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Cleaning out the queue
Inside voices, missing Alana, how to matter, Taylor-nomics, Michelle Obama's kitchen, Quibi's flop, funny news.
Here’s a quick testimonial for the power of podcasts. I was so caught up in listening to the shows in my queue this weekend that I ended up washing the gutters at my family’s cottage. I literally just kept finding things to clean because I wanted to keep listening. My parents are very thankful to podcasts for making so much unplanned cleaning happen.
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This week’s podstack
Okay this episode might break your brain or validate your experiences! The questions of “what are thoughts?” or “what is thinking?” are actually such difficult things to study. It’s an incredibly personal and unique experience for each person. The episode begins with discussing the presence or absence of an inner monologue and how it can impact each person differently. Beyond that, you learn what psychologists have to say about this. Like the fact that it makes more sense to call it “self talk” because that’s more what it is and to be weary how much you trust it. I admire the psychologists who try to study this! Leave it to a show about sound to make the study of our thoughts such a sound-rich experience. If all my psychology classes were this engaging I might’ve finished that degree. Between this episode and the one about dreams from a few weeks ago, I’m nerding out on all the brain info! (transcript)
Alana sounds like one of the most selfless and thoughtful people I’ve heard of. Throughout this first episode you learn about her spirit and feel just how tragic it is that someone so kind, left us so young. Host Simon Kent Fung shares how he heard of Alana’s story and felt compelled to reach out to her mom. He related to her story on so many levels. After speaking with her mom over emails, texts, and calls for a while, he finally meets her in person. The raw audio of their first in-person meeting and as they read through things that Alana had written, including a heart wrenching letter to herself, drew me in so strongly. Alana wanted to be a nun and felt a strong connection to God, which also made her feel that her sexuality was considered a problem, so she sought ‘help’ about it. This series is an investigation of what went on that caused Alana so much pain. There’s a line in the promos that have been running for this show and every time I hear it want to praise the person who wrote it - “it’s about the prices we pay to belong and the systems that pay no price at all”. Also, the song that plays during the end credits is so good it makes all the emotions you felt through out the episode swell up in your body and break your heart all over again. Every time. (transcript)
I hear a lot of conversations about toxic hustle culture but I’ve never thought about it the way Jennifer Wallace does in this interview. In her recognition of our society’s toxic achievement culture, she made a connection between the ways parents focus on getting their kids into the best schools, in the best neighborhoods, with a resume of extracurriculers, and the presence of some serious mental health challenges when kids are older. She and Kelly discuss the ways they’ve recognize these patterns in themselves and how we can shift our thinking about how we matter and how kids realize they matter. If you’ve been missing Brene Brown in your feed, Kelly gives very much the same vibe in a lot of her episodes. She’s deeply thoughtful and inquisitive which leads to really strong interviews that feel so natural and effortlessly teach you new ways to think about life.
Are Swifties saving the economy? With all the concerns around the US heading into a recession earlier this year, it turns out that women’s spending might have helped the economy in ways it needed. But is that all a good thing? Bridget Casey and Alyssa Davies’ discussion of these “Taylor-nomics” analyzes what it means for Taylor Swift’s tour to be putting so much into the economy. The average concert-goers spend around $1300! With Taylor on track to become a billionaire because of this tour, it also makes them question the ethics of that much gain. Even if Taylor is giving back to her staff who directly support her, there are still workers whose labor is exploited in order to make these concerts happen. As they say, there are no ethical billionaires. But it is interesting to acknowledge the weight of women’s spending and to not frame it as any more “frivolous” than the ways men might choose to spend.
This series and this episode is like a love letter to kitchens. Regardless of their size, they are special places in our homes. The way Michelle Obama describes the kitchen in her childhood home makes it feel like it was the heart of the home and the family. Whether it was big meals or hair washing on Saturday nights, it was a space that shaped her relationship with her family. Even just describing all the little details of that room, you can feel the nostalgia. Beyond the physical space, Michelle shares the food she loved (and didn’t), and what she continues to practice in her own home and kitchen. Go ahead, listen in your kitchen and romanticize that space a little more. It’s so much more than a fridge and dirty dishes. (transcript)
If you started reading The Da Vinci Code and realized you really enjoyed how short the chapters are, would you then proceed to create an entire production company and platform all about short form content? That’s the origin story of Quibi! And as Connor Ratliff says in the episode, that’s like noticing that people only ate half their pizza slice one time and then selling half slices all the time. As host Misha Brown, and guests Connor and Matt Bellassai recount the history of Quibi’s creation, they analyze all the factors that may have contributed to its eventual flop. This format where one person serves as the expert and discusses research with one or more guests works so well when you’ve got funny people with good chemistry. I probably wouldn’t read an article about this, but hearing these three joke about it was very entertaining! Production quality, length, and flow is really well done. There’s a little quiz segment and lots of pop culture sound clips used for reference. It’s easy to get into this one and I’m curious to learn about more flops.
This feels like such classic Canadian comedy to me! The stories are basically like what you’d read in The Onion and the reporting is delivered with the perfect mix of straight-faced seriousness, parody, and concerned voices of “Canadian citizens”. Like a plan for National Parks to start charging a fee for all wildlife that you see while visiting a park. Or an interview with the aide to the Viceroy of Luxemberg who doesn’t realize he’s on “live” radio and says some things he really wants edited out. Each of the stories featured throughout the episode serve as these short skits, where hosts Peter Oldring and Pat Kelly speak with “every day people” who have some connection to it or are asked about the “news”. It’s silly, clever, and made me laugh way too much while walking around Toronto.
More sweet treats
Celebrate one year of Pod The North at this awesome event Kattie is hosting!
Inspired by these thoughts on the power of recommendations and why they’re so important.
Some advice on self-promo with heart, from yours truly.
The late night TV hosts have joined together for Strike Force Five - a podcast to raise money for their staff.
Thank you for reading! If you listened to something this week that made your heart sing, your imagination wander, or your brain ponder, I’d love to hear about it!