Podcast: What’s Wrong (and Right) with “Relatability”

This week’s Mere Fidelity podcastMere Fidelity is now online. This time around, we are discussing the theme of ‘relatability’, following Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker piece on the subject (see also Alan Jacob’s comments). Mead writes:

To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work because we feel that it does not reflect us in a shape that we can easily recognize—because it does not exempt us from the active exercise of imagination or the effortful summoning of empathy—is our own failure. It’s a failure that has been dispiritingly sanctioned by the rise of “relatable.” In creating a new word and embracing its self-involved implications, we have circumscribed our own critical capacities. That’s what sucks, not Shakespeare.

We take this as a starting point for a wide-ranging conversation about relatability in contemporary fiction and in our reading of Scripture. Listen to the whole this here.

You can also follow the podcast on iTunes, or using this RSS feed.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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