Friday, June 01, 2018

Podcast Roudup Week #22

I listened to 44 episodes this week.  I'm actually on the lookout for some new podcasts, so you might hear more about newer podcasts if I run into any good ones.  In the meantime, here are some highlights of some classic podcasts.

Reply All has some really interesting episodes (I just wrote about their episode called "INVCEL" two weeks ago), but their producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni is totally on the health beat (see "Blind Spot," "Boy Wonder," and "Minka"). She frequently does stories that cover the intersection of our online activities and health care.  I guess I wouldn't have thought it was something that Reply All would have so many stories about, but that's why I'm not a reporter.

In the episode called "Pain Funnel" Pinnamaneni looks at the unintended consequences of more people having health insurance. These consequences include more people taking advantage of insurance benefits, particularly shady drug rehab centers.  It was eye-opening and another example of things happening that policy makers never see coming.




Season Three of the 30 for 30 podcast is called "BIKRAM" and it's a five-episode run about Bikram Choudhury and the yoga empire he built and how it came crashing down amid allegations of sexual assault and rape.  If you're a yoga enthusiast, you might know that there are variants of yoga that are relatively well-known now (vinyasa, hatha, etc.), but before Choudhury brought the idea of Bikram yoga to the United States, yoga was not widely practiced nor were different versions widely known.

I frequently talk about how confused I am about artists who produce great art, but are not great human beings (Orson Scott Card, Bing Crosby, Woody Allen).  Can I still enjoy their work?  Do I have to take the moral stance to boycott them? 

I'm not always consistent. Yes, I'll boycott Woody Allen films, but I never really liked them anyway.  I'll read Card books, but I'll only take them out of the library, never actually buying the books. I mean, I'm not financially supporting him and his religious zealousness.  When "I Believe I Can Fly" comes on the radio at the grocery store, I hum along without feeling like a terrible person, but maybe I am a terrible person.

This series tackles this question (the last episode has sort of a "separate the man from the yoga" theme going though it), but in a different venue than I normally think about it.  In this moment of "me too," this podcast seems especially needed.  Do people who practice bikram yoga support this man?  Do they just want to take the best of him?  What are we supposed to do with information that people do bad things when they've created good things?  (I have deleted an entire paragraph about the evilness of Lance Armstrong, but the good things the Livestrong organization has done.)

I don't know. This podcast doesn't give answers, but it was brilliantly produced and well executed.  Go listen to it.

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