-going, dealing with incidents of a husband cheating while his wife was pregnant and the process of gender transition during a weighty legal case. But this week, Ortberg and the guest host, novelist Sarah Gailey, dive right into the complexities of handling shared laundry facilities with neighbours in an apartment building.

The advice is buoyant and useful, and is still funny without being an hour-long improv show. Even when the questions get tougher than just laundry, our prudent answer-givers remind the question-askers to look at the big picture, and are non-judgmental in their stance. They don’t always agree 100 per cent with one another, but having two copped-on people working out an answer to a tough (or silly) question makes for a really comforting listen. Listen here.

New Podcast Of The Week:

I Only Listen to The Mountain Goats
Episode 1: The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton

Joseph Fink, novelist and one of the writers of Welcome To Nightvale, is meeting his hero. He’s about to hang around with John Darnielle, of American indie folk band The Mountain Goats. This podcast, only four episodes deep, is about where being a fan of art and making art intersect – and what it is to talk with someone you admire about work they made that changed your life, or was with you through pivotal times. It’s a close conversation about music without being too dense on the theory. For example, a chat about changing the tuning of a guitar becomes a kind of metaphor for leaping out of your comfort zone as an artist.

Fink has also invited celebrities who are fans of The Mountain Goats to join the conversation. John Green, internationally best-selling author, guests on this first episode. The title track is played at the beginning of the show, but at the end we are treated to a cover, by Laura Jane Grace. The track is played twice, in two very different ways – a gorgeous exercise in interpretation.

It can feel like an intimidating listen if you’ve never listened to The Mountain Goats, but this is a great place to start: close up, intimate and heartening. Listen here.

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