Podcasts—y’know, those documentaries for your ears— have taken over much of my free time. They’re the perfect mix of entertainment and education for all times of day, and they’re something out there for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. More Perfect (Radiolab)
On my (arguably) tormentuous hour-or-so commute to work and/or campus, I like to listen to a little podcast called “More Perfect”: a Radiolab spinoff that features 30-60 minute deep-dives into Supreme Court cases. Since only the most thought-provoking cases go to the Supreme Court, it’s the perfect way to get my blood boiling with indignation at the myriad injustices across the nation: from the badassery of Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the ‘lawful’ abduction of indigenous children, and all of the amendments in between.
This is what the blurb on their site says:
“Supreme Court decisions shape everything from marriage and money to public safety and sex. We know these are very important decisions we should all pay attention to – but they often feel untouchable and even unknowable. Radiolab's first-ever spin-off series, More Perfect, connects you to the decisions made inside the court's hallowed halls, and explains what those rulings mean for "we the people" who exist far from the bench. More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings.“
And in case you were wondering, my favorite episode is “Sex Appeal;” you should go listen.
2. My Favorite Murder
This is the podcast equivalent of a happy hour cocktail party, except instead of a party, we’re all sitting around in house dresses, and instead of cocktails, we’re drinking Diet Coke.
Hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, along with their no-longer-unpaid-intern Steven Ray Morris, and intermittent cameos by their fluffy companions Elvis, Mimi, Dottie, Frank, George, and... Steven’s moustache? The “My Favorite Murder” podcast typically involves a glimpse into the lives of the leading ladies, followed by each of them recounting this week’s "favorite" murder, and something that makes them happy to finish it off and attempt to dispel the overwhelming feeling of bummery.
While it is first and foremost a comedy podcast about true crime, it decidedly goes against galvanizing the lives of the killers. More importantly, “My Favorite Murder” centers on the victims and teaches crime prevention through light-hearted humor and catchy taglines such as “stay sexy, don’t get murdered” and “pepper spray first, apologize later.”
I’ve always been a little hesitant to bring up my love of true crime. But it wasn’t until after I started listening to this podcast that I was introduced to the most amazing, inclusive, and supportive community I’ve ever had the privilege of joining. Check out this article in the Rolling Stone about MFM.
3. Sleep With Me
I only just started listening to the “Sleep With Me” podcast and, let me tell you, it’s worked wonders. During semesters I like to keep to a strict sleep schedule or else, let’s face it, I probably wouldn’t sleep. So most nights I need a little distraction from the stresses of the day.
Drew Ackerman, AKA "Dearest Scooter," devotes his time to boring his listeners to sleep. From narrating the preparation of a meal, to describing full episodes of Doctor Who, there’s something for every insomniac out there. This article in the New Yorker explains the sensation of falling asleep to this podcast perfectly:
“The brilliance of Ackerman’s technique is the way in which he calibrates his monologues to grab you ever so slightly: he seems always on the verge of being funny or interesting or profound, but, like narrative tantra, he never quite lets himself go all the way.”