The deep friendship that Chris Endrey and I formed (after being pushed together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu style, by the reckless deities of the Canberra Arts Scene) could easily have just resulted in us just spending a lot of nice time together hanging out. But of course it couldn’t actually, because we are the people we are and so we had to design a shared artistic endeavour that has a good chance of lasting the rest of our lives.
Chris suggested we do a podcast despite the fact that he doesn’t listen to any or know anything about them. I love podcasts and had a million opinions on how to do one but have also purposely cultivated 0 skills in audio production, even the really basic ones. So about the same ratio of arrogance-to-actual-subject-knowledge that any podcasters start with.
We have contended with the default podcast format of two-non-expert-dudes-sharing-their-opinions by attempting to be the MOST that. Rank Ideas is a podcast where Chris and I will systematically rank every human idea against each other in a giant master list, the best idea down to the worst idea, in order. We spring from the assumption that the most qualified two people to do this task are whichever two people decided to do it.
At the top of each episode we have a chat about which idea we might rank and then pick something. Then the theme song; then we discuss the idea for as long as it takes to unpack every important aspect of it (usually somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes). Then we rank on the list against all the other ideas we’ve ranked so far, always in it’s perfect and permanent spot. We sometimes do topics like Boat Cruises and Shorts, but more often it’s broader more conceptual stuff like Generosity or Fairness or Free Will (or directly in between stuff like Pornography or Imprisonment).
My default joke has been that starting a podcast has just been my mid-life crisis arriving right on time. But the embarrassing truth is that it’s been an incredibly valuable and nurturing experience for me personally. Having a space to both expound on but also process/shape my thoughts on sensitive topics, in a way where Chris and I can take as much time as we want and only stop when we’re finished, and people will only engage with it if they want to- factually it’s just wonderful. And that’s mostly because of who Chris is as a conversation partner- chatting with him is never a Debate (an idea that ranked very low on our list), it’s always a shared investigation done in the spirit of openness. We both frequently change our minds about things while discussing them, in deep ways that are effecting our actual approaches to the world outside the recording sessions. I can’t imagine the same outcome or sense of safety doing this with any other person.
And look it’s Chris and I so of course we’re goofing and joking the whole time. But some of my friends have expressed surprise that it’s not more of a goof, that we are in fact taking it seriously. And then they remember what they actually know about me and they aren’t surprised at all.
We’ve recorded 58 episodes so far and the list to date is right below for your perusal. If you find any of the rankings curious then I’d love you to sample the episode for that topic!
7. Hanging Out
11. True or False
19. Body Modification
22. Harnessing Electricity
24. Cause and Effect
25. Playing It Cool
50. Free Will
57. Good and Evil