Man Uses Internet for First Time

Radio producer Alex Goldman finds him, examines him.

The smartest show on the radio right now is WNYC’s On the Media, and OTM’s smart people have launched a smart podcast called TLDR. The show—or at least, their blog—earned my affection when producer PJ Vogt introduced me to the seemingly universally loathed 40 Days of Dating in a sharply witted post on the superficial passion project of those two annoying but still hot Manhattanites. It also introduced me to the charm of TLDR: It’s short, but not reductive; analytical without feeling parasitic of other’s reporting.

And then, of course, there are the people who don’t understand why some of us would pine for such a refined, pared down approach to digital media, let alone what “TLDR” even means. These are the people who have never used the Internet, and radio producer Alex Goldman set out to find one on today’s show. And he did, in 50-something Canadian and Led Zeppelin fanatic named Mike who has run a restaurant in New York for some undisclosed but seemingly enormous number of years and simply never needed to go online.

The actual results aren’t quite what you’d expect—there’s no explosive, obscene display of awe at the collective storing of all human information. Mike acts more appreciative than bewildered. But listening to Goldman explain exactly what this thing we spent all our time on is and hear Mike approach it with a kind of curious utility is worth the eight brief minutes of the show. [TLDR]