“The Heart is an audio project about intimacy and humanity.”
Although our culture is saturated in it, we often seem to find it hard to talk about sex in a straightforward manner. We’re always making jokes and innuendos and skirting around the edge of sexual topics when what we really need to do is simply sit down and talk about it. Usually, at least in mainstream culture, that’s at least somewhat taboo. But enter Radiotopia’s The Heart, a podcast that does just that and more, and all with innovative, experimental production methods that push the limits of the medium of audio.
The Heart is a sex-positive, progressive podcast that swings from the deeply sensual with sensory immersion, to candid, frank talk regarding the politics and power-play of sex. Oscar Wilde famously said that everything in the world is about sex except for sex, and The Heart does a beautiful job elucidating both sides of that equation. That is, the everything in the world side and the sex side itself.
What this means is that The Heart is really two different podcasts, depending on the given episode. There are hypnotic narrative episodes that have the feel of an avant-garde audio play, for example. And then there are episodes like “Mariya” that explore the very real consequences of the extant practice of female genital mutilation, or how someone attempts to come to terms with the victimhood of a molestation they’ve kept silent about for over a decade.
Talking about sex, and everything else as it relates to sex, can be tough. In some ways it’s easier today than it ever was, for example with platforms on the Internet connecting otherwise-isolated people with obscure kinks or experiences to each other, truly making the world a smaller, less lonely place. And, of course, with podcasts like The Heart, which are emphatically, radically inclusive pieces of culture that give voices to non-mainstream subcultures.
But in other ways it’s a lot harder in a literal sense. The new language of sex and gender makes people uncomfortable. Sex is a deeply conditioned aspect of life for almost everyone, which results in moral landmines galore. People in the mainstream may struggle with the actual words themselves and give up entirely or dismiss it all as bullshit. Sexuality and gender have become hot-button topics, and the ever-changing sea of pronouns and orientations and genders spawned on platforms like tumblr can liberate one group of people just as it alienates another. What The Heart does when it’s at its best, I think, is it helps to bridge that gap. Now, it’s not always at its best, and it does at times tend toward hivemind groupthink, but overall The Heart is a must-subscribe, particularly as it’s one of the only podcasts out there actually willing to tread the controversial waters of sex, sexuality, and gender.
I can’t say enough good things about the production of this podcast. It takes the medium of audio to a new level, using the actual production itself to aid in the telling of the story of each given episode. It’s kind of like a really well-shot film where all of the producers are talented cinematographers.
I try never to miss an episode.
Although it can occasionally feel like The Kaitlin Show, Kaitlin Prest does an amazing job and leads a very strong production team.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
- Movies in Your Head
- The Wrath of the Potluck
- Love Letters
- Beauty is Pain
- Riis Park
- Desiray + Aaron
- Idiot + Dummy
If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like:
- Love + Radio