Podcasts of the Week Ending July 17


Stuff the British Stole

The title suggests a series that can go on forever, but in just five episodes this Australian podcast offers an excellent response to things like A History of the World in 100 Objects by exploring how items on display in British museum tell as story of colonialism and imperialism.

Disney History InstituteStrange Stories of Disneyland

I enjoyed hearing this description of the plot of a never made Alfred Hitchcock film that would’ve been partly set in Disneyland.


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Podcasts of the Week Ending July 10


Radio Boston :: Remembering, And Re-Examining, The Mayflower

The town of Plymouth commemorates the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Pilgrim settlers.  This podcast offers multiple perspectives on history and how it is remembered.

Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Stay Tuned

When I was a kid, I was a fan of Mel Blanc and dreamed of doing voice acting for cartoons.  In this podcast we meet some people who made that dream come true!


Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021

Podcasts of the Week Ending July 2


 

Decoder Ring :: The Invention of Hydration

How bottled water became a mainstream commodity and the questionable claims of the wellness industry that undergird our collective thirst for hydration.

Decoder Ring :: That Seattle Muzak Sound

The history of Muzak, first created to provide background music to encourage productivity, how it diverged from popular music in the 1960s, and its strange intersection with the 1990s grunge scene. When I was a DJ at my college radio station, I used to play selections from Grunge Lite in the background when I talked.

Radiolab :: The Vanishing of Harry Pace

This 4-part series (with perhaps more episodes to come?) is the story of Harry Pace who founded Black Swan Records, a successful and influential Black-owned enterprise, a century.  He also worked to desegregate Chicago neighborhoods. And yet his grandchildren grew up knowing little about him and believing they were white!

This Day in Esoteric Political History :: Mandela in Boston (1990)

Nelson Mandela visited Boston in 1990 as part of a thank you tour for anti-apartheid activists in the area as well as because he had family in Boston. The podcast also touches on how Mandela became a figurehead for the American Civil Rights movement at a team when there weren’t clear leaders within the country.

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Podcasts of the Week Ending June 12


 

The Last ArchiveChildren of Zorin

A history of “fake news” through the story of a Soviet journalist who covered the United States in the 1970s with a conspiratorial bent.

Radiolab Breath

Stories about breathing from the miracle of a baby’s first breath to the history of teargas to the crash of breath mints during the pandemic.

This Day in Esoteric Political HistoryOllie!

Oliver North ran for Senate in 1994 and almost won, a terrifying preview of the Republican Party’s rightward lurch into neofascism.  I remember this election well.  I even saw John Warner and Marshall Coleman at a restaurant.

This Day in Esoteric Political History –  Those Pesky Fenians

If you don’t want to read When the Irish Invaded Canada, check out this short podcast about the history of the mid-19th century efforts of Irish American Civil War veterans attempting to bring the fight for Ireland’s independence to Canada.

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Podcasts of the Week Ending June 4, 2021


The Last ArchiveRemote Control

Jill Lepore investigates the origins of modern-day conspiracy theory culture, touching on the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the tv series “In Search Of…” along the way.

Hit Parade Blame it on the Feign Edition

The story of Milli Vanilli’s rise to the top of the US pop charts and their humiliating fall from grace. The most fascinating part is that German producer Frank Farian had already had hits with another act fronted by a non-singing performer in Boney M. Chris Molanphy also points out that Milli Vanilli’s music had a lasting effect on R&B and hip hop.

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Podcasts of the (Two) Weeks Ending May 29


I think I need to pare down the podcasts I subscribe to, because I don’t have a time to listen to all of them much less write about them.  If you’re a podcast creator and churning out multiple episodes per week and making them longer than ever, do me a favor and ease up!

Lost MassachusettsThe Long Ditch and Mother Brook: Secrets of Dedham

On this podcast we go on a paddling journey along some of the Commonwealth’s hidden and historical waterways. As an added bonus, the host calls out Panorama of the Mountains and the fact that I listen to way too many podcasts.

Radiolab – The Rhino Hunter

Despite being a vegetarian much of my life, I’ve long had respect for hunters.  People who hunt tend to be conservationists and have reverence for animals that people who just buy their meat packaged at the store don’t have.  This podcast deals with the complicated intersection of hunters and conservation of some of the earth’s most endangered species.

