Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Anne is a Man - resuming the blog

Between the heydays of this blog, 2009, 2010, and today, podcast has taken on a flight, history podcast in particular. There was a dip in the middle though. When I gradually lost interest in reviewing podcasts, the best amateur podcasts were fading and around 2012, I really thought that podcast was about to be co-opted by the big institutes. For example I was thinking of the BBC, which is still a prolific producer of great podcasts. It was then I felt I began repeating myself and was no longer serving as a hub for finding new podcasts, especially history podcasts. Exit Anne is a Man.

Anne the Man
Today as I return to reviewing (history) podcast, I find that there is a new generation of amateur podcasts and this new generation consists of a broader base of producers, covers more eras and subjects in history, produces much better audio quality and has also introduced additional standards for the content. The most outstanding example of this new generation of improved history podcasts I am thinking of is the podcast I reviewed a month ago: When diplomacy Fails. For this first time I have even reviewed the podcast on iTunes - something that was technically impossible in 2010.

With my blog in 2010, I was hoping to contribute to the podcasting community; bring the producers and the listeners together and instill cooperation between the podcasters. Today, with the history podcast group on Facebook and collaborations such as the Agora Podcasting Network others have established this already. Therefore, as Anne is a Man - podcast reviews returns to the blogosphere, the old formula seems no longer valid. The reviews as I did them then, should go to iTunes. The community building has been done by others. New content can more easily be found elsewhere than here.

I never stopped listening to history podcasts, as a matter of fact, the new generation of history podcasts makes my playlist longer than ever. I also never stopped telling my friends about podcast finds - off the record I kept on reviewing. I still love to do that, but I can no more cover it all. And there is no need as others already do that. I used to generally characterize the podcast and point out what was good about it. It had an objective generality to it. Now I figure this is more or less covered by others and my contribution should be more specific: why did I choose to listen to this podcast and what did I take away from it?

Why are we interested in history? There are some questions we seek to answer; something that ultimately should shed light on what we seek to understand - mostly in the present. For me, this is the case and invariably I keep listening to history podcasts with this agenda. And whenever I want to write about a podcast series or episode it is because this search was somehow met with a refreshing response, be it answers, be it new questions.

For example, I have always been puzzled by the golden age of The Netherlands; how could such a small region successfully rebel against the Spanish powerhouse and develop into a major power during the 17th century? In When Diplomacy Fails, there are episodes about the Dutch Revolt, about the Thirty Years War and about the Anglo-Dutch wars that supply some of the answers. I guess I should rewrite that review now...