Almost one year ago today, a very strange thing happened to the very strange podcast "Welcome to Night Vale": It became very, very popular. On the show’s first anniversary in June, all of the episodes had been collectively downloaded about 150,000 times. The following week, they were downloaded another 150,000 times. For several months, "Night Vale" was, according to iTunes, the country’s most popular podcast.
Since last summer, the New York-based "Night Vale" has been able to capitalize on its fame: a book deal with Harpers; tours across the United States and Canada; stops at the Comic-Cons. Co-creator Jeffrey Cranor told me that the "unsustainable explosive growth" the show [...]
Spoilers of all kinds throughout.
On March 17, 2014, a 17-year-old archer named Allison Argent was stabbed outside of a corrupt mental institution in California while battling demons at or near some hour seeming like midnight. She died minutes later. The obituaries went big. There was "Allison Argent was, for a few reasons, one of the most important TV characters in teen soap history," and "Why Allison Argent Matters Beyond 'Teen Wolf,'" and "Why Allison Had to Die."
"In order for Allison to truly exist as her own character, 'Teen Wolf' made it clear that there was far more to her than a [...]
The first truth of fan fiction is that a good chunk of it is terrible. The second, third, and fourth truths all involve sex. But the fifth truth of fan fiction is that it is often the best way to understand fans—under the kind of pressure and passion that is required for someone to write 30,000-plus words about an anthologic dramedy set in a women’s prison (for free and for a few dozen comments), a kind of reality takes shape in which it is possible to understand the better part of buzz. Like a funhouse mirror (usually a useless metaphor), fan fiction isn’t just entertaining for what it exaggerates, but [...]
The 113th Congress: do they blog? They do, a little! And here we review their blogs. Hey here is the Tumblr of Alan Grayson, the Democrat in the House of Representatives from a crazy central stretch of Florida.
Who: Alan Grayson (Rep-D, Florida) — Alan Grayson’s Emails
What: A Sorkinesque salad of high, low, and high-handedness through diatribes, transcripts, remembrances, and Don McLean references.
Design: 4.812/10 The blog is basically basic; its basicness announces itself with every post, every one set against and surrounded by a white background. But the function of design is functionality, and the lack of design pairs potently with the lull of the [...]
The 113th Congress: do they blog? They do, a little! And here we review their blogs. First up, gay former schoolteacher Mark Takano, of California's 41st district—that's Riverside County and San Bernardino County—who entered the House of Representatives in January of this year.
Who: Mark Takano (Rep-D, California) — There Will Be Charts
What: A mix of shout-outs, Vines from the Hill, and realpolitik disguised as the occasional flight of fey.
Design: 7.5/10. The buttons are big, the tags are big, and the header is kind of terrifying. Why are the letters in 3D? It’s like the page is shouting at me in a low, throaty whisper. I [...]
"Welcome to Night Vale" is a twice-monthly, 25-ish-minute podcast featuring news, traffic, and weather out of a small town in the Southwestern corner of the United States that does not actually exist. The town’s dog park, which is forbidden, is fictional, as is the mayor, Pamela Winchell, who is probably demonic. The radio show’s host, Cecil Baldwin is real, kind of. One of his most-used words is "void."
Created and written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, out of New York City, "Night Vale" has been running for little more than a year. Fink told me that on the first anniversary of the series, in June, the episodes had [...]