Friday, January 12, 2018

Podcast Roundup Week #2

This week I listened to 40 episodes. I had a small operation on my mouth and spent two days essentially lying on the couch attempting to put pressure on the corner of my mouth in a vain attempt to get the swelling to go down and stop tonguing at the stitches and so I mostly just closed my eyes and let the podcasts wash over me.  Here are some episodes that stuck with me.

I listened to the three-part musical podcast 36 Questions. Starring Jessie Shelton and Jonathan Groff, this tells the story of an estranged couple as they ask themselves questions that apparently lead to love. I'm really interested in research on happiness and love and these questions endlessly fascinate me. The idea that if two people have an honest conversation around these questions it will definitely lead to a long-term relationship is endlessly wondrous to me. I could honestly fall in love with anyone, as long as I told them that I don't think my childhood was any happier or less happy (less happier? I don't know) than average?  Anyway, that is not exactly what this podcast is about, but it's something I will talk about for hours if you let me.

If you lie when having the initial conversation with the 36 questions, what are the consequences? Can you ever recover?  Forget about the questions themselves, can your relationship ever be healed if there is major untruth that has been around from the beginning? Should that healing take place? Whose responsibility is it to begin the healing process? What is the responsibility of the other person?  Does this hold true for romantic relationships and platonic ones? I don't know the answer to these questions, but I'm still puzzling over the ending of this podcast while humming the song "We Both" to myself. 
I also listened to the last two episodes of the 10-part Heaven's Gate podcast with Glynn Washington that takes a in-depth look at cult of the same name whose alien-worshiping members committed mass suicide in 1997. There are ups and downs in this series (you can probably skip episode #4 in which Washington talks about his own experiences in a cult if you're solely interested in Heaven's Gate itself, although the similarities between the cults was striking and the episode really nails that; the episodes with interviews with family members of cult members were hard to listen to and riveting at the same time) and Washington's narration style takes some getting used to if you're more accustomed to the NPR-style production, but these last two episodes were a great ending to the series. Washington pushes you to think about whether or not the beliefs of the cult members are so different from the beliefs of so many others and whether or not you would be susceptible to a certain type of brainwashing.  Thumbs way up to this series and the last couple of episodes in particular.
I have been resistant to listening to Gimlet's branded podcasts, but DTR (which is a popular internet acronym standing for Defining the Relationship - you're welcome to people who have not dated on the internet in a decade or more), which is a Tinder sponsored podcast,  has gotten good reviews, so I went ahead and downloaded the first few episodes. I'm both super glad I'm not dating in 2018 and I don't actually think the relationship with Tinder is super positive in the stories it tells, so this worry of mine is maybe a bit overblown. Maybe. I'll keep listening and let you know.

The episode I want to talk about is "Dick Pics" and I learned SO MUCH. I had no idea that sending/receiving dick pics was just a way of life if you're using modern dating apps.  I did a bit of internet dating in the early days and this just did not happen.  It just didn't. And it seems like that's not true anymore. If I have ever felt more like an old fogey than when I was listening to this podcast, I can't recall that time. And to hear people talking about their super complicated feelings about this phenomenon was fascinating. Some people like it? Some people just ignore it?  Some people feel borderline assaulted?

Anyway, I'm going to keep listening because I like learning about "kids these days" and their ethical quandaries which are different from mine, but no less important. 

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