Time shift

I listen to podcasts. A lot of podcasts, mainly in literature, culture, sports, and humor.

Recently, while listening to something on my iPod Touch, I accidentally hit the “2x” button, which I had not previously noticed, and the podcast began to play twice as fast (without shifting pitch).

Now I listen to most of my podcasts at double speed: I except the ones whose pleasure lies in the cadences of performance. I feel I’m losing almost nothing by speeding up, and what’s not to love about more podcasts?

The experience reminds me of the commonplace idea that people needed some time to realize that the medium of film could do a lot more than simply recording theatrical performances. In this case, I was slow to realize that podcasts have freed me of live radio’s sense that I need to hear words at the same pace they are spoken.

I combine this with my sense that taping and distributing classroom lectures does not work well as a substitute for taking classes in person. Are we experiencing the film-as-taped-theater moment in the history of higher education?