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Podthoughts: The F Plus

Vital stats:
Format: poor and/or freakish writing found on the internet, then read aloud
Episode duration: ~1h, plus the occasional special short
Frequency: weekly, in theory

The internet offers more of a chance than we’ve ever had to engage with the written word and with others who share our interests. As much fruit as this development has borne, The F Plus [iTunes] [RSS] reminds us that we’re dealing with, at best, a double-edged sword. Young “digital natives” aside, most internet users never prepared themselves for a life where they’d need to write anything at all, much less their everyday communication about the things most important to them. And who among us has adequately shielded himself against the universal human temptation to settle into a set of opinions and then retreat into an unthreatening — indeed, reinforcing — echo chamber? At the intersection of these two avenues of misfortune, this podcast taps into a considerable vein of comedy: almost 120 episodes’ worth, at this point, with no signs of resource depletion.

I don’t know whether anyone has written it as a rule of the internet, but for every interest, no matter how fringe, a forum must surely exist. Indeed, the fringier the interest, and so the deeper into the margins of society its practitioners must dwell, the more likely a forum somewhere supports it. The F Plus troupe — whom, for all my listening, still often sound to me like a barely differentiated gaggle of comedic-white-guy voices — scour these fora for the most bizarre, inept, or otherwise laughable posts, then read them out loud in funny voices. Some take pains to faithfully pronounce standard tics and errors — “LOL” becomes “lawl,” an apostrophe-less “I’m” becomes “im” — but that merely pours into the show’s abundant stream of cheap laughs. The deeper, more troubling humor, the kind that gives you as much of a pause as it does a chuckle, comes partially rooted in good old they-walk-among-us fear.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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