"He's so unhip that…
When you say Dylan, he thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas,
Whoever he was.
The man ain't got no culture,
But it's all right, ma…
Everybody must get stoned." -- Paul Simon (A Simple Desultory Philippic)
I used to think I was the only one having trouble keeping up. There were days I looked in the mirror and swore I saw Andy Rooney staring back at me.
I mean, really, how did Kim Kardashian make the transition from being pissed on in a sex tape to having her own series on Slice? Every time somebody stopped her on the red carpet to ask "Who are you wearing?" was I the only guy stifling a giggle?
Was I the lone onlooker finding it odd that all those people championing the numerical purity of StatsCanada were suddenly chastising it for delivering crime stats they didn't like?
Did no one else notice that those newspaper editorials suggesting '…Usage Based Internet Billing might actually be worthy of consideration by right-thinking people…' were sandwiched between the full page ad from Rogers and the three color brochure insert from Bell?
Although I'm often accused of being a contrarian, a voice in the wilderness and a tinfoil hat wearing troublemaker -- not to mention Cyber Luddite who can't make his typeset choices compatible with an RSS feed -- despite all that, I really do try to discover where my laser sharp lens may have been knocked a kilter.
So I do a lot of research. I watch Jon Stewart AND Glenn Beck. I listen to CBC radio WHILE making sure I touch base with Corus Radio's Mike Stafford every morning. I have people in my Twitter feed I'd NEVER allow within 300 meters of my physical person.
I even listen to podcasts.
And that's when I discovered I not only wasn't alone. There were people out there podcasting who were way smarter, much more opinionated and certainly far drunker than I'll ever be.
May I introduce you to "DYSCULTURED".
If you care in the least about Canadian culture, the state of the Media and somehow figuring out the difference between 3G and 4G, this is a podcast you must listen to, preferably live and in all cases with handy access to alcoholic beverages.
"Dyscultured" is the audio creation of Anthony Marco, Andrew Currie, Shane Birley and Mike Vardy, four Cultural pundits and New Media pioneers streaming live for an hour or so every Wednesday night at 10:00 pm Eastern and thereafter available in episodic downloads on their website and via iTunes.
An open chat room runs concurrent with the audio presentation, allowing listeners to interact with their hosts and either interject new information or goad them to further excess.
There's also a wiki page for those who sign on to the site (for free) to drop in links on both the topics of the evening and other items they think will interest this community.
The resulting discussions are all over the map (as are the Skype linked hosts) covering everything from Usage Based Billing and the latest 3D films to web page design, emerging technologies and bullshit politicians.
In other words, it's all the stuff that anybody working in culture industries or trying to navigate their personal online options bumps into every single day.
But what makes "Dyscultured" not only informative but enormously entertaining is the "four-guys-who-actually-know-a-thing-or-two-talking-loudly-in-a-bar" format. Any single podcast includes more laughs than an entire season of "Little Mosque", more profanity than is bleeped from an MTV Awards show and better information than all the American "experts" interviewed on Newsworld.
In other words, they know their beat and you can drink to it.
Maybe the best thing about the Internet, the reason there's a Julian Assange, streets full of jubilant Egyptians and a CRTC Chairman pounding his head into his desk, is that we don't live in a one-note world anymore, a world where you're considered out of place or out of line because you don't hum the same note as everybody else.
There really are enlightening and energizing new ways of looking at the culture and Dyscultured is one of the best.