Thursday, July 17, 2008

Naked Bard Podcast

So I just stumbled across this new Shakespeare podcast called Naked Bard.  It's only on episode 2, so I haven't missed much.

I like it.  Quite a bit, actually.  The near hour-long shows are doing an in depth analysis of Hamlet, at the level that I like.  For instance the author (Dr. Melissa) doesn't just reference the "melancholy Dane", she actually busts out a reference on the subject of melancholy from 1621 or so about the relationship between melancholy and, if I remember the term right, "overmuch study."  She then relates it back to Hamlet's college experience.  It is very deep on content, and I both managed to learn a lot while not losing interest because it got too far over my head.

Having said that, I have two major concerns.  The first is that it's terribly over produced.  She stops every few minutes for a music break.  When she's talking, there's background music.  It's just too much.  It's one thing to accompany the presentation with some sound, but I'm talking about just stopping in the middle of your point to play a rap song.  Stuff like that annoys me.  I didn't sign up for your podcast to hear rap music, I signed up to hear about Hamlet.  Don't make me sit through that other stuff.  That's long been a complaint of mine with podcasts in general that do that.  "I've got your attention, so here's a song I like!"

My second concern is that....well, I can see where it would be pretty boring except for us geeks.  It sounds very much like high school English, where you sit down and somebody talks at you for 45 minutes.  I felt like she could have lost me at any moment if not for my love of the subject matter.  I wonder if maybe, instead of wasting my time with too many sound clips, she could interact more with the reader, maybe open up opportunities for interaction, ask questions, stuff like that that makes me connect more with her as the author and not just as the random person that's reading the Hamlet material.

Overall, though, I give it the thumbs up, and I'm glad I found it.  I plan on listening, and learning some things.  I also plan on contacting the author directly with my thoughts (if she doesn't contact me first).  Who knows, she might be up for the input.

Update: The more I listen, the more I don't love her analysis, actually.  I'll still listen, because it's still good content - nothing wrong with dissenting opinions.  Like her idea that "Hamlet can't kill Claudius and live."  Huh?  Why not?  Or how she finds the "undiscovered country" bit a little odd, seeing as Hamlet's seen the ghost - and comments that "I don't think this is an area of the play most people consider."  Well that's just not accurate, since we've discussed it here. I hardly think that my little blog breaks new academic ground.

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