From the producers of Serial and This American Life, S-Town (Shit Town) was released last Tuesday, March 28th. Unlike before, all seven episodes were released at once so I was in binging mode for a good 12 hours in order to finish it ASAP. The new series is similar to Serial in that it is a murder mystery story per say, but the feel of the entire show is different. John, a resident of a small town in Alabama, also known as “Shit Town” was the catalyst for the show after he sent multiple intriguing emails to host, Brian Reed, about his hometown and a mysterious murder that seemed to have been swept under the rug.
The murder mystery pulls you in, but John’s genius, and at times vulgar personality, keeps you listening.
Remember after the election when there were all those think pieces about people living on coasts not understanding life in rural areas of the United States? Yeah, well this podcasts seems to be shining light on the life of the often times ignored states. I read an Atlantic article about the podcast and it made a really good point. A lot of the media we consume is placed in L.A, New York, Chicago, etc. This podcast provided a look inside a small town in Alabama, a place with a company named “K3 Lumber” and when asked about the name, the owner replied with “are you one of the lefties disturbed with the election?” Yes, yes we are.
John is a college dropout, who works on antique clocks, is obsessed with climate change, is a genius in some areas, yet quite ridiculous in others. S-Town is 95% white, working class, and the racism is apparent throughout. The podcast doesn’t leave you with a clear conclusion or take away, and by the end of the podcast I was unsure what to do with everything I had just heard. The Atlantic article talks a lot about empathy and I definitely understand how platforms like non-fiction podcasts have the ability to humanize a subject and allow the listener to see a small aspect of someone’s world. I stand by the idea of not judging someone’s community without being a member, but I do believe their are fundamental issues with the racism that can be heard in the show. Personally, I think this show does illustrate areas in which empathy and compassion are appropriate, but also provides a point of discussion for how to critically think about places and spaces that are different from your own. Like I said, I like the series. I listened to it back to back and was fascinated by it all. I think part of the beauty of the series is it’s opened ended conclusion as it is only asking to be discussed, which opens a door for learning on both sides.
Y’all know how much I love podcasts, but for my latest drive to visit the boy I tried something a little different: audiobooks. I used a free trial of the Amazon related platform Audible and it worked really well. The drive was approximately ~6hrs, so I got two books that together would provide more than enough entertainment and were two very different genres.
Audible is a subscription based program. The first 30 days are free, then after that it is about $15 a month where you get 1 credit a month, which usually equals one book. If you want to buy an additional book that month then members get 30% off. So, just like Blue Apron, after I used the free trial I immediately cancelled my subscription because I don’t got money like that. Although, I would consider just paying for another book on its own next time I have a long drive to make. Overall, I really enjoyed the platform I just can’t afford it monthly.
What I Got:
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
Narrator Voice: The narration was down by Lauren Graham herself which I really enjoyed. She was easy to listen to and since it was a biography of sorts it added to the overall story.
Story/Content: I love Lauren Graham mostly for her characters on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. This book of hers gave a look at how she got into the industry, the jobs she had before she “made it,” insider tips about life in Hollywood, her love life, and of course the back stage look at the Gilmore Girls Revival!
Length: 4hrs 38min
Overall Enjoyment: I loved it! The book was very light hearted and Lauren Graham seems to have such a down to earth personality for a celebrity like herself. The book is witty and filled with humor that reminded me of her Gilmore Girls character, Lorelai. 9/10 recommend!
The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
Narrator Voice: This is a fiction book, therefore each character has a different narrator, or at least they all sound slightly different. The book is set in London, so they do all have a British accent. I honestly had a hard time distinguishing some of the characters, but they may also be because the book switches point of view after each chapter.
Story/Content: The book is about a woman who rides the train into the city every day and looks out onto the neighborhood where she used to live with her ex-husband. She watches a neighboring couple on her old street which she creates names and personalities for. The book continues about her life and her struggle in dealing with her husbands affair which led to her divorce, and all culminates around a mysterious murder of woman on that street, the same woman she created fantasies about each time she passed their house on the train.
