Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Snap Judgment

We humans tell stories, and apparently have as long as we’ve been people. It’s what we do, and it’s who we are.

Storytelling takes many forms, of course, but the spoken word has always appealed to me. This is the reason I was drawn to personal journal podcasts in the first place, but before that it was rap (the best of which is spoken poetry) and performance art.

The video above is of 15-year-old Noah St. John, winner of the 2012 "NPR Snap Judgment Performance of the Year." He definitely deserved it. Snap Judgement is an NPR radio show which they sometimes describe as “storytelling with a beat.” It’s part performance art, part dramatic monologue, part spoken poetry—it’s another form of storytelling, harkening back to our most distant past as humans.

In, this particular performance, Noah talks of his two moms in a story of belonging and the ordinariness of life and love. While I was perhaps predisposed to give the story a chance, I thought his performance was amazing. As one of the YouTube commenters said, “And come on… man up… tell me that didn't move you to tears and I will call you a liar.” Apparently, last year’s winner was Noah’s teacher.

The radio show is available as a podcast. There’s also a storytelling podcast I listen to and can recommend: What Some Would Call Lies by Mike Lawson.

Human expression—telling stories by words and images—is central to who we are as a species. Spoken word is, for me, one of the highest and best forms of human expression, and I think that this video is a good example of that.

Tip o’ the Hat to Joe.My.God.


d said...

That was GREAT. (Why am I crying when it ended well?). :)

Arthur Schenck said...

Exactly! :-)