You could have pandemicked better. In March of 2022, the most fascinating video podcast you’ve never heard of will celebrate its second birthday. The use of the word “fascinating” assumes you have been rocked back on your heels by the velocity of information — mostly unpleasant — coming at you since the onset of the global pandemic. The unprecedented pandemic and inglorious U.S. response thereto, the turbulent final hours of the Trump presidency. What if there were a town hall meeting every day to discuss the ominous and transcendent? What if there were a daily virtual happy hour where you could ask experts what the hell was going on, and what might be next?
There was and is such a thing. It’s called In Lieu of Fun.
Since March 25th, 2020, just two weeks after That Day, March 11th; when the NBA cancelled its season, Tom Hanks contracted the virus, and the President sweated and fumbled through an ill-advised mistake of an Oval Office address — you have been able to pour a drink and tune in at 5:00 p.m. Eastern for an (extremely) casual explainer “collabcast.” This is a word I’m attempting to invent to differentiate this program from a podcast: a video broadcast with daily guests that allows the viewing audience to come on camera and ask questions. Thanks to the Revolution Art Shop, you could enjoy that drink from an In Lieu of Fun (ILoF) tumbler. (Portions of the proceeds benefit the World Central Kitchen.)
In Washington D.C., there are few journalists better connected with the inadvertent D.C. luminaries of the past several years than Benjamin Wittes, Sr. Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and co-founder of the influential Lawfare Blog. His co-host, Professor Kate Klonick, holds a Ph.D. in law; a research-focused approach to the law that Kate uses to help the audience understand the theoretical issues at play through the pandemic and non-pandemic flare ups over the past couple of years. Instrumental to the development of the Facebook Oversight Board, Professor Klonick is a recognized authority regarding the private governance of online speech — a research focus featured often on the show.