Length: 10hrs 59min
Overall Enjoyment: Everyone that has recommended Audible to me, said I should definitely try this book, but I was not really impressed. The story drags at times, I didn’t think any of the plot twists were that surprising or innovative, so overall it was just okay. I think part of it had to do with the monotony and/or the annoyance of their voices. 6.5/10 recommend!
I have been following NPR Code Switch on Twitter for a good time now and I have been patiently waiting for them to start a podcast. On May 31st, my prayers were answered. The first episode of NPR Code Switch, a podcast to discuss race, ethnicity and culture, aired. They dedicated the first episode to discussing “whiteness.” On the surface it may seem weird that they started out with this topic, but I think it is important because whiteness is often “both inescapable and invisible,” it needs to be talked about and the nuances should be explored.
In this episode, two college professors share their experience of teaching courses on race, and whiteness. Like most academic conversation about race, Peggy McIntosh’s classic piece, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” became the foundation of the discussion.
This past semester I took a brand new course titled: Racial Performance. Throughout the semester we moved through different racial groups by analyzing the “racial performance” in various pieces of media. By the end of the semester my Professor consistently mentioned how she wished she would have included a section on whiteness because it would have helped ground our discussion about race in America and how we talked about other races in comparison to the concept of “whiteness.”So for that reason, I appreciate NPR’s decision to start with “whiteness.”
Overall, as a podcast full of voices of color, I am excited for what it can bring to the
podcasting world and I’m interested to hear what other topics of discussion will come in the future.
Friends!! I am so excited to share this with you all. I have featured “Call Your Girlfriend” on here before, so I definitely recommend you check that out. When I search for podcast, I rather not listen to boring white people talk, so I’m always on the look out for diverse voices bringing their perspective to the world. A few months ago I came across Heben & Tracy’s podcast, “Another Round” and I haven’t looked back since.
“Another Round” is voiced by two wonderful ladies, Heben & Tracy. When I first started listening to their show I was confused as to how they were getting ladies like Melissa-Harris Perry, and Margaret Cho on their show. Then I discovered that they are employed by BuzzFeed and it all made more sense.
Last week, my two favorite podcasting women, from “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Another Round” came together and had a joint show! They discussed “Ivanka’s Dad,” men experiencing period pain, being black at BuzzFeed, and how Heben & Tracy met!
I know finals are here, so if you want to procrastinate, or you’re starting to think about your playlist for your trip back home, both Call Your Girlfriend and Another Round have an extensive library! So if you’re new to podcasts looking for something to start with, or a podcast veteran looking for your next binge worthy show, I promise they will have you laughing and learning for hours to come!
Hey friends! I hope that everyone had a great holiday season, and hello to 2016! It has been a while since I have found a new podcast, but just the other week I came across “Black Men Can’t Jump in Hollywood” and it is so good!
The breakdown of the podcast is pretty simple. There are 3 black men who discuss movies featuring black stars.
The first segment is their initial reaction to the movie and simply discussing the movie’s main take aways. It is probably a good idea for you to have seen the movie before listening because there will be spoilers.
The second segment is called “The Swirl” (which is always funny) as they discuss whether there were any interracial relationships that weren’t simply about having “jungle fever.”
The final segment is called “The Cause” where they vote on whether the movie did anything to help the black communities cause.
So far I have listened to their episodes about the movies: Creed, Love and Basketball, and The Best Man Holiday. I thought it was interesting that they compared Love and Basketball to The Notebook, and The Best Man Holiday to Love Actually. You’ll have to listen to the episodes, but it makes sense. They also have episodes discussing Training Day, Rush Hour, Hancock, Coming to America, Barbershop, and more!
For me, this podcast has shone a light on the many inequalities people of color face in Hollywood. Obviously I knew there were problems (hello #OscarsSoWhite) but this podcast has given me some insight into how the business works and the excuses companies stand behind in order to explain their lack of diversity (marketing schemes blah blah blah).
Preface #1: If you haven’t listened to the podcast Serial, stop right here and start listening!
Preface #2: I think Adnan is innocent. Or I at least believe there is not enough evidence to put him away.
Okay, so half the world was obsessed with Serial when it debuted almost exactly a year ago. I personally listened to the podcast this summer not knowing that it had been a huge thing a few months before. I thought I was discovering this new cool thing but everyone was like “no Alysse, you’re like 6 months behind” #whatever.
