The Sarah Koenig Effect
The trouble with life is that too often things aren’t black and white enough. Nothing is ever just fantastic or terrible, it’s a sickening combination of both. The combination of which just adds up to life feeling… meh.
The easiest example that comes to mind of something good being mixed with something bad is the podcast “How I Build This with Guy Raz.”
The podcast itself is fantastic because it’s about some of the best entrepreneurs and innovators in the world.
Who wouldn’t want to hear Sara Blakely talk about what she went through to invent Spanx?
The story of her journey selling fax machines door to door at age 27; before using her innovative spirit to transform her life is so inspiring.
Her rags to riches story is heart warming and the perfect way to spend my morning on the train.
An amazing morning that’s ruined by Guy Raz.
Guy Raz is a radio host for NPR, and is often talked about in very high regards by his peers.
Unfortunately for me, I find the high pitched, patronising, and twinky porn voice he puts on for his show unbearable.
I know it’s fake because of the live episodes.
During live episodes he’s unable to hold it. He can’t do multiple takes, he’s unable to rely on audio-editing to ensure he sounds the perfect amount of unbearable.
His fakery is out there for the world to hear.
I gotcha you bastard.
Raz is a sucker and a victim of the Sarah Koenig effect.
This whole issue is partly Sarah Koenig’s fault.
You’ll remember Koenig from the groundbreaking podcast ‘Serial’.
The first season covered the 1999 murder of Baltimore student Hae Min Lee.
Koenig employed a certain podcast voice that became as instantly recognisable as the groundbreaking show itself.
Like what The Wachowskis achieved with ‘The Matrix’, Koenig achieved a style that would be ripped off by thousands of others in the following years.
Many podcasts have a Koenig-est speaker doing their darndest to impersonate the iconic sound.
But worse than that are the many others looking to create their own distinct sound.
In comes Raz.
Unhappy with his natural and quite normal voice, he has warped it into something that feels like a spiked worm burrowing through my ears and into my brain.
His show also isn’t helped by his questions that amount to not much more than “what?! What?!!! How is that possible??!! Just 20 years old??!!! How did you do it??!! How??? How is it??? How is it possible?!!
Ask a real question! It’s Sarah Blakely for crying out loud!!
So what do I do?
Should I learn to deal with his voice and enjoy the content? Or do I try to find an equally fascinating show that employs a host that can stand the sound of his natural voice?
This is truly the tough choice of my generation.