Home International News You're Wrong About Sarah Marshall on What Comes After Revisionist History

You’re Wrong About Sarah Marshall on What Comes After Revisionist History

Sarah Marshall still not sure about the name of You are wrong, the podcast she’s hosted for the past four years. “I think it promises a more combative experience than it ultimately delivers,” the 34-year-old told Vanity Fair from a log cabin in Wisconsin earlier this year. “I think it would be interesting to go back in time and make a timeline where it’s called Who am I to say? Then see how each title is doing, in terms of numbers.”

Although the name is reminiscent of a show that re-examines the past, which has always made You are wrong feel different from many thematic podcasts is just how intellectual and empathetic the approach to the topics can be. And perhaps most importantly, Marshall said she picks topics her co-host or guest actually doesn’t know about before sitting down for the show, usually because they’re shrouded in misinformation.

“There are so many news stories that act like allegory, and they get stripped of certain details, and then you grow new details about them in your brain without really thinking about it, like moss,” she said. “I’d listened to a lot of shows where someone pretends they don’t know something, but they really do know, and I thought, we don’t do that.”

Since its 2018 premiere, the show has become a stand-in for a wider wave of revisionist media that has caught up with long writing, TV and film, especially the documentaries that reassess a complicated or skinned woman in the press. The show was also a success, winning the iHeartRadio award for best podcast earlier this year and receiving support from more than 22,000 Patreon subscribers.

Despite its success, Marshall has changed the show’s focus and format in recent months. Last October, her original co-host, writer and online personality Michael Hobbes, stepped away to focus on his other podcast, maintenance phase, which uses a similar format as You are wrong to discuss the wellness culture and flawed science that fuels our ideas about fatness. Now Marshall is doing the show with a wide cast of guest hosts, including writers Carmen Maria Machado and Anne Helen Petersen, even Jessica Chastain, who came over for a talk? The eyes of Tammy Faye.

From the start, the show built intellectual and moral architecture to help explain the phenomena they document, and early episodes focused on the Satanic panic, the phrase “going to the mail” and myths about the crack epidemic. Marshall said they didn’t quite intend to get so focused on the mechanics of the culture-war controversy, but it only emerged over time. “The first year I did the show, it was just like, oh god, what are we doing?” she said. “We started talking a lot in episodes about, oh, here’s another moral panic. Here’s another. Blame the woman! We really played the hits of how moral panic works and started outlining a taxonomy, like Darwin himself .

the prehistory of You are wrong begins with a 2014 essay Marshall wrote about the figure skater Tonya Harding in front of the believer, which prompted Hobbes to write her a short email. For Marshall, the fact that she became interested in Harding’s story, and in particular the way the media portrayals of her appeared to be painting her as a villain, was an extension of the work she’d done in fiction as an MFA student. at Portland State University. “I started thinking about her in 2010, which was when I started graduating,” she said. “At that time I wrote a lot of MFA short stories about girls who were misunderstood for being tough on the outside, but inside they were very traumatized. So that was clearly a concept that I was exploring somehow – therapeutically – for a while.’

When she published that Harding essay, she said she was surprised to realize exactly how many people resonated with her sense that something was missing from the story — that people actually wanted to hear that story in a new way. A podcast that “rethinks” the past necessarily runs the risk of judging it harshly, and that’s a concern of Marshall. “I always worry about being too judgmental about people trying to report the news as it happens,” she said.

But she balances it with her desire to treat the fallible people she discusses with an abundance of empathy. “I think about it in terms of the way I’ve learned to think about other people. For me, it was probably a pretty utilitarian thing to know on some level that I had to trust that everyone out there was doing the best they could with what they had. Because that was the attitude I had to have about myself,” she said. “You know, we don’t sympathize, because it’s good of us to do that. It’s not like flossing, where you get up and think, I’m going to be a good person today and do this good people thing. I think we do it because we need so much to feel connected to other people and to offer other people grace.”

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