When the podcast ended I was like “Wait what?! We don’t find out if he is innocent for sure?!” I wanted more answers, and Undisclosed, a new podcast is giving me just that!
Undisclosed is a podcast hosted by a small group of lawyers, one of which is a family friend of the Syed family (so yes, there is bias). Together they walk through some updates in Adnan’s case, but mostly focus on smaller details Serial does not touch on. Basically, they are just spelling out all the things the police investigators should have done, but didn’t. It is not as aesthetically pleasing as Serial, but I would not look at it as a continuation or a “2nd Serial”. They are not trying to be like Serial, they know they are not pro’s, they just want to share what they have discovered.
What do you think of Serial? His case? And my personal favorite, what do you think Jay’s problem is?!
This past weekend I drove home for the last time to pick up some rather large furniture for my new house (updates on that to
come). I finished listening to Serial on my last trip home, so I had to find something new for this round. With the help of some quality Buzzfeed articles I found a podcast series called “Call Your Girlfriend.” In effort to not get too bored of one thing, I separated episodes of Call Your Girlfriend by listening to 3 different interviews by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on one of my
favorite new books “Americanah”, as well a inspirational Ted Talk from a principal in a tough low income school district, and lastly a NPR interview of Buzz Bissinger, the author of the original Friday Night Lights book.
I have to be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect with Call Your Girlfriend as it is dubbed the “podcast for long distance best friends.” I was pleasantly surprised with what I got though! The two host are best friends who travel a lot and live far away from each other. Ann Friedman a successful freelance journalist, and Aminatou Sow who founded a tech company called Tech LadyMafia, use some technology that I have not been able to quite understand yet, that allows them to record together even when they are on different continents. Anyways, together they discuss current events, popular articles floating around the web, their own lives, and there is usually a update about the most recent studies regarding menstruation (lols). In the past three days of ease
dropping on their conversations I have learned some new lingo, including:
IRL: in real life, usually referring to a friend you have met in person
URL: referring to a friend you have online
Shine Theory: a phenomenal concept directed that encourages women to not look at other women as competition, but as a resource to “shine”/be great together. The quote from Ann Friedman’s article in The Cut, explains it perfectly: “if Kelly Rowland can come around to the idea that she shines more (not less) because of her proximity to Beyonce, there’s hope for the rest of us.”
Read more of Ann’s published articles here and learn more about Aminatou and her company here!
Have you listened to any of these podcasts before? What do you think of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend?
My mom’s house is about a 2.5 hour drive from where I go to school. At first I would get really excited to create playlist for the drive home, but after awhile I got tired of listening to the same songs, or constantly having to seek out new music, so I found another alternative: podcasts! Having an iPhone makes it very easy. There is a purple podcast app and from there you can scroll through the various categories. There are so many different types of podcast out there: Ted Talks, news, celebrity interviews, stand up comedy, sports talk, etc. Just find what you are interested in and get listening!
Here is what I have been listening too lately!
If you haven’t heard about the Bethke family you need to go google them pronto! You might know Jeff from this youtube spoken word video. They are such a good example of what a young, loving, Christian marriage looks like and I love learning from what they have to say. As a couple, they do podcasts together and it is just so entertaining to hear how their lives are going in Hawaii, funny stories about their baby girl, as well as their answers to questions sent in by listeners. I recommend 10/10!
After I got all caught up with the Bethke’s podcast I was in search for something new, and came across Serial by This American Life (always a solid place to find new things). Sarah Koenig, a journalist, tells the true-story of a murder case of a high school girl. Each week a new installment of the series comes out and you follow her as she uncovers information from the trial, old friends of the victim and alleged perpetrator, and police reports, all in hopes of figuring out if the ex-boyfriend currently in jail for her murder actually deserves to be there. I have two more episodes to finish, and I am so anxious to find out the truth!
Podcast a great for long drives because episodes can range from 20 min to an hour and it makes the time pass really quickly. This past weekend I listened to 4 episodes of Serial on the way back to school! Let me know if you tryout any of these, and share your own favorites if you have any!