I dream in podcast recommendations
parasocial relationships, fake movies, pepper history, contraband succulents, basketball's biggest fans, Bond gadgets, why we ummm
I wouldn’t say “I could write Podstack in my sleep”, but I do write podcast recommendations in my dreams. Seriously, I swear I wrote a really great one the other night, but it’s forever trapped in my subconscious like content behind the biggest paywall. This either means I listened to something that really resonated with me or I was anxious to get writing. Both are true! That time between listening to something and letting it marinate in my brain, and actually writing out my thoughts, usually involves several podcasts rolling around my mind. It makes me notice which moments or revelations really stood out, like quotes you’d highlight in a book.
This week’s podstack
Choiceology - Fan Fictions: With Guests Hannah Sung, Crystal Tai & Anuj Shah
We hear a lot about parasocial relationships these days and usually about how they relate to our feelings towards celebrities or even podcasters. But what that’s really about is the symmetry in a relationship, which is something that matters in all aspects of our life. Choiceology explores this first by looking at how we develop strong feelings towards people we don’t know, like the members of BTS. But after that, things get a lot more relatable. Because when there’s asymmetry in a relationship, it means we have incorrect assumptions about how much the other person knows about us. Just because we know them well, doesn’t mean they know us. Examples of this happening in our lives can be our dynamics with professors, financial advisors, or doctors. This symmetry in relationships might change the way you look at interactions you have. (transcript)
Dashboard Diaries - Gonch With The Wind (w/ Digital Folklore)
Have you seen the movie Goncharov? Maybe you remember hearing about it last year, but never got around to seeing it. Well, cross that one off your list because it doesn’t actually exist! In a combination of the Mandela effect and the power of misinformation on the internet, the minds of Tumblr fully invented a movie last year. On this episode of Dashboard Diaries, Lauren and Cherokee are joined by Perry and Mason from Digital Folklore to talk about just how elaborate all the information about this fake movie was, what it demonstrates about how Tumblr users and the site is a whole different experience from other places on the internet, and how this exemplifies the way misinformation can be so believable. It was so fun hearing about the creativity that went into this fake movie and it gave me a renewed appreciation for Tumblr. (transcript)
SAPIENS - People of the Peppers
A chili pepper is so much more than just a spicy plant. When you study it through an anthropological and archaeological lens, you learn how each variety actually reflects the identity of the region it’s found in and how they differ because of use by the people of the region. Host Eshe Lewis is joined by Katie Chiou, a paleoethnobotanist, which basically means an archaeologist who specializes in studying the long term relationship between plants and humans, and that’s the perfect kind of specialization to learn more about chili peppers. She can explain questions like how do we know where chilis were first domesticated? We technically don’t! Archaeologists can make educated guesses and Katie explains all the factors they look at to do that. One of my favourite parts was when they discussed how “chilis are designed to hurt you” and yet we still like them. We still watch shows like Hot Ones and eat foods that might make snot run down our faces. They actually get into the science of this and how a molecule in chilis causes your body to think it’s on fire, but it also leads to a endorphin rush. It’s like a high off the heat and they just straight up taste good! (transcript)
Bad Seeds - Episode 1: Unscrupulous Collection
Imagine a plant being worth $8,000. Now, imagine that plant becoming worth $25,000. That’s literally what has happened in the rare plant market. Yes, there’s an intense and scandalous market for rare plants and Bad Seeds is exploring it all. I LOVE when a show takes a true-crime approach (aka investigative reporting style) to something that isn’t murder. This is true crime for plants! You may have noticed the rise of plant culture, like people who fill their houses with lots of plants, but you may not realize all the repercussions of this trend. It can lead some to pursue the rarest plants they can and put some really unique plants in danger of extinction. What happens when we destroy plants in the name of treating them like collectibles? Time to find out about contraband succulents and plant theft.
Hoops Paradise - Episode 1: Welcome to Paradise
My beloved Toronto Raptors have finished their season early… as in they didn’t make it into the play-offs. So instead, I’m learning about how beloved basketball is in the Philippines! Basketball is EVERYWHERE there. It’s like the sound of dribbling on pavement is the heartbeat of the country. Whether you’re playing it, driving past billboards about it, or watching dunk competitions on YouTube, basketball is present in every form. This new series explores the deep, colonial roots, the development of the second oldest professional basketball league in the world, and the creativity of these fans. And this is such a strong first episode, too! Height is such a crucial part of the NBA, but this is a story about how a place where the average height of men is 5’4” became so obsessed with a sport typically played by very tall people.
Patented - Inventing Bond: Gadgets
I didn’t think I’d end up learning about British war history, but it turns out there’s a James Bond connection, so here I am! Patented, a show about the history of inventions, wanted to know if there’s any truth to the many gadgets of 007. Thanks to some declassified documents, we know a lot about the clever gadgets the British invented during the war. If you’ve ever seen a James Bond movie or read the books, you know that he tends to have gadgets that involve hiding helpful things in ordinary items. Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, may have been heavily inspired by MI9 and its inventions from wartime, because he was involved in MI9! Even more specifically, the character of Q is very similar to a man who was a friend of Houdini and worked at MI9 creating very similar gadgets to the kind Bond has.
Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda - Valerie Fridland: English evolves, like it or not
Language is always evolving. The things we critiqued or complained about 50 years ago, are just normal now. The same could be said for things like ‘umm’ and ‘uhh’ and Valerie Fridland, a linguist, tells Alan Alda about why we shouldn’t stand in the way of the natural evolution of the way we talk. I’m pro umm. I bought an ‘ummm’ waveform t-shirt from EarBuds to show my support! Instead of seeing them as bad or not eloquent, they can actually signal good things. Valerie makes a great case for the benefits of umms, uhhhs, and the use of ‘like’. They serve a purpose for the listeners and the speakers! There’s also a difference across gender and age between who tends to use um and who uses uh more often.
More sweet treats
Do you know someone who thinks podcasts cost money? Or that podcasts are just two people talking to each other in their basement? It’s time to bust those podcast myths!
As part of introducing non-listeners to podcasts, I want to help them better understand what podcasts are. Sometimes that means giving them the perfect podcast recommendation. The one that gets them hooked!
That’s the mission of Adopt-a-Listener month and I’d love for you to join the fun!
Listen to Lauren and Arielle’s passionate advocacy for getting more people to listen to podcasts.
I am all for more detailed show notes and more accessibility in podcasting, which you can learn more about at the Podcast Show Notes Summit.
A reminder to keep hobbies fun and free.
Earth Day podcasts for your queue.
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!
I love how broad your recommendations are! Loving Bad Seeds as well.