I sometimes wonder how long it will be before all this intimacy and authenticity attracts stalkers:
When he first started recording, he told me, “Really being authentic and sincere for an hour was kind of a struggle. There was an initial desire to be distant, cool. I saw myself grappling with: How do I present myself?” Eventually, he realized: “You don’t [present yourself]. You just do it. And to me that’s very post-Empire.” Authenticity, for Ellis, means expressing strong opinions, even if they’re unpopular. A recurring theme is Ellis’s distaste for both Fruitvale Station and 12 Years a Slave, a film he says has been “overly rewarded for its slavery narrative.” Such an opinion might spark a mini whirlwind if floated on Twitter or elsewhere online, but the podcast insulates. “I’m just not interested in tweeting that kind of stuff anymore—the contrarian opinion,” he explains. A controversial topic can languish, or achieve more nuance, when spoken out loud with someone else without the possibility of an instant reaction from those who disagree. The podcast is a safe bet for anyone who feels they’ve been burned by the media—a quiet stronghold for unmediated conversation.