I was home for three weeks this summer, and by my second to last day my mom would groan as I began the sentence she heard so many times before: “In this podcast I listened to they were talking about how—” “Caroline please.” But I can’t help it! There’s just so much information to share. The podcasts I listen to all average about an hour per episode. Say I listen to five per week. That’s five hours of information that is just swimming in my brain, just waiting to come out! Well my mom learned to embrace my sudden influx of knowledge. Once I got to school I even called her with an update on one on going episode—not because she cared, but because I felt like she needed to know.
Another great thing about podcasts is that some of them give a glimpse into my future. 28-year olds talking about their lives and jobs and relationships. Its refreshing to hear how sure of themselves they are and how self-aware they are. It gives me hope that my insecure, self-doubting ways will be in the past some day soon. There are also podcasts that open my eyes to injustices and discrepancies in the world and teach me new ways of thinking.
So back to one of the many conversations with my mom… I was telling her about a podcast I listen to called Lizard People, a conspiracy theory podcast on which the host brings her friends to convince her of various conspiracy theories. This particular episode was about the moon landing, and it was particularly convincing. She just thought I was crazy… “drinking the cool-aid” I think she said, but I didn’t care. Another time I told her about a Revisionist History episode on Bates College’s five-star-quality dining hall food at the expense of scholarships for students from low-income families, comparing it to Vassar College, a school with notoriously bad dining hall food, but considerably more economic diversity. This one was particularly interesting, because it made me realize that all of the money a college or university spends comes from somewhere and there are tough decisions to be made about what is the most important to spend that money on.
All that said, here are some of my favorite podcasts:
Honey: Actress/writer/improviser/busybody Julia Meltzer interviews real couples about their fights: how, why, whose fault is it, do you still love each other – THE JUICY STUFF. At times hilarious, at times painful, at times full of heartbreakingly raw honesty, these conversations expose truths about love, human beings, and the concept of partnership. Best podcast I listen to.
Lizard People: What if the government actually did cover something up in Roswell? What if yetis exist and are just really shy? What if super-intelligent lizards are wearing human skin suits, influencing international affairs and recording podcasts? Conspiracy theories are cool because they appeal to our evolved logical human brains and our stupid mammal idiot brains. So join comedian and skeptic Katelyn Hempstead as her brilliant friends try to convince her of these and many other conspiracy theories. Hilarious, definitely recommend.
This American Life: This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 1.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. This is a great one to learn about the lives of different people.
Revisionist History: A new podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. Each week, over the course of 10 weeks, Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past. An event. A person. An idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance. New perspectives!
About the News: Hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer with H. Andrew Schwartz, “About the News” is series of conversations with the top people reporting the news, about the news, and its impact on politics and policy. A collaboration between the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU, Schieffer and Schwartz host a weekly discussion with the most interesting people working in legacy media, digitally native platforms, social media companies, and top thought leaders. Great for journalists and newsies!
Go on iTunes and search through the Podcasts. They’re free and there are THOUSANDS to choose from. Something for everyone, including fiction podcasts (not my cup of tea, but definitely for some). It’s so easy to listen to a podcast and learn something new on your walk to class or while working out at the gym instead of listening to music. I think its important for everyone to have open minds and learn about the world; be it historical, socio-cultural, technological, or relational. It’s super easy to listen to a podcast, and I would definitely recommend it. Just maybe avoid telling your mother about every episode you listen to…