Favourite podcasts: Getting through 2020 and beyond
Looking back at our first year as a network, we asked some of our members to reflect on the podcasts that got them through the global pandemic, revolution-filled year that was 2020 and beyond. One of the many things podcasts do well is help us cope with the unpredictability and constant changes that life can throw our way, especially in a year like the one we just had. In this series, we ask: What podcasts are helping you get through? What podcasts are inspiring you? What are your all-time favorites?
We hope each post will give you a glimpse into the individual team members that make up The Amplify Network. If you have a podcast that is helping you get through, share it with us at @AmplifyPodcasts on Twitter or send us an email, we’d love to hear from you.
In our last Favourite Podcasts post, WLU Press Digital Project Coordinator Maia Desjardins shared her top picks for comfort and comic relief on those long pandemic walks.
Next up, Lisa Quinn, Director of WLU Press, sits down with Stacey to share her favourite podcasts bringing humour to American history and southern cooking to your pandemic plate.
My interest in podcasts certainly picked up at the start of this project, or more seriously with the first iteration of the project when Hannah and Siobhan [Amplify co-directors] started experimenting with open podcast peer review for Secret Feminist Agenda. Before that, my podcast listening was primarily functionality driven. For example, podcasts to improve my French, or food podcasts. Over time I’ve moved more into cultural commentary, criticism, and humor podcasts.
I'm always looking for things that are fun, not self-effacing in a derogatory way, but that engage with serious subjects without taking themselves too seriously and have a sense of playfulness about them. I am a long term fan of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!, which embarrassingly may be one of my main sources of American political news. Wait Wait! is more of a radio quiz show than a podcast, but I've been listening to that for a long time, pre-pandemic. A mainstay.
I would say during the pandemic, I really stepped up my foodie listening, particularly on regional food culture. I’ve been listening to Gravy, from the Southern Foodways Alliance, which engages with the incredible diversity of food cultures in the American South, reaching beyond whitewashed representations of ‘Southern food’ rooted in the traditions of African peoples stolen into slavery. A non-podcast complement to this listening is the Netflix documentary High on the Hog, inspired by the book by Jessica B. Harris.
I've also found myself intrigued by shows that are emblematic of or engage with toxic masculinity, from either a feminist perspective or from men beginning to question more openly their own masculinity. One podcast I’ve become a serious fan of is The Dollop. It’s terribly emblematic of bro comedy culture in some ways but they really just rip into American history and culture in such a critically humorous and irreverent way. The episode on Colonel Sanders for instance is a fascinating take down of capitalist ideals and derailing of an American myth in the Barthesian sense. Another podcast I’m a huge fan of is Fuckbois of Literature. The title really says it all. The show pulls apart the traditional literary canon in English; from Beowulf to Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe to Roald Dahl, Oscar Wilde to the American modernists and postmodernists, literature coming out of a very masculinist, elitist, colonialist culture. For an introduction, I recommend episode 15, Infinite Fuckboi: David Foster Wallace. Both podcasts are engaging with problematic histories that truly speak to and critique toxic masculinity in Anglo-American culture today. And you will laugh.
Keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned in the months to come for more Favourite Podcasts posts from the Amplify Podcast Network.