Corinne suggested I listen to this podcast, which apparently has developed a strong fan base among the rest of the Internet. It's presented as a community radio update for a town straight out of HP Lovecraft, and it is SO GOOD. That having been said, I cannot guarantee that you will like it. It's not for everyone. 

I think a lot of my affection for it comes from the fact that, as previously documented, I've lived in a LOT of weird places, none of which seem to know that they're weird. I've been working on the Great Bradenton Essay, in a variety of iterations, for what feels like forever, and I still haven't gotten a handle on it, because here are just a few of the things that make that town unique: 

And now my parents live in a small town in Appalachia with a radio station that is unironically named WETS, and they live in a house next to the most polluted lake in the entire state and have a regular source for buying moonshine. In case you hadn't guessed, it's a weird place too.  And I live in the District of Columbia, a city that keeps electing Marion Berry, so.

Again, none of these places plays up the weirdness. In fact, I would venture to say that they don't actually know that a lot of things that happen there aren't...normal; I grew up joking about how Bradenton was crazy, but I definitely didn't get the full picture until I left the state and realized that when I talked about my childhood I got a lot of weird looks. What I'm trying to say is that no one has adopted a tourism slogan that says, "Visit East Tennessee. It's WACKY!"

So that, in a nutshell (a large nutshell), is the main reason that I like Welcome to Night Vale. Despite the fact that the town includes hooded figures, the Sheriff's Secret Police, a glow cloud, and a dog park that you are NOT TO GO NEAR, the presentation as community radio really drives home the fact that this is the town's normal; there's no wink-wink involved. And I think that underscores the fact that there's no such thing as normal, really, not when you get down past the surface of a community. Besides, is there really that much of a difference between a glow cloud and a mysterious scent of burnt oranges that pervades the morning air?

 

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