The Art of Asking
What’s to say at the end of another long strange year, except that we’re in for another, and more after that? Normal has left the planet. As the wise political writer Walter Dean Burnham told Chris after November, 2016, we can’t go home again because home isn’t there anymore. Or, if you like your metaphors nautical, historian Jill Lepore says the ship of state has lurched and reeled: “liberals have neglected to trim the sails…conservatives have pulled up the ship’s planking, burned it and smashed the mast.”
We’re sailing through some rough seas for sure, but there we were every Thursday, your radio and podcast compass, holding our course, fighting the gale winds of fake news and the tsunami of media white noise that elevated every tweet, every insult, every indictment, to an SOS alert. All that cable news, all those tales told by stable geniuses and idiots alike; oh the fire and fury of it, signifying what? Maybe nothing?
We hope we helped you escape from time to time. Remember that happy place of Wakanda, far away from the crazy in DJT’s Washington, that perfect world free of racism, sexism, colonialism or oppression of any kind? And remember the forest bath we took among the trees with Richard Powers and those musical intermissions with Lenny Bernstein and Shostakovich?
The marvel might be that we talked about anything else. We cheered on the women heading to Washington, highlighted striking teachers and activists and workers of the world uniting in all kinds of movements, from gentrification to the tyranny of tech and the BS of bullshit jobs.
We remembered Phillip Roth, Whitey Bulger and that stud Studs Terkel, and we tried to bring Studs’ feeling tones into all the work we did. We celebrated the tenacity of the investigative journalist Sy Hersh, the artistry of the filmmaker Fred Wiseman and the awesome firepower of Serena!
We did a couple of Open Source Live events -with Steve Pinker, Zadie Smith and Chris Hedges, the doomiest, gloomiest guy we know and love.
We threw Karl Marx a 200th birthday party, marked the anniversary year of 1968 with shows about MLK, Vietnam, France, and one of our favorites, Astral Weeks, that cosmic accident that became one of the greatest albums of all times (at least according to this correspondent). We also quietly toasted the crystal anniversary (I checked) of podcasting. Fifteen years ago last July our intrepid host Chris Lydon and the tech wizard Dave Winer, made the world’s first podcast. All kinds of digital tools have been swallowed up by the tech monopolies, but podcasting remains open and free, so far anyway, and Dave would remind you it’s because it was designed that way.
There was too much fire and mud, too little water and too many storms, too many shootings (and way too many guns) and too many lost species. Who can forget Kavanaugh, the caravans and last year’s shitty media men? Boston lost the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes (a win in our books), but won the World Series: our hearts belong to you Mookie Betts. And, also with you Aretha, Anthony Bourdain, Joe Frank, Stan Lee, Harlan Ellison, Kate Spade, Delores O’Riordan. May you rest in peace.
And so as we pull into a safe port for some winter repairs and a bit of holiday cheer, it’s time to ask for your support for another year of Open Source. It’s a privilege to do this work, and we can’t do it without your help. We’re a small craft steered by a talented lean and mean crew: Captain Chris, first mate Mary, and deckhands Conor and Rebecca.
Please remember us as you make your year-end gifts. For Hubsters and travelers headed our way, we’ll thank you with some special discounts — on dinners at Henrietta’s Table and concerts at the Regattabar in Cambridge thanks to our friends at the Charles Hotel. A monthly commitment via Patreon is the best way to be part of our community, but you can make a one time gift or even send a check in the mail. All the details are here.
We’ll be back next year rested and ready to go with lots more arts, ideas and politics, more live events, more fun, more laughs.
Thank you for listening!
Happy New Year everyone!
Mary, Chris, Conor and Rebecca