The Week in Radio: Whooping with delight as a devoted dad fights misogyny in The Moth
The best radio, to my mind, has to do with stories. Not just the stories of the mega-famous but of ordinary mortals leading ordinary lives. Thus, I've dipped in and out of The Moth (themoth.org), a New York podcast devoted to storytelling, for several years now and although the tales told vary in mood and in content, their capacity to shine a light on our everyday lives is pretty much constant.
For me, it is best listened to late at night, usually when I've had my fill of the BBC and when my slightly delirious mind is most receptive to the lives of interesting and cool-sounding Americans. It's escapism based on other people's reality and it's really rather marvellous.
I'd almost say that The Moth was my favourite US podcast but the fact is that nothing can come between me and Radiolab, the science and philosophy show which has lately come to be a marker by which I judge people (it's simple: if you don't love it, I don't love you). But The Moth comes a pretty close second.
The podcast already has around 70,000 subscribers and averages a million monthly downloads. Five years ago it launched a National Public Radio show and a year later won a Peabody Award.
Each week yields short stories that each come with three crucial elements. They have to be true; they must be told – not read, but told – by those at the centre of them; and they must be delivered in front of a live audience.
In The Moth's most recent offering, Adam Savage talked about being a father in the age of the internet. He has twin boys whom he called "Thing 1 and Thing 2". He discussed the worries that afflicted him shortly before they were born about how best to get them to lead good lives.
His anxiety moved up a gear after they were born and attending kindergarten, a point at which they "started behaving like people I'd never met before".
Things got worse at school. "Is there anything worse as a parent than the call from the school? [Adopts officious voice] 'Er, hello, Adam. We just wanted to let you know that at two o'clock today out in the yard you failed as a parent'."
After Thing 1 was overheard talking about sex in the playground, Savage realised certain realities had to be faced and that it was time for The Talk.
A few years later in their early teens, he discovered his sons were looking at porn on the internet: Thing 1 had Googled "nudies" while Thing 2 had opted for "big boobs". "I have my children's first porn search terms," beamed Savage. "It's almost better than their first steps."
Much of Savage's dealings with his children on the subject of sex had the feel of a well-observed sitcom but there was a more serious undercurrent to his situation and that was the grim images that are just a click away, images that once seen cannot be unseen.
Amid the larks of Savage's family life he still needed to prepare his sons for the future and offer some context on what they might encounter. He had a serious message to impart and it was this: "The internet hates women."
At this the live audience let out a series of whoops and, listening in the dead of night, so did I. Savage knew how to tell a story, all right, but he was still an ordinary father grappling with an everyday problem: how to steer his sons through a world filled with misogyny. Listening to their dad talk, I knew they'd be OK.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Why Harry Potter's aged 35, not 26
Frank Ocean, where's that new album at?
Jon Snow: Kit Harington spotted in Belfast where Game of Thrones season 6 is filming
Drake responds to Meek Mill's 'diss' track 'Wanna Know' by laughing at the rapper on Instagram
Game of Thrones to run for at least eight seasons, according to HBO showrunners
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband