Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Virtually all of our readers already know that Glenn Reynolds and his lovely and talented co-host interviewed United States Circuit Judge Richard Posner on the subject of terrorism and its implications for the Constitution. Perhaps, however, you have not already listened to their podcast because you were waiting for my endorsement. If so, consider it endorsed. I have listened to perhaps six or eight editions of "The Glenn and Helen Show," and for my money this was the best of the lot. Click here for your choice of listening modalities, plus a round-up of links to related material.
The occasion for the interview is the publication of the prolific Judge Posner's most recent (and unbelievably timely) book, Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency. If the podcast is any indication, it will shake the assumptions of armchair lawyers on both the left and right. I am ordering it today.
I have only just begun listening to podcasts in their best format, on an iPod. Indeed, I bought my first iPod (other than a Nano, which I had filled up with songs) two weeks ago for the precise purpose of listening to "The Glenn and Helen Show" and other podcasts while at the gym, hiking through the woods, and driving long distances. On Monday, the last full day of my Adirondack vacation, I walked nine miles over hill and dale taking in TGAHS and various other podcasty delights. I'll never look back.
The great thing about podcasting is its tremendous flexibility. Unlike interviews for a broadcast medium, a podcast can be of any practical length. That gives the interviewer great latitude to run with the conversation. In some cases, Glenn and Helen drive an interview conventionally. In others, multiple guests happily natter away and we, like Glenn and Helen, are basically along for the ride. The interview of Judge Posner was basically a series of extemporaneous lectures on various aspects of the intersection of civil rights and the fight against terrorism. Glenn and Helen let the judge just talk because, well, Judge Posner is so damned articulate that letting him talk was best move. Very few mainstream media hosts have that self control, probably because the "profession" of journalism demands that they intervene. In this regard, podcasting is exactly analogous to blogging -- neither are as constrained in their content or dimensions as their mainstream media counterparts.
Told you my thoughts were banal.