So, Big finally finished up our latest episode, Liz's "Cinezas and the Ash King." It's the first of our Broken Mirror stories, and it was a long time in coming. A long time to think about what the reaction might be.
You see, we recorded the show like we regularly do, with no real planning for what we'd say, and certainly no intention to offend anyone* . . . but I have issues and things I'm passionate about, and Big's got his own opinions, and the conversation followed an unknown path.
As soon as the microphone came off, Big started to worry. What if we had said something that would truly bother people, would piss them off enough to stop listening to the show, or worse, shout out their righteous indignation in our forums, causing either Big or I to be so hurt WE quit doing the show? Big reminded me that we had two forbidden subjects on our show: Politics and Religion. And we'd just mentioned both of them.
Even though it was late at night, Big and I spent another hour talking about how divisive those two topics are, and he brought up my George W. Bush-bashing in an episode a year ago, and how he very nearly deleted it from the show for fear of alienating listeners.
So we talked, and I started to worry, and he was already worried, and I started to get paranoid about what to do about it. Was just bringing up the subject enough to offend people? Would a disclaimer be alright? Would it be enough? Might people choose to be offended?
Well, Big asked listeners in public what they thought, and I emailed a couple of people close to the show to ask their advice. Liz was willing to jump on the grenade and have the episode not air because she thought (at least I believe she did) that it was her story that was outrageous rather than anything we might have said. But pretty much everybody said, "Go ahead and air it, after a disclaimer, and if people have a problem with it, the problem is theirs."
We have had headaches before due to statements on the show, but with no idea of what might happen, we forged on. We recorded an episode of That Gets My Goat inspired by an experience I had after work, and my hatred of the Lifetime Movie Network. We had a laugh, and I vented, and once it was done, and the heat of the moment had passed . . . I started to wonder again, if maybe this would be the show that folks would freak out about. Even though nobody listens to That Gets My Goat.
Well, the more I thought about it, the more worried I became. To me, context is a big deal--the kind of thing that everything hinges upon--but to a lot of people, there's no such things as circumstances and intention. Bad is bad, black is black, wrong is wrong, even if the picture is incomplete.
Ultimately, I decided to shelve the episode. I didn't set out to piss people off, but I didn't want any additional controversy or angry cowgirls on their moral high horses. I guess that was cowardly, but having not yet aired the potentially inflammatory Cinezas show, I was already in a sensitive place.
And I can always unshelve it later on.
It's nice to have a voice and a forum to speak, whether it's doing funny voices, making a statement, or just shooting the breeze. Big and I got together this week, and instead of complaining about things that upset us, we each talked about something positive(ish) that had been going on in our lives. I shared more than I had on the show before, and Big . . . well, he's just so darn handsome, isn't he?
I imagine those episodes will go over well.
I don't know if this blog entry was a worthwhile one or not. Perhaps I should've been more specific about statements made and worries I've felt, or maybe this wasn't necessary at all. Maybe nobody cares about the thought processes of a couple of podcasters.
If the latter's the case, though, I gotta wonder why you're reading this right now. Yes, sir, you.
Rish "Jean Doumanian" Outfield
*If you've listened to the episode, I really didn't cut much of what we said out. Maybe it was innocuous, but you really never know what will bother people.