Wandering Eye: David Carr weighs in on 'Serial,' Marion Barry passes away, and how boxing affected 'The Twilight Zone'

David Carr did his bit in the New York Times about Serial, the podcast about an old Baltimore murder case that is breaking records for listenership in the medium. While Carr's wit and wisdom as a media critic are well established, the podcast's status in the media universe is not—though Serial may be changing that, and Carr's take on the overnight sensation of Serial touches on what that may mean for public radio, since the podcast poses the same kind of challenge of convenience that streaming video on demand posed to traditional broadcast television. The economic model is tantalizing, since podcasts are so cheap to produce and transmit. The rub, though, remains the same: how to monetize it? Serial is doing the only thing it can, for the moment: Its home page is now a pitch for donations. (Van Smith)


Fans of "The Twilight Zone," and those who don't know who Rod Serling was, ought to take a look at James Hughes' Grantland piece examining Serling's connection to boxing and what that meant for the birth of TV drama. Serling, wounded in the Pacific during World War II, actually boxed during his paratrooper training, and the experience apparently affected him deeply. Boxers peopled Serling's television works ever after, helping him break racial barriers in the nascent medium and tell stories that, perhaps, could not have been told any other way. Of course, writing about fighters—being a fighter—was no rare thing for mid-century America's scribes. But Hughes casts his net wide and brings up a lot of things that need bringing up. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


Over the weekend, the charismatic D.C. political legend Marion Barry passed away. Soon after came the tidal wave of pieces by writers dissecting the "Mayor For Life"'s legacy, downfall thanks to an FBI probe that caught Barry smoking crack and the corruption during some of his many years leading the city, and resurrection as a member of the City Council. Though writers will certainly churn out much more in the days to come, the most thorough and comprehensive piece is—and most certainly will remain—the obituary for Barry in his hometown daily newspaper, The Washington Post. A little secret about the newspaper business: Obituaries for figures as prominent as Barry are worked on and stashed away for years. Whether you loved Barry or hated him, there's no doubt he lived a truly interesting and consequential life, as is outlined in this great story. (Brandon Weigel)

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