Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: International Object Ep. 112

Punk and McMahon are big subjects on the return episode of International Object
Photo Credit:
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: International Object
Episode: 112
Run Time: 75ish minutes
Guest: None

Summary: After a months-long hiatus, KSP and Rich Thomas are back on the air. They talk about their old patterns of watching wrestling throughout the week, discuss the concepts of 70s dads vis-à-vis the Four Horsemen, reference The Shining, and talk about all the recent CM Punk news. Rich announces he’s purchased his tickets for WrestleMania XXXI before the guys look at NXT. They break down Vince McMahon’s appearance on Steve Austin’s podcast before returning to Punk, then segueing into a brief look at Lucha Underground.

Quote of the week: Thomas on McMahon claiming he felt uncomfortable being around other people at his wife’s Senate campaign and fundraising events: “There are two types of CEOs: CEOs who like other CEOs and CEOs who don’t like other CEOs. And the problem with the second (group) is they never want to be in a position where they have peers. Those people in that room for a Senate candidate are actually his peers. He doesn’t have ay power over them. He doesn’t have anything that they need. So he’s not richer than them, he’s not more famous than them or any of those things. So he can’t impact them.”

KSP: “He can’t bully them.”

Why you should listen: Because you missed them! If you’re familiar with International Object in the Rich Thomas era, this is pretty much wheelhouse material. The guys are all over the place in their unique fashion, and the breakdown of McMahon’s persona as revealed on the Austin show is probably the most insightful commentary I’ve heard on a rich subject. Each host represents a slightly different demographic, and listeners who identify with either (or, ideally, the part of the Venn diagram where they intersect) are likely to feel they’re being spoken to (or through) directly.

Why you should skip it: International Object isn’t for everyone. It’s a Canadian writer/designer and a Silicon Valley professional (and serious photography hobbyist) who like wrestling and other forms of entertainment and are committed to discussing it as an art form. They’ve been together for dozens of episodes and are, quite frankly, an acquired taste. A bit of rust is to be expected given the length of their hiatus, but a first-time listener won’t come in with any “happy to have them back” vibes that might excuse a bit of scattershot focus.

Final thoughts: I’ve always used this space to review professional podcasts while leaving my personal amateur favorites, like Old School Wrestling Podcast and What A Maneuver in the “you should just listen to every episode because, duh, why wouldn’t you?” category. But IO had been gone for quite some time, and its return warranted a quick look. I’m dead serious about the McMahon stuff being notably perceptive — it’s essential to view him as he fits into the real world and not in the context of his own created universe — and many other segments will quickly remind regular listeners why they became fans in the first place.

If I’m not mistaken, the entire IO catalog is available online. Many older episodes are far more evergreen and worth a listen for anyone curious about the chemistry and viewpoint that makes this show compelling.