About Brett Favre, the brilliant new podcast of The Seizure State (currently curated by Gigantic), isn't really about Brett Favre. Brett Favre is spoken of only occasionally. Football is spoken of even less. That said there is a quality that Brett Favre possesses… that does have something to do with the camaraderie of the podcasters. Brett Favre, then, is a kind of shibboleth. The term, shibboleth, has a darkness to it. A fearfulness. It bespeaks the alien's vulnerability. Think of an alien, lost in a great wilderness, adrift in the midst of others with whom he cannot converse. There may occur, in the midst of his dealings with these nonconversant others, another kind of shibboleth. Something uttered that betrays shared identity, and thus, represents the overcoming of alienation. This is nothing less than the finding out of the presence of an other, which is to say, the presence of someone with whom he might converse. And so a conversing of the aliens begins. That is how I think of About Brett Favre: a conversing of aliens who are in danger of being lost, i.e. in danger of lonely immersion in a sickening and meaningless apparatus.
I don't know what it is about Brett Favre, but I know there is something about him—something endearing, peculiar, absurd. I know this because I can tell when someone else knows it. It's something like humor, in the sense that a joke will always produce two groups: those who find it funny, and those who do not. One cannot choose what one finds funny. One tends to find one's friends by listening for those who laugh at the same time. This listening is a kind of sympathy antenna, feeling out into a great darkness. I suppose, then, that the podcast is collaboration, stemming from camaraderie, and in some sense seeking to secure, deepen, and share (multiply) it. Thus, most of the podcast is made up of conversations I've had with friends, and the stories, poems, and songs of friends. The rest is stuff I think my friends might enjoy. Thus, I do it for the people.
-- Joe Wenderoth is Professor of English at UC Davis, where he teaches in the creative writing graduate program. He is the author of four books of poetry and one essay collection. Joe's audio recordings (poems, public readings, and his podcast About Brett Favre) can be found at Internet Archive.
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