Slow BurnFour Dicks (and Vice President Cheney)

This season of Slow Burn deals with the decisions made leading to the U.S.-lead invasion of Iraq.  This episode  is informative and infuriating as it deals with the elected members of each party who put politics ahead of intelligence in justifying the call for war.

The Tomorrow Society – Author Bill Cotter on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair

I’ve long be fascinated with the World’s Fairs in New York so I enjoyed this interview with Bill Cotter, an author who specializes in histories of World’s Fairs.

Twenty Thousand HertzProgression Obsession

An examination of chord progressions that make up many of the most famous songs in popular music.  Also, did you know that the ubiquitous Pachelbel’s Canon was virtually unknown until just over 50 years ago?

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Podcasts of the Week Ending May 15


Consider This ::  How One LA Neighborhood Reveals The Racist Architecture Of American Homeownership

The story of a vibrant Black neighborhood destroyed to build a highway is an all too familiar story in the US.

99% Invisible :: Tanz Tanz Revolution

How the Berlin Wall, and its fall, lead to Berlin becoming a center of Techno dance music.

Radio Boston :: New Data On Chelsea’s Guaranteed Basic Income Program

To help struggling people in Chelsea, MA, the city gave them direct cash payments as relief.  Good things happened.

What Next :: The Palestinian Perspective

A rarely heard perspective on the continuing crisis between Israel and Palestine.

What Next :: I Was a Teenager in a Syrian Prison

Omar Alshogre tells his story of being imprisoned for protesting the Syrian regime and eventually becoming a student at Georgetown University.

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Podcasts of the Week Ending May 8


Fresh Air :: Remembering Astronaut Michael Collins

A vintage interview with Apollo 11 command capsule commander who most famously spent some time alone in space.

The Last Archive :: Monkey Business

The John Scopes trial and the origins of the American culture wars.

This Day in Esoteric Political History :: Kennedy’s Pulitzer Controversies (1957)

John F. Kennedy gained national attention when his book Profiles in Courage won the Pulitzer Prize.  I was particularly interested that his profiles tended to focus on Senators who aided “bipartisan compromise” even during times of slavery, and how valuing the idea of bipartisanship actually lead to dangerous outcomes.

Unspooled :: A Trip to the Moon

I’ve long enjoyed this podcast about classic movies and here Amy & Paul discuss their oldest film yet, the 119-year-old French space adventure A Trip to the Moon.

 

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Podcasts of the Week Ending April 24


Afropop Worldwide :: Punk in Africa

Punk is not a genre typically associated with Africa but the music of rage both personal and political has found its niche in countries dealing with imperialism, apartheid, poverty, and political corruption.

Fresh Air ::  The Social Psychologist Who Works To Reduce Harm In Policing

Regulating police behavior rather than focusing on the attitudes of individual police officers is the approach advocated by one researcher.

Radio Boston :: Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson Reunites With Birth Mother

A heart-warming story of Tito Jackson, one of my favorite Bostonians, meeting his birth mother for the first time.

What Next :: Fear and Paranoia in American Policing

Police officers are trained to be terrified by everything around them leading to their inscrutable violent actions.

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Podcasts of the Week Ending April 17


Best of the Left :: Our Democracy is Filibusted, Time to Kill the Filibuster

The filibuster is a tool of white supremacy and it must be eliminated to allow the United States to pursue freedom and equality for all.

99% Invisible ::  Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

The best way most people have to understand how extinct animals like the dinosaurs lived is through art.  Over the years, paleoart has transitioned from maintaining outdated ideas, to illustrating new understandings of dinosaurs, to entirely speculative art of different possibilities of how dinosaurs looked and acted.

Throughline :: The Real Black Panthers

If your understanding of the Black Panther Party is informed by depictions like Forrest Gump of a group of radical Blacks who hate white people, it’s worth listening to this podcast to learn what they actually understood.  In reality, the Black Panthers were seen as a threat by the FBI, and others, due to their radical vision of cross-racial activism.

The Story Collider :: Stories of COVID-19: Teachers

Teachers have dealt with a lot during the pandemic, from the brunt of redesigning education for remote learning on a moment’s notice to being the target of anger from parents and politicians.  Here are some of their stories.

Unf*cking the Republic :: AOC & the Lying Men Hydra

New York congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the target of rage from Republicans, establishment Democrats, and Leftists alike.  This podcast explains what they have in common.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021