As a way of putting off doing any of the productive things I should be doing – writing a message for a church service in two days, political work, educational reading, exercising – I decided instead I’d take a few minutes to talk about my favorite podcasts.  It’s all my friend Whitney’s fault.  She suggested I check out the This Week in Blackness podcast (which I definitely will) and I suggested a podcast to her and that made me want to suggest more podcasts…  I think you see where this is going.

There are so many podcasts that I passionately love, so I’ll start with the podcasts I listen to religiously…

The Holy Trinity

  • Smartest Man in the World Podcast
    • Look…I know it’s weird that the name of my blog is “Unavoidably Feminist” and the first podcast I’m recommending is call The Smartest Man in the World.  The irony is not lost on me.  Still, if you’re familiar with the man in question, comedian Greg Proops, then you will know that it’s all okay.  The SMitW comes out on Mondays.  I download it Monday mornings and it goes immediately to the top of my playlist.  Listen to Greg drink copious amounts of vodka, berate the audience, and give The Man a righteously deserved what-for.  Hilarious, amazing.  You will learn about movies, music, baseball (yes baseball…just give it a shot), current events, mourn the loss of cultural icons you may not even have known you should have been worshiping all along.
  • Slate’s Political Gabfest
    • This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a politics nerd, I can’t get enough of the Gabfest.  Don’t take my word for it, ask Stephen Colbert.  Stephen Colbert loves the Gabfest and you should too.  The three gabbers – David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and (now of Face the Nation fame) John Dickerson – are a perfect blend of topical political issues.  Make sure to stick around for cocktail chatter at the end.  This podcast comes out on Fridays and I rarely miss listening to it.
  • Call Your Girlfriend
    • This would absolutely have been number one except it only comes out once every two weeks and that makes me sad.  Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are two long distance besties and bad ass professional boss ladies who are probably extremely busy, so I tentatively forgive them for not regaling me with tales more than bimonthly.  Their frank and open discussion of menstruation has seriously changed the way that I talk and think about periods.  Baby feminists and long distance besties everywhere must listen to Call Your Girlfriend.

Regular Listens

In no particular order, these are the podcasts that I listen to on a pretty regular basis, but not necessarily the day they come out and – if I get busy – not necessarily every episode.  Nevertheless, they are excellent podcasts.

  • The Nerdist
    • This is the podcast that got me into podcasts.  Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira are the hosts of the podcast.  The show comes out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I think you can see why I don’t necessarily catch every one.  Usually there is a guest, but sometimes it’s a “hostful” podcast.  When I’m behind – barring an amazing guest that I love – I will almost always skip to the most recent hostful podcast to hear the guys catch up on the latest.  The topics are mostly nerdy and always hilarious.
  • Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race (or the About Race podcast)
    • With regular hosts Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda, and Tanner Colby, this podcast does not beat around the bush.  It gets right to the heart of discussions about race in the United States.  I promise you will learn things. If you are white (as indeed I am), you may hear things that are uncomfortable and that is good.  In addition to being hard-hitting and informative, the podcast is also really fun and totally fascinating.  Plus, the hosts encourage serious listener engagement.  The main podcast is bimonthly, but on the off weeks they do a B-side in which they discuss viewer feedback about the previous week’s show.  Very cool.  Not quite sure whether it’s got definitive days of the week yet.
  • So That Happened
    • I like politics.  If you also like politics and lean somewhere to the left of left, you will probably enjoy So That Happened from the Huffington Post.  Jason Linkins and friends are fantastically funny and always have great insights on everything from the the financial crisis in Greece to what the hell is going on with the Republican presidential primaries.  Comes out every Friday.
  • Slate’s Whistlestop
    • Straight up nerd-style, this short, roughly bimonthly podcast is devoted to tales from the historical political campaign trail.  John Dickerson, of the Slate Political Gabfest and Face the Nation, dedicates each episode to a particular facet of a particular presidential race.  John’s tales include such hilarious old newspaper lines as when one newspaper called James Garfield “a man of forty lusty summers.”  Can you even?
  • WTF with Marc Maron
    • Marc Maron just interviewed the President a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been listening to his podcast for a couple years now.  It’s great.  He has an interesting interview style and always manages to have some truly authentic conversations with interesting people.  I highly recommend the presidential interview.  Also, go back and check out the time he interviewed RuPaul.  But really most every episode is good stuff.

Sporadic Refreshment

Again, in no particular order, these are podcasts that I enjoy but that I don’t have time to listen to very often and so I either listen to the most recent episode or I go back through what I missed and listen to whatever looks most interesting/funny/informative.  This is in no way an exhaustive list of the podcasts that I listen to non-regularly, but they are my favorite and the most regular of my sporadic enjoyments.

