Well, it was bound to happen.
Much like your Crossfit trainer, bartender, and everybody you knew who did a cappella in college, the United States Postal Service apparently has a podcast now. It’s called Mailin’ It, and though it looks to have been publishing since September, the podcast came to my and many others’ attention this week after it was promoted in the daily digest emails you can opt to receive from USPS if you, like me, love pre-screening those sweet, sweet credit card offers before they hit your mailbox in a few days.
Why does Mailin’ It exist? Unclear. The marketing copy says it provides American taxpayers with “a lighthearted look into the history, innovation, and inner workings” of the federal agency. In the trailer — a trailer! — the hosts say they hope to inform us of “the vital yet often overlooked ways the postal service helps keep us connected.” Which is to say, it’s postmaster propaganda, though I suppose any push by the embattled agency to rehab its image makes sense, given the fact that the agency is still going through a protracted financial crisis (I hope Mailin’ It doesn’t cost very much!), was recently the target of political attacks by the former president (remember that?), and is about to head into a holiday period where it’s almost certainly going to be blamed by parents everywhere for late gift shipments (somewhat rightly, somewhat wrongly, it’s complicated).
Intriguingly, Mailin’ It is the latest in an unexpectedly ballooning line of podcasts made by federal agencies. Among others: HUD has one called House Keys. The Department of Energy has one called Direct Current. The EPA publishes intermittent ones. NASA has a couple, but it’s NASA, those people know how to get their brand on NBA sneakers. It remains unclear whether Homeland Security or the Department of Defense has their own podcasts, but let’s be real — they’re probably super secret, not for you.
Listen: I started this blog post working off an initial emotion of snark, giggling at the notion of some poor federal workers being made by some guy up the chain to make a podcast promoting their agency because that’s what the kids are into these days. But the more I thought about it, the more I came around to a place of empathy. You know what? I get it. Trust in the government is super low these days. You gotta do something, anything, about that; and hey, if you wanna try to do that with a podcast, go for it.
In fact, go harder. Make it great. Make it wild. Why not flip Mailin’ It into a podcast where you crack open and read a random letter flying through the system? (Is it a federal crime when a federal worker does it on behalf of the feds? History says no.) Why not true crime? Everybody loves true crime. Only Murders in the Mailroom?