A Christmas Song for 2020

For a variety of reasons there are almost no Christmas songs that I Iike.

But I can recommend a new one that I heard yesterday — a song that was specially written for the year 2020: Don’t Wait For Me Beneath the Mistletoe (click on the link and then the Play button). Written by Helen Zaltzman, Martin Austwick, and Jenny Owen Youngs, it was performed under the nom The Allusionettes on Helen Zaltzman’s wonderful non-technical linguistics podcast, The Allusionist. So listen to the song, and then listen to a few episodes of the podcast.

If you listen to the two most recent episodes, you may wonder about their unexplained reference to the show’s departure from the Radiotopia network. You can read the full explanation here — including the links that have disappeared from the excerpt. As it is politically important (just ask certain supporters of Dr. Biden about the current obliquely related controversy), I will quote part of it here:

So it has been heartbreaking over the past few weeks to decide that I am leaving Radiotopia. A couple of months ago, PRX, the company that runs Radiotopia, were called out for institutional racism by former employee Palace Shaw – read her exit statement here, and here is a response from some PRX staff. Here is my Twitter statement from when I found out about it all, and another a few days later in support of the PRX staff. A lot of brilliant people work at PRX and they run some terrific projects, so I really hope the organisation can radically reform and be better. There are few media organisations in the USA (and the UK) that are not pervaded with racial bias and white failure. There is so much fundamental change that needs to happen.

Bear in mind that I don’t work at PRX and therefore have limited insight into what has happened and is happening there.

I have, however, been part of Radiotopia, a network with a mostly white line-up. I never had the power to change that line-up, but tried to use the powers I did have: over the years I have raised this fact repeatedly, recommended existing shows or potential showmakers to approach, questioned the excuses given for why the line-up stayed very white – small capacity and limited resources and insufficient money were frequently cited. So I offered money. And now, in case it makes more space and resources available, I’m removing myself.


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