The podcast Welcome to Night Vale exploded in popularity in mid-2013. It's a pastiche of community radio set in the US Southwest, in a small town where all the conspiracy theories are true, the dog park is forbidden to both dogs and humans, and no-one bats an eye at Cecil, the radio host, rhapsodizing over Carlos, a new scientist in town. This panel will discuss the nature of reality in Night Vale; how the show's long-term plotting is working out; the good and less-good ways the show treats characters from underrepresented groups; the traditions it works with, and its counterparts in other media; and the panel's favourite moments, characters and quotes.
Douglas Spencer (m), Jesi Pershing, Zalia Chimera, Kate Nepveu, Tanya Brown
(No Glow Cloud, but three Hooded Figures with signs about the Dog Park.)
I've talked extensively about WtNV here, so I'm only mentioning other things.
At least one person found the live show I went to, "The Librarian," more funny and less scary than the podcast. I had exactly the opposite reaction (well, still funny. But not much of the podcast actively gives me the creeps and the show came close.).
At least one person didn't get a very American vibe from Night Vale because it was so unmoored from a larger political context, which seemed to be a minority view; I said I put it down that down to the genre and was perfectly happy to believe it was somewhere in an alternate American Southwest, as did most other people.
I gave my spiel about disability in WtNV, now updated for Old Oak Doors! People generally agreed that those episodes were not very satisfying on lots of levels. Note to self: next time, be sure to preface by saying that this is what you understand from listening to disabled activists, but you are able-bodied and do not speak for all disabled people, who are indeed not a monolith. This was particularly awkward since there were two people in wheelchairs at the panel; I at least had enough sense not to appeal to them during the panel for validation. (They thanked me afterward for saving them from saying it, but still, I should have done better and next time I will.)
Someone asked whether the writers were going to have to keep making things weirder and scarier because the audience was getting acclimated. I & at least one other person on the panel were not wild about that idea: hard for new listeners who don't go through the whole backlog, and instead we get some pretty explicit reminders that Night Vale is a horrible dystopia, it's just _their_ horrible dystopia.
Uh. I asked about whether Tamika's name and Dana's mother's natural hair came across as signifiers that they were at least part African-American to non-Americans, but I'm not sure I got an answer. I attempted to formulate a theory on the fly about who gets last names in Night Vale, and failed.
. . . all the other things I can think of I'm pretty sure I've already written about before. But we can talk more about it!
Assume spoilers in comments for . . . everything except today's episode, let's say.