Matt AKA Spanking Bea Arthur, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.
- You’re fierceness is inspiring
- You’re kindness is also inspiring
- As the founder and co-host of the Big Gay Sex Show, you’ve contributed to a generation of young queers and allies finding a positive, educational experience, no matter what environment they came from
- As the founder and show runner at Spanking Bea Arthur, you shared your life with the world, and provided yours truly with hundreds of hours of support and entertainment
- As a writer, you’ve inspired many of us to follow in your footsteps
- You’ve been a good friend to a lot of people, even when your personal resources (financial, spiritual, etc.) were strained
- By unapologetically being yourself, you have made the world a better place for any number of men, women, and others who you may never even meet or even hear from
- You taught me the word “frottage”
I’ll stop at seven because I’m in danger of repeating myself, but the significance of your example shouldn’t be dismissed.
At this point I think it’s safe to say that the golden age of podcasting is over, but I think it’s also safe to say there really was a golden age. More than blogging, more than YouTube, the podcast was/is a medium nearly anyone can access from nearly anywhere, with little to no overhead. It’s also a medium nearly anyone can create. Podcasting is immersive in a way blogging, or even vlogging isn’t. When you listen to a podcast, you’re inside a person’s world unedited. You hear the sound of their life, their emotion, their reality.
Podcasts like Spanking Bea Arthur and Big Gay Sex Show really highlighted the experience of the individual. Here was a community who never saw ourselves on TV: too fat, too thin, too poor, queer, angry, marginalized, or ostracized. We created a network of makers and consumers that validated, rather than trivialized our experiences. And you were at the forefront of that. As yourself.
That’s so important.
We’ve all been told, at one point or another that we are not worthy of our own voice. For the same reasons we don’t see representations of ourselves in media. Implicitly or explicitly, we’re encouraged to stay quiet, or to downplay our non-typical experiences. Not only do we not deserve the happiness, we don’t deserve visibility.
In this environment, honesty becomes invaluable. Matt, you’re honesty about your experience with life, good, bad, and indifferent, is a beacon. Because you and others were blatant with your language, and the roof didn’t collapse. Because you were explicit and honest, and we heard week after week, positive responses to that honesty, a generation of podcast listeners learned how to speak about our own lives. You’ve given me a gift that I work everyday to give to others.