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class
    • This is a great, educational, and fun podcast about…well, things that likely weren’t covered in your history classes unless maybe you majored in history.  Even then, you’ll probably have missed many of these gems.  It is, as I mentioned, fun and informative and has the added bonus of being a show which – in most cases – you can listen to with your kids.
  • Smodcast
    • I used to listen to this quite regularly, but the episodes are a little long and I’ve picked up a lot more podcasts (can you tell?) so this has moved to a more sporadic listen, though never less enjoyable.  Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (I categorically refuse to explain who Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier are) get together, get high, and talk movies or weird news stories or Canada.  Yeah.  Canada.  Scott’s from Canada orginally.  Kevin is obsessed with Canada.  Favorite part of any episode?  “ScanBC, Scott…”  @ScanBC is a Twitter account that relates police events from British Columbia.  Kevin picks the most ridiculous tweets and the riffs will make you pee your pants.
  • Doug Loves Movies
    1. Comedian Doug Benson loves movies almost as much as he loves marijuana.  On Doug Loves Movies he pits his guests against each other in a contest to see who can identify movies based on Leonard Maltin reviews.  Always listen to the episodes with “Mark Walberg”.  You will thank me.
  • Thrilling Adventure Hour
    • A new time podcast in the style of old time radio, this podcast has a rotating cast of hilarious comedians playing roles in all the old radio cliches.  There’s a western set in space, a show about a couple of married mediums, time travelers, and more.  Some of the regular cast members are Paul F. Thompkins, Paget Brewster (yeah, from Criminal Minds), Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, and Busy Philipps (yes I spelled her name right and yes she was on Cougar Town).  If you’re trying it out for the first time, I recommend a ‘Beyond Belief’ or ‘Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars’ episode.

New Additions

Who’s to say where these will ultimately end up, but they’re podcasts that I’ve picked up within the last few months that I’ve been enjoying thus far.

  • Baby Geniuses
    • I picked up on this because Emily Heller is hilarious and I wanted more of her.  She and her co-host Lisa Hanawalt are awesome and funny.  They have pretty cool guests and their wikipedia segment is hysterical.
  • The Late Show Podcast
    • I miss Stephen Colbert, don’t you?  Well, now you don’t have to miss him as much because you can listen to some short episodes to catch up on how his new Late Show is coming together, among other things.  Obviously hilarious.

So there you have it.  I’ve spent entirely too much time procrastinating.  Hopefully I’ve given you some fun suggestions for how you might procrastinate or for what you can listen to while you’re doing boring things like washing dishes or folding clothes, etc.  Oh, and if you know of a podcast that I simply must check out, please comment and tell me because – I don’t know if you can tell – but I really enjoy podcasts.


I Don’t Have To Like You

Hey guess what?  Did you know that I’m not required to like you?  …like even if you’re an American.

That seems like a non sequitur.  Let me explain.  Via a Facebook page that I run I posted an article about the Governor of Pennsylvania vetoing a totally bullshit Republican budget (high fives, Gov. Wolf…that was awesome).  A gentleman who happens to not be a Democrat responded to this post by saying that the Governor is owned by unions and he has to stop being so “my way or the highway” about this whole budget business.  There was some response to this wondering whether perhaps only Republicans are allowed to refuse to comprise to which he responded that yes, that would ideally be the case. Someone referred to that as a fairly hypocritical stance to which he gave this response:

“We are all americans why so much bitterness from the left this is worse than what Putin says about us my oh my what is the country comming too?”

Okay.  First of all, what does the fact that we’re all Americans have to do with anything?  And secondly, as I responded, what does any of that mean?  I really don’t know.  What is Putin saying about our country and why do you give a shit?  This is what I got back:

“THINK If you are a Democrat why do you hate Republicans your fellow Americans?”

First of all, please be more patronizing.  Secondly, I think you’re making a pretty huge leap assuming that “if you are a Democrat…you hate Republicans.”  I actually happen to know several Democrats that are married to Republicans, so at minimum I don’t think those Democrats hate their personal Republicans.  Even so, where is it written that I’m required to like you or any Republican…or anyone for that matter? I’m not.  Neither are you.  You don’t have to like me and I don’t have to like you.  You want to know something crazy?  There are people that I agree with that I actually don’t like very much.  Liking you and agreeing with you are two totally different things.

In a more general way, what the hell does being an American have to do with it?  I was not aware that part of being an American meant that I have to like all other Americans.  That seems improbable.  If being an American means liking every other American then I really am a bad American.  Here’s the problem though, what this guy seems to be doing is confusing liking a person with agreeing with them.  As I said before, those are two totally different things.  This is an issue I’ve had with people of a certain mindset before: “You disagree with me so that means you must not love me!”  Um…no.  Really, do you never disagree with your friends?  Ever?  That seems like it would be a really boring friendship.  I guess if that’s what you’re into, sure, but surely at some point there would be something you disagree about.  If disagreement was equivalent to disliking someone no one would be married.

This idea that disagreement has anything to do with your feelings about a person is incredibly juvenile.  It’s a black and white, incredibly limited way to view the world and the people who live in it.  As far as I can tell, being involved with a random Facebook conversation with you is not knowing you.  If I don’t know you then I can’t really like or dislike you.  Maybe you annoy me.  That doesn’t mean a whole lot though.  My kid annoys me.  My husband annoys me.  I have brothers; they annoy me.  Sometimes my friends annoy me.  And those are all people that I love with my whole heart.  I don’t hate Republicans at large or even individually because – and not to put to fine a point on it – I don’t have time.  I have no time to hate you because that is a waste of my brain power and energy.

So what do we do?  Here’s a thought: just have a conversation.  Don’t make it about whether or not I or anyone else likes or dislikes you.  It’s probably not unless they are actively calling you names.  What you’re doing by pulling liking and disliking into the conversation is trying to guilt-trap me into backing down because you can’t win an argument any other way.  If you think you can’t win me over with actual facts or persuasion then back out of the argument gracefully.  Say “sounds like we’ll just have to agree to disagree, good talk.”