Coming Soon to Nathan Rabin's Happy Place and Column Graveyard: Pod-Canon!
When I read that Vulture was buying the comedy website Splitsider my stupid, stupid brain got stupidly and incorrectly excited. “Oh boy!” I thought prematurely. “Splitsider is not going to go out of business. My Pod-Canon column, about the greatest individual episodes of comedy podcasts, is saved!”
That lasted for about twenty minutes until I thought back on my life and career and realized that, actually, Vulture buying Splitsider was much more likely to result in the death of Pod-Canon than in its continued life.
I should have known from experience. I was laid off from The Dissolve shortly before the site’s parent company, Pitchfork, was bought by Conde Naste. My World of Flops was killed at The A.V Club not long after it was purchased by Univision.
You would think that when a company is bought that that would be a good thing for freelancers and staffers alike, that the influx of fresh money will benefit everyone involved, that the rising tide will lift all boats, to borrow a hackneyed phrase.
That is not how it works, however. When a company is bought, the bean counters get out their comically oversized magnifying glasses and begin looking for places to slash the budget. The most obvious place to start is with freelancers. We can be excised like a cancerous boil without affecting the body of the organism as a whole.
I have enjoyed a good relationship with my editors at Splitsider but I mean absolutely nothing to Vulture except that I write a column that they see as competition for one of their pre-existing columns. When a new regime comes in, they want to put a fresh stamp on everything. It’s out with the old and in with the new.
Unfortunately, the old includes Pod-Canon, which I learned today has been cancelled by Splitsider. Thankfully, it’s the latest good-ass column to find a second life here at Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place and Online Graveyard of Columns Killed By More Popular Websites.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Hey, Nathan, you seem to fail an awful lot. This is the third high-profile column to be killed elsewhere and resurrected on your site, after My World of Flops and The Simpsons Decade. Don’t you feel bad about that?”
First of all, don’t take that tone with me. To answer your question, it doesn’t feel great to have columns killed but I’m grateful that the column has a future as well as a past because I feel like one of the biggest contributions I’ve made to pop culture has been as a tireless evangelist on behalf of podcasting as a medium.
Pod-Canon paid way worse than any other column I wrote but I love writing it because it gives me an opportunity to shine a bright light on the podcasts and people whose work enlivens my existence on an almost life-affirming level.
When I’ve been depressed and devoid of hope, podcasts have distracted me from my misery and filled my anxious, frazzled psyche with the soothing, funny, consoling and wise voices of people I did not know but treasured as if they were dear friends.
Podcasts have given so much to me that I just wanted to pay it forward. I wanted to share the gift of podcasts, and the gift of podcasting, with everyone. Pod-Canon has been my tool to do so.
At the same time, I realize that the column has some inherent drawbacks conceptually. It’s supposed to be a tribute to the greatest podcasts of all time but I am only one overworked dude with a malfunctioning brain, so it ended up being a Hall of Fame of the best episodes of the thirty or so podcasts I’ve listened to regularly over the past seven years.
I’m enormously proud of the work I’ve done, and pleased to have brought podcasts like Hollywood Handbook, The Long Shot, The Best Show, The Flop House, Mental Illness Happy Hour, We Hate Movies, Beyond Yacht Rock, Analyze Phish, Comedy Bang Bang, Wrestling with Depression and many, many more to a broader audience.
I’m going to continue doing that here at Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place but on a monthly basis. One of the reasons I’m pretty okay with Splitsider cancelling the column is because I’ve had to scramble to find something to write about every other week, as you can only write about The Best Show, Hollywood Handbook and The Flop House so many times before people start to notice.
So at the risk of once again noshing on some delicious, delicious sour grapes, Pod-Canon makes a little more sense here, where it’s clearly one questionably sane man’s deeply personal, self-indulgent tour through the world of podcasting and not an organization’s canon of the best podcasting has to offer. I’m planning on running it on a Monday once a month so if you enjoyed Pod-Canon at Splitsider you’ll enjoy it twice as much here!
Yay podcasts! Yay Pod-Canon! Pod-Canon 1.0 is dead. Long live Pod-Canon!
You know the deal: I make my living off Patreon and killing sharks so if you wanted to hit me up with a few greenbacks in appreciation over at http://patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace