Friday, April 7, 2017

Podcasts I'm Listening To... V.2

I didn't think I'd write another post about podcasts this soon but here I am. Part of the reason I am writing this is because they are all, with the exception of one, relatively new so there aren't many episodes, and I'm able to listen to them as they come out. The other part is that I'm just obsessed with them. I wish I would have thought about it a while ago because they make my bus commute or walk so much more enjoyable. I can't imagine how many podcasts I would have gone through if I started two years ago. One benefit, though, is that my Netflix consumption has basically gone to zero.
One change I'm making from my last post is the grading scale. I realized that the the rating system I had wasn't going to work this time, so I changed it a bit (I also changed it in this post). Initially, I had been rating posts by LOVED, LIKED, and NOT SO MUCH. However, this time around I was having a harder time because there were a few that fell between "liked" and "not so much" but neither of them really felt right to me. So, from this moment forward I will rate them on a scale of 5-1 with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. I will also use decimals, like 4.5, in my ratings because there are some I really like, but I like to save 5 for ones that are truly amazing. I should also note that I will not rate a podcast if I haven't given it a try by listening to several episodes. I did start listening to one but just couldn't get past the first episode so it's not included. I like to give podcasts at least a few episodes of my time because  sometimes it just takes me a while to like something, as was the case with The Memory Palace.

Rating Scale:
5: Great | 4: Good | 3: Okay | 2: Not bad, not good | 1: Will not continue listening

WHAT'S THE TEE? - 4

My friend recommended this podcast to me because I'm a fan of RuPaul's Drag Race. If you've never seen the show or you aren't interested in pop culture you probably won't like it. They make a lot of references to the show and past contestants and if you haven't watched it might be difficult for you to follow. Although, I will tell you, that I have a terrible memory and forgot a lot of the drag queens, but I was still able to follow along. On the other hand, if you like pop culture but have never seen the show you might like it because they basically spend the entire time referencing movies and music. I happen to not really care about pop culture, but I still find the podcast enjoyable.

I wasn't sure what to expect before I started this podcast. I'd seen the show but I, honestly, never really felt like I knew who RuPaul was. The way he comes off in the show seemed kind of fake. However, I'm glad this podcast proved me wrong. RuPaul is freaking hilarious, like I was literally rolling around on the bed laughing because of something he said (I think it was his Harriet Tubman reference). The thing I like about him is that he doesn't try to be funny he just is. On the other hand, I'm rating this as a 4 because I really can't stand Michelle Visage. If you listen you'll understand why.

POD SAVE AMERICA - 5

Pod Save America is the first of four podcasts I started listening to from Crooked Media, and it's by far my favorite. Now, the founders of Crooked Media are democrats, so if you are conservative I'm just warning you, but I think they do a good job in trying to remain neutral in their discussions to an extent. If they know the Democratic party or Democratic leaders are guilty of some things they are talking about they will admit it. I like that they do this. But they are liberals and democrats so they do show bias and it's really obvious who they like and don't like.

I really enjoy listening to this podcast because it gives me an understanding of what's happening in American politics. The hosts also worked in the White House during the Obama administration so they have a unique perspective. For some reason, I like to save this podcast for my walk to work or my Russian lessons, and I have found myself laughing or smiling about something they said. I try really hard not to do this when people are around but sometimes I can't help it. If you want a fun way to stay up-to-date with politics this is a good podcast to listen to. They also give you ideas on how you can help different organizations or make a difference in the political process, which I think is great for those who feel helpless after the 2016 election.

POD SAVE THE WORLD - 4

This podcast is hosted by Tommy Vietor, who is also a host on Pod Save America, and it's almost the same as PSA except it focuses on foreign policy and not just domestic policy related to America. If I know nothing about American politics I know even less about what is happening in the world. I don't like this one quite as much as the one about American politics which might just be because I listened to it second. However, it's really informative and they also try to give listeners an idea of how you can help. I try not to be political on here because I truly love Russia and Russian culture. I don't think my politics should have anything to do with how you view me as a person and vice versa. With that said, one of my favorite episodes was when Tommy Vietor spoke with the former ambassador to Russia, Mike McFaul. It gave me a lot of insight to American-Russian relations that I never knew before. You can listen to it here.

LOVETT OR LEAVE IT - 3

This is the newest podcast by Crooked Media, and there aren't many episodes yet. It is hosted by Jon Lovett, who, along with Tommy Vietor, also is one of the hosts on Pod Save America. I find it really funny, and I like the idea of playing games to discuss current issues. However, out of all of them, if you aren't a liberal I strongly suggest you don't listen to it. It's not as informative as the first two, which is why I rated it a 3, but I will continue to listen to it.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE - 3

With Friends like These is part of the Crooked Media podcasts, but it is hosted by Ana Marie Cox, and it's supposed to focus on uncomfortable conversations. The first episode she talked with a man whose congregation voted for Trump even though they voted for Obama in the last two elections. She also discusses issues like being a minority and having disabilities. I struggled with how to rate this one.  I love the idea, but I feel like when she talks about political issues she has too many people from MTV and people who have views similar to hers. This is also coming from someone who has views like hers too. I will continue to listen to it because it did open my eyes to some of my own biases, but there is just something about it that doesn't make me love it. This is a good one to listen to if you consider yourself moderate or conservative. Just be aware that Ana Marie Cox is a liberal, and so you might not agree with everything she says.

S-TOWN - 5

I LOVED THIS PODCAST. If you were a fan of Serial you'll like this podcast, and I actually like it more than Serial. The premise is a murder and cover up in a small town in Alabama. I wasn't sure what to expect because I felt like a murder mystery was going to leave me disappointed. After the first episode I wasn't really into it but I kept reading about how people were binge-listening to it and figured I was just missing something. By the end of the second episode I was left with my jaw hanging open unable to process what I just listened to. I cried as well, but it doesn't take much to make me cry. The rest of the series was binge-worthy. In fact, I was up until almost 2 am one night because I couldn't stop listening. Honestly, I did not know how the podcast would end because every episode took you on so many twists and turns. It was just so good, and I feel like there needs to be some kind of group therapy for processing what happened.

What podcasts are you listening to?

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