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The Podcast Library of Babel

In the short story “The Library of Babel,” the great Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges  imagined the universe as an infinitely vast library. Every possible book was contained in this infinite library, every possible combination of letters and symbols. Some books were just a single letter, repeated over and over; others, as Borges writes, contained “the detailed history of the future, the autobiographies of the archangels, the true story of your death, the translation of every book into every language…”

Today, the internet resembles this infinite library, where the most important and beautiful ideas are crammed alongside nonsense and garbage and treasure. And this is especially true of podcasts: you would need to listen around the clock for hundreds of years to listen to every podcast ever recorded, and thousands are added to the library every day.

So this season on the Organist, we’re excited to present the iTunes Library of Babel, where we imagine the universe as an infinite catalog of podcasts. Just as in Borges’s story, this library goes on forever: it contains all of the existing podcasts, plus the negation of those podcasts. Some podcasts in the iTunes Library of Babel are episodes of This American Life hosted by a tangerine smoothie; some are just 45 minutes of the sound of a sprinkler soaking a pile of Dell laptops on a hillside in Iceland in 2007.

Submit your imaginary podcast

The Organist podcast seeks writers, producers, sound artists, musicians, and their ex-lovers to submit extracts of imaginary podcasts (or whole episodes if they’re short -- we’re aiming for between 5 seconds and 3 minutes) to this recurring series. Submissions can be audio only, or a script for production. All entries must include a sentence or two suggesting how the host of the Organist will introduce the fictional podcast (or podcast excerpt) that you are conceiving and realizing.

Payment: We will pay you for your work if it’s accepted for publication

Deadline: Beginning immediately; ongoing until the last sentient being in the cosmos expires

Guidelines: Submissions can be audio only or a script or both. They must include a title and short description for host to read. Please also include a short biography of yourself.

Send it to: organist@mcsweeneys.net with the subject line: BABEL SUBMISSION


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