My husband got a new computer that turned out to be a lemon, and somehow after sending it back to get fixed five times and enduring seven hundred hours on the phone with the nice folks at Apple, managed to convince them to give him a new one and a few hundred bucks in credit for other fun Apple stuff for his pain and suffering. So I got a pair of those fancy iPhone wireless headphones out of it and have not talked to my family in a week. I’ve been in serious, deep, obsessive podcast binge mode, and here’s what I’ve been listening to:
99% Invisible’s series Articles of Interest, where they take deep dives into the cultural and historical context surrounding clothing from blue jeans to the pocket. I will hold myself back here from using the word “riveting” in a pun about their interviews with the historian over at Levi Strauss, but this series is amazing.
Rashomon: this show takes those family stories that have been told for decades and gives each family member the space to tell their version. Come for the mall cops in the first episode, stay for a story of a girls’ prom that will somehow break and warm your heart at the same time.
Serial season three all takes place at a Cleveland justice center, and this boring description kept me away for a few weeks. The linked stories of cops, criminals, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, the falsely accused and the something’s-off-here guilty, and the gut-wrenching collateral losses that intersect this season are amazing.
The Dream is a series about multi-level marketing companies that, I found out from a random sample of asking four dudes about this, probably fill up your Facebook feed if you’re a lady. Think Rodan and Fields, Beachbody, and Lularoe. I can’t get enough of the history of the shadier versions of these, the reporter who delves into some makeup selling, and understanding what’s really behind all those sounds-too-good-to-be-true-and-probably-is posts I see every day.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness never fails to make me laugh out loud, learn something, affirm me in literally every way and feel like a better version of myself when I’m done listening. This week I listened to his interview with Reese Witherspoon and an old one about How Kim Kardashian Broke The Internet with Drew Elliott from Paste Magazine. Then I couldn’t get enough of him, so I jumped on over to Katie Couric’s podcast and listened to her interview JVN.
My Dad Wrote a Porno has been on so many best-of lists, but I thought it was gonna veer into bro-pod-territory for some reason, and so I waited awhile before diving in. I was snort laughing. It is not bro-ey at all, it is British, which makes all the dirty bits seem classier and also much more hilarious please listen.
Pop Culture Happy Hour on A Star is Born: I’ve been cheating on my podcast binge with a Star Is Born Soundtrack binge (it’s literally on right now I’m in the deep end, watch as I dive in), and this discussion was everything even though I have THOUGHTS on anyone over there at PCHH who didn’t explode with love for this movie. Also, I learned that NPR’s Ari Shapiro used to be in a band called I think Pink Martini, which rocketed him to the top of my NPR-personality-faves list.
Beautiful/Anonymous: I listened to a sad, honest, gut-puncher of an episode with an anonymous woman who is a survivor of the Vegas shooting. Still processing this one, so much more to say, but normal people should be given platforms like this to talk about this kind of complicated, traumatic, horrible thing more often, away from Facebook comments and short TV sound bites. It takes that long to say what really needs to be said.
Fresh Air on “Private Life”: The world needs so, so many more stories like this, told by women like Tamara Jenkins, with such candor and honesty. Every time Terry Gross gets her guests talking about their origin story it’s a magic, hypnotic, nuanced thing, and this episode is no exception.